Pretty in Pink Update #2

Oh so slow she goes...

Pretty in Pink WIP Helen Shideler

I have set this painting aside a couple of time.  Not for loss of interest but for competing priorities.  Namely a couple of commissions.  Then there was the 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge.  And a wonderful trip to Vancouver to visit family and welcome a beautiful new grandson.  So there have been numerous delays.

I started back in this past week.  I had to redraw the centre of the flowers as the lines I originally drew lost their interpretation over time (and some really faded) so now they did not make as much sense to me.  After all that scrutiny on the blooms I started in with the background.  Go figure.  But this was quite liberating.  I was able to cover a large area of the painting and still work loose.  Understand that when I say loose, the work is carefully planned and thought through before I even pick up a wet brush.  

I got pretty excited as the background started to take shape. Controlled wet-in-wet washes, mingling colours and multiple washes.  Delicious and fun!  And the roses started to pop with the contrast.

And then back into the redrawn blooms starting from the top down. I plan on completing this one this week.  Fingers crossed!

Day 11 - Spring Arrivals

One day this spring, I spent a good amount of time chasing this butterfly (not intrusively).  It went from rhodo to rhodo and bloom to bloom without setting on one place.  Then it landed! I was able to get a series of photos that I wanted to work with.  

Spring Arrivals

This painting  was an exercise in patience much like the photo session chasing the butterfly was!  It seemed to takes forever.  The dark colours in the background good seven layers of paint and you have to let each layer dry completely or the previous application will lift.  By the end of this painting session I have am sore between my shoulders.  

Today was supposed to be my catch up day as I missed posting yesterday.  Will have to be tomorrow now!

My Day 11 painting for this event is called “Spring Arrivals”.  This is an eastern yellow swallowtail butterfly in one of my rhododendrons.  Again, I took the photo indoors in the evening it looks a bit yellow.  The background is ultra white.

This is a 8x8"" acrylic on cradled Gessoboard - meaning no frame required.   It is ready to hang on your wall! 

Available on my website by clicking HERE  for $150

You can check out this project by visiting here - 

Yesterdays Blooms Finally Finished

Yesterday's Blooms by Helen Shideler The name Yesterday's Blooms came from a few different ideas I had white working on this watercolour of white roses. They grow in the back corner of my yard.  Early in the season the blooms are so white, almost a transparent white. As the season progresses, the blooms take on a hint of pink.  Only to become quite pinkish and coral nearer to the fall.  Also, each bloom opens white and then taken on a  pinkish tinge as the bloom matures.

I stepped back from this painting for a period (far too long) once I deepened the background.  I had to get my head around how deep the values really are on the “white” roses.   I have a value strip that has been so helpful.  Normally my instincts with tone and value are pretty good but I needed help with this one.  I think painting in the background prior to completing the roses may have thrown me a bit. With this painting, I thought in a few places I nailed the intensity, pulled out my value strip and nope, had to go back in.

Having a number of paintings to complete before Christmas , this one seemed to loom over me as I was rather easily distracted by the workload in my studio.  This past weekend I was determined to finish it! So happy I finally did!

I cannot help but marvel at the beauty of a rose.  And it is no less beautiful once it is past it’s prime – yesterdays’ blooms.  The colours in some areas are deeper, grow paler in others and more delicate somehow.  Even the bees seem to prefer the newer fresher blooms.  A metaphor of life.  Opoooo now i am getting philosophical!

Encore - Water colour painting of Hibiscus

Helen Shideler - Encore Performance This is an interesting watercolour painting of a hibiscus that grows in my corner garden… it is the last plant to emerge in the spring and the last plant to bloom in the garden.  Usually, it blooms inly after the first frost….and it takes it's sweet old time.  Teasing us.  And then.. WOW!  Every year I promise if it blooms on time (before the first frost) I will paint it.  Mother Nature has not exactly been on my side with this.

I get a little anxious towards the end of August each year as I watch the wine coloured buds swell  promising  to soon open. I am so hopeful that they will actually open before the first frost and I might get to see them unblemished.  It really hasn’t happened yet.  So my lovely hibiscus almost always has a bit of frost bite on her lovely deep wine coloured blooms.

This past year was no exception.  All my reference photos show the frost bites on the hibiscus petals.  I know I could have painted them out – but this is my reality with this flower. And frankly, I think they give the bloom some additional interest - although with all that saturated colour they do not need any help.

I called it “Encore Performance” as there are two more buds waiting to “show” themselves to us.


Past Their Prime - WIP Complete

Finally completed. This photo actually shows a bit lighter than the painting - but you get the idea.  This painting took a lot of discipline to stay with it just by virtue of it's size - full sheet (30" x 22") and the amount of detail.  Peonies and roses are tricky to draw out and require a lot of patience both drawing and in painting.  They are layer after layer of petals that are often not intuitively shaped or shaded.  I worked from a few reference photos for this - one for the jar, one for  the petals on the concrete bench and I combined two for the flowers.

Now I am on to a few poured paintings to loosen up - one of my favourite subjects - Mussel shells!

Saint David's Annual Art Show and Sale

The Saint David’s United Church Men’s Group holds an annual art show and sale that not only supports local artists but also injects much-needed funds back into the community.  This is an excellent opportunity to see quality artwork and support a very good cause! I am pleased to be participating in this Art Show and Sale again this year.  Things have been pretty busy for me with hanging my show "Full Spectrum" at the Imperial (still showing until November 14th).  So, I have been busily painting away for this event.

Below are three of the four paintings I will be exhibiting.   The fourth painting, well is still a work in progress.  It is a large acrylic painting of Delphinium. Stay tuned... this will most likely be my next blog post.

Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th

7 Gondola Point Road


Hope to see you there!

Height of Summer - WIP of climbing roses completed

Think I am finally getting back in the grove.  I have an inordinate number of works in progress.  All in various stages.  And I finally just completed this one!   These roses grow on my friend Jeannie farm.   They are well fertilized with well composted horse manure.  The roses are spectacular because of it!.  I hunkered down for a few days... armed with opera rose, rose madder genuine, potters pink cerulean blue, and various shades of red in including scarlet and magenta.   

Nelly or Nellie Mosher Clematis Completed

Nellie Mosher - Nelly Mosher
The real satisfaction is in the finishing touches.  The stage of the painting where it is super close to being completed – just requires the last details.  In this case the centers of the blossoms.  I painstakingly painted around these skinny little stamems and as pretty much the last step I got to paint them in. 
Then the scrutinizing begins – I look at the painting more holistically now.  Are the colors true to life?  Are the shadows painted with enough contrast? Are the lights and darks balanced to a believable state?  Are the tones balanced appropriately over the whole piece for the lighting of the day?
The images that I worked from were captured on a hazy day so the shadows are not particularly defined.  So no high key contrast here.

So happily - on to the next work!

Pretty Petunias

This Painting was completed quite quickly by my usual standards.  I used a mask to preserve the white areas, then poured pink and pale green.  Once dried, I applied more mask and poured more watercolor paint and so on...
Overall the painting took two days to complete. I think the hardest part was first applying the mask and them removing it.  Still have not decided if I like mask or not.  I usually carefully paint around things.
I am pretty happy with this process - it is fun!