Seasonal corvids

I decided to paint a crow this weekend for a few reasons. Firstly, I am working on a secret commission or three that I cannot share. And it is so close to Halloween I really needed to paint a corvid!

Stepping Out by Helen Shideler

Here is the thing

We have many crows in our yard. They watch us when we BBQ. They sit on the power lines and look at us. They watch us when we are on our deck in case we may be eating. They watch us when we are eating. One crow in particular, this is pretty cool… keeps one eye on us. When we look up it does this spy thing and tries to look nonchalant, inconspicuous - incognito. Should we dare drop a tidbit the routine gets really amusing. It will look away. Watches. Then when we look away, it will fly down so casually, steal the bite away. It’s a game we play.

Crow Crow Crow

Sometimes we feed them. Because it is hard not to. I stand in the back driveway and call crow, crow, crow. Then they nonchalantly appear and wait until we turn our backs to come in for the tidbits. Again, it’s a game we play.

Habit forming

I paint corvids. Every chance I get. Below is a collage of a few of them. There are many more and a few not shown are award winners.

Crow Collage by Helen Shideler

Until next time, Happy Halloween

Here we go again

I joined the 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge once again.  It is actually my fourth time participating.  I sort of tell myself when ever I commit to it - it is a huge commitment and the other larger pieces I am working on get neglected for awhile.  But the sense of accomplishment that I get from doing it is well worth the effort.

Week 1 30 paintings in 30 days Shideler

So far...

So far all of these are oil on panels.  The square ones are on cradled panel, the 10 x 8" are on flat panel and will require frames.  I am really unsure how long I will stay with the oils as I prefer to allow for a fews days of drying time and then go back in with the finishing glazes and bring out the detail.

Day 1 - Vantage Point

That's the crow in the centre.  I took a series of photos of this crow at Rockwood Park in Saint John.  He wasn't bothered by my being there, but her certainly kept one eye on me most of the time.  I am quite happy with this painting and composition.  The moss and lichens on the tree really intrigue me.  I may have to do a similar piece only larger.

Day 2 - Sitting Sweetly

That's the chickadee posing on the branch.  I loved every moment working on this one.  I always stop to watch the antics of these special little birds.  And heaven knows, I have certainly painted lots of them.

Day 3 - Having Fun

This is my grandson playing in the water.  In the photo his expression is one of pure joy.  SOmehow in my efforts to paint him, his expression went from one of joy to the water is cold!  Ok, I may never attempt to paint a face that tiny again.  With a face, there is little opportunity to mess up. Painting a face this small, well there is every opportunity to mess up just a slight movement of the brush can wreck it.  Also, if you go back in the paint blurs and gets muddy.  No fun at all. Photo credit to his Dada.  I normally only paint from my own photos unless it is for a commission or in this case, I could not resist

Day 4 - Sweet Surprise

That is the very green painting with the song sparrow.  True to fashion, I went down the path of trying to get too much detail in a small painting.  This took forever.  Even when I tried to paint think and juicy - it still took way too long. I have to rethink my approach!  He is a rather sweet little bird sitting in my apple tree.

Day 5 - Proud

That is the raven up there with his chest all held high and fluffed up.  Ok, I confess, I have a thing for painting corvids.  Not that that is a secret or anything.  I paint many each year - much like chickadees.  I love how he is standing so tall and proud, a little look of "go ahead, make my day". I always start with the eye and then move onto the beak/bill.  If I get the head right the painting works

Until next week - cheers. Oh, I am open for suggestions on what to paint for this challenge.  Feel free to offer requests of what you like to see me paint - I may just get to it!

Thanks for following along!

 

 

 

 

Can we slow down summer please

Well, it is hard for me to believe that yet another Studio Tour has come and gone. Time is moving a little too quickly this year.  How can we slow down summer?

I love the meets and greets that come with participating in the tour.  So many nice people coming through and all interested in art.  How amazing is that?  A number of people are "followers" of my work.  This is so encouraging and humbling at the same time.  Life is good.

With all the preparation for the tour I fell behind a bit with my painting - but I did manage to complete the three small oils (8x10") I was working on. Time to start another before I lose the momentum.

Walk in the Park by Helen Shideler

"Walk in the Park" is a fun 8"x8" oil of a strutting crow.  This little guy proved to be very popular.  I guess what I saw in him others saw as well.  He could have been homed five times this weekend! I find it amazing how many people love crows and ravens.  I know I certainly do but thought is was an artsy thing.

King of the Castle by Helen Shideler

"King of the Castle" this gull really felt he owned the place.  He was perched up so proudly on this concrete post with a view of the nearby restaurant and the sea.  He was talking it all in.  Ever watchful for that morsel that would be presented should someone dare to drop a bite.  I was leaning on the fence taking photos of some cormorants when I noticed him.  He did not seem to care how close I was and truly, it took awhile before I even realized that he was there - my husband had to point him out.

Plein Air Pretties by Helen Shideler

The first day at the PACE Plein Air Conference April in San Diego, people has not had a chance yet to mix and mingle.  There were all kinds of plein air painters milling about in the hotel lobby. These two caught my attention.  I thought they looked so interesting looking at their walking map of the area. I knew I would be painting them.  Plein Air painters are always interesting to people watch!

Week 2 - 30 Paintings in 30 Days

The problem with the loony

When The 30 in 30 Challenge facilitates the need and opportunity to paint every day.  I love the discipline it creates for me.  The dedication. And most of all the support and encouragement from family and friends.   And the fact I had to get super organized with ideas and art supplies.  Speaking of art supplies, has anyone else noticed how expensive they have gotten since the Loonie plunged?  

The only personal challenge is that we eat at ridiculous times…no wait, we do that anyway. 

Day 8  "Welcome Visitor"  

I really think the only think trickier that painting with red in watercolour is painting red in Acrylic! I think this handsome cardinal was work the effort.

Day 9  "Snow Day"

This sweet little bird was so patiently waiting it;s turn at the feeder. It was so interesting to watch them. They would feed with the chickadees but when one if it's own kind would try to join in, they would get into an airborne flapping match.

Day 10 "Snowy Morning"

Little companion painting for Snow Day. They look sweet beside each other. All fluffed up and waiting for their turn at the feeders. While canaries are so sweet.

Day 11 "Seeds For Me"

This chickadee cutie was painted by special request as a companion piece for "At the Feeder" painted last week.

Day 12 "Mourning Glory"

I have to admit that this painting has taken the most amount of time so far. Two nights painting - phew. This fella was sitting in our grape vines near the feeder. I think guarding it from other birds so he can have all the seeds to himself. Mourning Doves are greedy and messy feeders. Good thing they are beautiful. My husband would dispute the beauty thing because of the mess they create - all the time!

Day 13 "Goosey Goosey Gander"

Ampersand Aquabord is one of my favourite surfaces for acrylic - even over Gessobord. It is so much more versatile for me. You can easily use acrylics like watercolors for an interesting effects. I even used some frisket - have to admit I was a bit nervous - but it worked out fine. Get nervous every time I try this, unsure why. Once this challenge is over, I will do a "how to" blog post on the process I use.

Anyway - I named this little painting what I did because it sounds fun - but thinking I have two ganders and one goose. Oh well...most people will not know ...I hope.

Day 14 "Looking Back"

I cannot help but think this handsome crow was posing for me - standing there so tall and proud with all it's feathers very neat and smooth.

Special requests

I ma getting a number of special requests for certain birds - if you would like to see something painted (especially if you would like to purchase it) just let me know - no obligation.  If I have  reference photos that I have taken, I will consider the request.

 

Entry into the CSPWC Open Water National Show 2015

Pretty excited and happy to have been selected to participate it the CSPWC 90th Annual National Open Water Show this year in Halifax at the Nova Scotia Archives. 

I recently embarked on a project to paint ravens.  When at Yellowstone National Park last fall there were a number of particularly friendly ravens in the parking lot at Artist’s Point.   They were walking around the travel trailers looking for hand-outs and cawing their hearts out.  One raven in particular was following me around and without being intrusive, I was able to get many really nice reference photos.  I was literally on my knees looking him in the eye and chatting with him.

Call of the Raven

“Call of the Raven” was selected for the 2015 Show!  This painting was pretty meticulously rendered and painted – with each individual feather painted with controlled wet-in-wet layers.  I find the colouration of the raven fascinating – how it looks to be almost molded out of pewter and still have rich blue and purple iridescent notes.

These reference photos were the foundation for a number of paintings including “Call of the Raven”,  The “Sentry”, “A Look Back” and a number of smaller paintings.  My intention when I stated this project was with Open Water in mind.

Invitation to the show opening is below