Week 2 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

I am very happy that I have been able to keep with the challenge so far.  Typically I wind up with 28 or so.  This time I am pretty determined to complete the 30.  Fingers crossed please.

30 Paintings in 30 Days Helen Shideler

These were painted in reverse order

So you will have to look at the paintings from the bottom up...I never thought  

Day 8   "After Christmas"

I loved this snap since the moment I took the photo.  It was fun watching Everett's confidence grow while on the rocking horse.  At first he was tentative even climbing on it.  His initial rocking was kind of broken and not very smooth.  By the end of his visit, he would climb up like a pro and rock his little heart out.  It was one of his favourite perches to watch Paw Patrol!

Day 9 "Oh Hello There"

Day 10 "Oh I See You"

The elusive and Camera-shy male cardinals are always a challenge to capture in a photo.  They are so self aware they feel the lens of the camera focus on them.  And POOF they are gone.  I had to be really patient to be able to capture reference material that I was able to use

Day 11 "Front and Center"

The female cardinal is no where near as shy or skittish as the bright red male.  She is almost tame in comparison.  He sits high on the pergola and she spends more time at the feeder.  He will fly in, swipe a sunflower seed and take it to a high vantage point to crack and eat. She is a very pretty bird on her own until you see the male!

What surprised me the most, is after I posted this painting, so many people mentioned they have never seen a female cardinal before!

Day 12 "Waiting For My Turn"

There are so many American Goldfinches at the feeders. They seem to come in all at once, to the point where there isn't room at the feeders for all of them.  And many of them forage on the deck under the feeders. They are delightful. And although  it is still early, I think they are  already starting to get brighter for spring

Day 13 "Surprise Visitor"

One afternoon we looked out at the feeder and much to our surprize we had two male Hairy Woodpeckers.  I stopped to watch them for a few minutes and then the little voice said Helen grab your camera.  So happy I listened. Have a few good reference photos to work with.

Day 14 "On the Ready"

Poor old Sadie. Her stare always seems so intense.  But really, as a hunting dog her stare is typical of her breed.  Always on the ready for a command or to chase something out of the brush. Mark adopted as a senior rescue.  In her previous life she was a puppy mill dog.  She never knew love and kindness before her adoption.

Two Cardinal Paintings Fresh Off the Easel

Two acrylic paintings of cardinals on cradled panels

I needed today to be a productive day.  I needed to feel accomplishment and be distracted. And what a better way to distract yourself than to paint two cardinal paintings!  These birds are truly stunning.

That incredible shock of red

The sight of a male cardinal on a winters day will literally take your breath away especially when seen against a snowy background or on a grey cloudy day.  They are magnificent.  Unprecedented beauty.  They are a symbol of hope and renewal.  Strength. Grace.  

Happy to See You - Painting of a cardinal by Helen SHideler


Some believe cardinals are messenger.  Visitors. They show up when you are celebrating or missing someone you love.  For me, today was a two cardinal kind of day!

Sweet Memories cardinal painting by Helen Shideler

Some days you need to be retrospective

And it is certainly one of those days for me. Today is an anniversary that has a profound impact on me. Every year from a certain Monday in March to April 3rd i find I am fighting back tears.  I manage through it.  Try not to give in to it.  This year I decided to handle it differently - to celebrate and embrace it in a spiritual way.  

Cardinals are often thought to be symbolic of a loved one who has passed.   I decided that today I would embrace the day. Not fight it. Not try to ignore it.  You see today is the anniversary of the passing of my son.  Dear sweet Andrew Justin Hill.  And how much I miss him.  This is so very much a huge piece of who I am.  Today I decided to face the day head on. Painting birds that evoke sweet memories for us and for so many.  And they were my mothers favourite bird and are loved by our family.  


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.