We've been to the beach

We have just returned from a wonderful family vacation on Prince Edward Island - where it is possible to take in a couple of different beaches each day without driving for more than 20 minutes. Each beach has its own uniqueness and so far, my favourite is all of them!

Plein Air sketches

I so very much love the island with all it’s glorious sandy beaches. And of course love all the family memories created with all of the island experiences we got to enjoy.

Originally I hoped to paint at least one plein air sketch each day, but it wasn’t always possible. It was pretty windy most of the time we were there. I didn’t even take my easel out of the car during that whole week. My Soltek would have been flying down the beach! But I am happy with the ones I managed to paint. I think they capture that wonderful feeling of summery days and sea breezes.

Plunging for clams

This is a new one for me. Originally from Cape Breton I was no stranger to clamming but with a shovel or a claw rake. In this very secret location we waded into the water, buckets close by and plunger in hand. Such a wonderfully fun and delicious experience. And I managed to get a number of reference photos for future paintings. A winning day for sure.

DSCN5872.jpg

Down by the bay

One of the most memorable events was taking a pontoon boat tour of Fortune Bay. It was another sunny and windy day - so windy in fact that our boat ride was limited to staying in the calmer waters of the bay and the river. We did not mind at all. In fact, our littlest sailor was invited to captain the boat. This will be an experience we will always remember and I am sure he will never forget. His little face was beaming with pure joy.

I forgot to mention the food

Along with the clams we collected, we purchased fresh fish off the MR Seafood truck that comes into Souris twice a week. Fresh scallops, hake and mussels rounded out the delicious seafood offerings that we were fortunate to enjoy a few times - served with fresh island potatoes and garden fresh vegetables. It really doesn’t get better than this - especially when shared with family!

DSCN5946.jpg

Studio reno update

Slowly getting there. I was so hopeful that the workers would have made more headway this past week. Still not a workable space, everything still covered in plastic and no water. Soon I hope…

Cheers

Footloose

Can you find your pair?

Footloose or that Barefoot Feeling is a large acrylic (30 x 36”) on canvas.

This was a wonderful family day at the beach. The sand was too deep to walk in so you had to kick off your shoes to get anywhere. I loved the natural groupings of the various family shoe piles.

That summertime feeling

This painting made me profoundly happy to paint. The shoes presented an interesting perspective and I’ll admit that at first I wondered what I was getting myself into. I thought about it a bit and then decided to approach the shapes much like I do when painting a flower. I kid you not, this perspective has helped me solve how to paint may different subjects. Even portraits! By associating it with something I know it took my fear and apprehension away. Seriously and thankfully.

I started with the purple crocs, then went on to paint the redish sandals beside them. I giggled all the way through them. They gave me so much joy to paint. Apparently I really needed a break from white lilacs!

What I am most happy with is that some of the shoes look like you could slide your feet right into them. Sigh…. I love that barefoot feeling!

Oh the grass

The sand was pretty quick to layer in and pretty much had to be in place as a foundation for the grass. Oh the grass! This painting was certainly thought provoking. I really had to think this through as I was not up for painting every single individual blade. In the foreground it was necessary but as the painting moved away from the front there was an opportunity to suggest the shapes and colours. Then bring the detail up in a few to give the illusion of depth.

to give you an idea of the scale of the painting

to give you an idea of the scale of the painting

I can still feel the sun from this day.

Soon I will share another post from our South African vacation. I think you’ll like the photos of the elephants and penguins.

Cheers

WIP Amethyst Blues and the Summer Sunshine Factor

The interesting thing about summer is when the sun is out, I am out.  It is not possible for me to stay indoors and so work in the studio s-l-o-w-s down and is often neglected.  Such is the case with Amethyst Blues.  This painting has been on the easel for far too long.  This morning it talked to me and I dove in.

WIP AMethyst Blues by Helen Shideler

The summer sunshine factor

I find that when I am working in acrylic, I really need an extended period of time to paint. Waste not want not (paint I mean). Summer is often fickle and this year, we have been starved for heat and sunshine. So when Mr. Golden Sun is shining I am so stir crazy that I have to go out.  The summer factor really digs into my studio time. Ah, the choices we have to make.

Watercolours allow you to grab an hour or two whenever you feel like it.  Acrylic not so much.  Time has to be scheduled and planned.

Feeling joy while on vacation

One of of my favourite memories as a little girl was waking up from a nap with the warmth of  sun shining on me and the sensation of the cooling breeze flowing in. The curtain would be dancing in the breeze and I literally thought it was heaven. The scent of the salt air  The memory of this is still heaven to me.

I got to relive this memory once again while on vacation in PEI

We were still living in Cape Breton. Our little house was close to the shore.  I was laying on my bed. Just awaking from my nap. It was sunny and warm outside. My window was wide open and the breeze was blowing my light curtain across my bed. I felt so safe and so content as I lie there basking in the sensation and scent.  Confession, I tried to take as many naps as possible this trip.

The summer sunshine factor 

And a wonderful family reunion! Note: the person jumping is a stranger -I just love the freedom of the moment.