Chickadee dee deeee

Sweet, fat, fluffy and round.  

And cute! Dear little chickadees. I cannot stop painting them.  They make me so happy.  We admire them daily as they flit in and out of our feeders.  They fly in and steal a sunflower seed.  Fly into the grapevines or into a nearby tree.  Crack open the seed.  And then come back again.  Over and over for most of the day.  So entertaining!

Chickadee dee dee by Helen Shideler

Not a crazy bird lady

Before you get the idea I am a crazy bird lady,  I will explain.  You see we have large windows all over our house and place the feeders strategically so you can catch a glimpse as you walk by.  Quite heavenly.  Tonight there was a pair of cardinals outside the kitchen window.  I am amazed at how red he truly is this time of year.  She was in  the feeder and he was ever watchful.  Until he saw me watching them. And then they were gone.

Chickadee by Helen Shideler

And so there are two little chickadee painting.  The one on the bottom is sold

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.

 

Gone to the Birds

I joined in a challenge to paint 30 Paintings in 30 Days.  The first week quickly became about painting chickadees!

I knew the challenge was coming up so between Christmas and New Years I braved the elements to attempt to get as many photographs as possible.  I stood out on our deck for hours.  Freezing my fingers off while waiting for the perfect photo opportunity.  Interesting enough, it did not take me too long to figure out that these feathers cherubs are much faster than I.  I managed to get many empty feeder shots. And a few with the snow flying as the little cuties flew off the feeder.  

A Discovery 

After about three days of obsessive photographing and freezing I discovered that my Canon camera with my long lens can shoot through the glass at my kitchen window. Well now.  No more freezing.  Interesting enough only the long lens can do it.  Go figure.  So about 500 photos later, I have enough reference material to keep me painting for 90 days!  Loving it.

Oh Yeah

The first painting I did for the challenge was of a white husky appropriately named "Lily".

Particulars 

These painting are available on my web site.  You can get there from here by clicking on AVAILABLE WORK on the top menu on this site and going to artwork portfolio.

Lessons Learned

Due to the inclement and cold temperatures, I decided to use LIquitex acrylic varnish.  They recommend for best results that you first apply a thin (and they mean it) coat of gloss then apply a thin layer of matte. This is great product for work with backgrounds.  Not so much for leaving      the lovely white backgrounds of Gessobord or Clapboard unpainted.  No mater how careful your are you get a bit of frustrating streaking.  

RECOMMENDATION: If you are leaving much of the surface unpainted, you are much better off to use an archival spray varnish.

 

 

 

i see you - painting of a sparrow

I See You by Helen Shideler"I See You" is an 8" x 10" acrylic painting on Claybord of a white throated sparrow looking at me from my apple tree

I almost always have a camera on the ready within reach.  On this particular day I was perched on my deck, hunkered down,  camera focused on our bird feeders.  The birds were so active. Swooping in for a sunflower seed and then rushing off with their treasure to peck it open.  And swooping back in for another.  Over and over and over again.

The problem is - how fast they move.  Just as soon as I would get one little bird in focus, poof it was gone.  This goes on for a long time.  It always does.  I am totally convinced they are able to sense when they are being observed and become even more skittish.  Flighty actually!  Or they are simply teasing me.

So I continued to be hopeful as I always am.  Just a few great shots...pleeease! I focused on the bird feeder but to no avail.  Then I got a bit impatient and started to play with the camera.  A little to the left.  A little to the right.  Wait, go left again.   In the apple tree.  Snap snap snap snap snap.  This little white throated sparrow had it's eye fixed on me!  As I was watching it, it was watching me!  Hence the name of the painting.  I managed to get a number of photos that made me very happy.

Drawing out this little painting out was quite easy.  Painting on Claybord not so much.  It always presents a challenge.  When I start a painting I love the smoothness of the surface.  Halfway through the painting I think I should burn it.  But I always stay with it and feel quite rewarded for my efforts.   I love the amount of detail that painting on panel allows one to achieve over the roughness of canvas.  This particular surface, being clay, absorbs much of the first few washes but does allow me to use acrylics transparently almost like watercolours.

This painting is available on my web site in the Nature in Art Galley image gallery.  Click the link below to check it out.

http://helenshideler.fineartstudioonline.com/works/1761700/i-see-you