WIP Cascading Blooms Watercolour Complete

Cascading Blooms a 1/2 sheet watercolour of pink climbing roses complete

Cascading Blooms watercolour by Helen Shideler


I finally figured out why I have been procrastinating so much.  At least I think I have been.  And not sure I was even conscious of it until now.  Participating in the 30 paintings in 30 day challenge in January was very satisfying.  I mean I completed a painting a day for goodness sake. Felt accomplished every single day!

Now that I am back to painting larger works - they seem to be taking forever.  I had a goal this weekend of finishing two.  Well, I only finished this one.  But, you know, you cannot hurry this type of work.

This is painted from reference photos I took at my friend Jeannie's garden.  Each time I visit I take more photos and have painted this climbing pink rose at least three times.  You know her secret?  She fertilized them with her abundant source of horsey manure.  


For some reason I am completely captivated by roses and peonies. I am drawn in by their complexity.  Each petal has no less that four or five shades and has a soft almost velvet appearance.  The colours intensify at the centre into rich deep tone while the edgesbecome lighter with a few crinkles.   

I loved painting the leaves (and the blooms of course).  The ones in close proximately have so many different shades of greens and a bit of blue.   

Every time I finish one I tell myself - well that is enough and yet ever year I am compelled to do at least one or two more.  I have started to paint them on a smaller scale 1/2 sheet as opposed to full sheet.  No less effort - just good for framing options and really for your walls!

The painting is available on my web site



A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

I may be thinking too much

but as I was working on this painting it occurred to me that these roses are actually rose coloured.  Is a rose rose? When is a rose not a rose? Not quite an epiphany but it is fun to say and to think about. And I am rather sleepy right about now... and obviously easily entertained.

WIP Helen Shideler "A Rose is a Rose"

I figure that

each petal takes me just under an hour to paint.  I paint each one wet in wet and let the colours flow into each other, then edit by removing some paint and adding some more deeper tones. In the photo above, well the colour is off.  When you take photos inside the camera reads the white background funny.  The pinks are close but the background is white not cream.  But you can definitely see it shaping up! I this the name of this painting will have to include something about a cascade.  

WIP Helen Shideler "A Rose is a Rose'

Starting to build dimension by adding in the green of the leaves.  They are really quite deep shades of green. I have stated one and cannot wait to get into the others.

WIP Helen Shideler "A Rose is a Rose"

Here is a close of of another area. 

On the Easel

I believe I am a habitual project starter.  

Actually I know I am. I cannot sketch out one project,  no I have to jump in the deep end.  Always.  Be highly ambitious.  Starry eyes wide open looking at possibilities.   I have sooo much work to do.  Happy sigh!  Then I disappear for a few days wondering where to start.

Roses, soft pretty roses in full bloom in watercolour.

Occasionally I wonder what the heck I am thinking.  

Where in the world would I even start?  One of my new  pieces has that quality.  I am pretty sure most of my friends out there know I have been stalking birds for reference photos in the past few months.  Well I am still at it.

As the sun was rising

Most recently, as the sun was rising, I caught a glimpse of a mourning dove perched deeply and peacefully in one of our fir trees.   The sun was catching the dove on the front of its face and breast.  The lighting was perfect.  Armed with my camera and in slippers I rushed outside in the cold to capture the  moment.  Many photos and a good chill later, I happily made may way back into the house.  Only to take even more photos from the vantage point of my warm kitchen window.

This is a highly detailed, almost monochromatic piece.  Wondering if I should just jump in with thick oils and have at it.  Or…. should I maintain my meticulous approach?

All this and a commission

I have a commission in the works on a fairly large canvas – will share more on that later. I am loving the way this is shaping up.

And yet another

And a lovely white with raspberry/ blackberry coloured rhodendron that I absolutely cannot wait to get into.

Check back ofter to see how I am progressing



WIP Pretty in Pink completed

I love the feeling of satisfaction when I finally determine a painting is completed.  I am done with the squinty eyes and scrutinizing - it is really time to put down the paintbrushes and was off my palette.

Pretty in Pink watercolour by Helen Shideler

When I get near the completion of a painting I spend quite a bit of time assessing and reassessing it and second guessing myself.   This is a normal part of the painting process. I want to ensure the warm tones are balanced over the painting and that the cooler tones are the right shade and intense enough to capture the perspective I wanted to achieve.  I am very happy with the result.

I like to work in a series.  I have been sifting and sorting through my reference materials and notes to determine what will come next.  There will be at least two more 1/2 sheet watercolour florals and one large acrylic in my near future.

Pretty in Pink will be custom framed and is available on by website

Visit often to see what is on the drafting table!