WIP Update #5 and Birds of a Feather is finally finished!

Birds of a Feather - Helen Shideler paintingThis painting has proven to be an interesting experience all the way around!  This is the first time I painted mixed water media (mainly acrylic) on Ampersand Aquabord - and I am in LOVE!  It started out as a poured watercolour with the fun watery evergreen dripping into the golds and blues.  I loved it when it was still simple.  As in before I got in there mucking around with the paint. My original vision was to paint the mourning doves at the top of the weeping mulberry.  Then I loved the drippiness and started painting in every single stupid branch.  Then I get obsessed with the stupid branches - painting each one in careful detail. And I started resenting the painting for loosing the drippiness that I loved. I really really laboured over this one.  It took forever and I was never quite certain.

So, today I signed it and and photographed it.  Then an interesting thing happened.  I took photos of the large painting 30" x 22".  Then I focused in on the birds to bad able to share with you the mourning dove details.

Then it hit me.  I remembered that I wanted to capture the feeling of the tree and the cold birds perched on that interesting tree…. not paint the whole dang tree.  So with this cropped photo, I realized I was about to convince my husband to cut it almost in two.  Helen Shideler -Birds of a Feather detailWhen I mentioned it to him - he got up and went over to it and said right about here….see - I was right - this painting did not need all that volume.  I am much happier with it cropped as it captures what I was hoping to capture in the first place!

The colours are closer in the bottom photo!




Birds of a Feather - WIP Update #1

A few years ago I was captivated by a group of Mourning Doves sitting on a weeping mulberry shrub outside the window of my mother-in-law’s bedroom window.  They were huddled there on that very cold day as the shrub happened to be located near the dryer vent.  The warm air kept them huddled there for hours.  They were keenly aware I was there photographing them.  You can see they kept at least one eye on me – and this went on for an extended period of time.   Often there would be a disturbance when new doves  wanted to roost in this prime warm location.  They can be feisty when defending roost. Helen Shideler - Birds of a Feather - WIP

As I mentioned, I took the photos a few years ago.  And I have just started the painting this week.  That is because it is a complex subject.  Now I have never been one to shy away from a challenge or complexity, but this series of photos is special.  It is a tangled mess of twigs and I had almost no clue at all on where to start.  Last year, I revisited these reference photos a number of times.  Admired them.   Then I tucked them away safely waiting for the time I would actually muster up the courage and just go for it!

Then it happened.  Last week I pulled out this series of photos again.  And I had it.  I knew the exact way to approach this.  At least to start it.  I loosely drew it out. And then I set it aside with a feeling of  “are out of your mind?”  The very next day as I sat there looking at my drawing and idea arrived in my head.  I am thinking there was divine intervention here.  And the message was not - quick burn it and no one will ever know!  It was a decisive  thought, you have masque and know how to use it!  I hastily got out the masque, a little pot of Dawn dish soap (every artist’s friend) and went in. And applied more than I initially thought it would.

Helen Shideler- Birds of a Feather WIP

Let dry for 24 hours before starting  the next stage.  Here is where I am at now.  Second stage complete.

I should mention this painting in on Ampersand Aquabord 22” x 30” – hence the let dry for 24 hours..   After I started the second stage I began to wonder how it would look in the very slick Claybord surface.  Dang, that may have to be another painting!


WIP - Begonias on Parade?

This is a new way to torment myself.  Little flowers ans icky picky detail.  What in the work am I thinking - I can guarantee my next two paintings will be poured paintings! I will need to get the cobwebs out after this one! Thinking Begonias on Parade but open to other titles.  This is a  22 x 30" watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord.


A Few Old Fashioned Ladies....

Ah yes, another watercolor on Aquabord.  Finally think I am getting the hang of the surface! It is almost impossible to do multiple washes or layring on it - the under colour "lifts" or worse yet - mixes with the top wash.  And yet the finished painting is absolutely vibrant.

These pansies remind me of the old fashioned ones in every country garden I saw as a child, or the old china teacup with the delightful pansies on them - hence the paintings title.

So I link it, and once I figure out a framing solution - I will let you know if I intend to purchase more.  I still will admit, for any intricate and serious work, I will always use Arched 300lb cold pressed paper. 

Oh, by the way - I think they are "bluish" not so purple?