Country Garden Favourite

Country Garden Favourite is a traditionally painted watercolour of hollyhocks

Hollyhocks and mallow were a couple of my mothers favourite flowers. And I guess, seeing them through her eyes as a child helped me to gain an appreciation for them as well. I always associate them with an old fashioned country garden.  I truly love these blooms for their beauty and the nostalgia.  No wonder I love to paint them.

Country Garden Favourite hollyhock painting by Helen Shideler

They bring me back to Cape Breton

Good memories.  Salty air. Sunshine.  Wonderful memories of a place that was truly wonderful to be a child in. There is another flower that takes me back there  as well - wild blue flax.  This past summer, I saw it growing in PEI.  I was so happy to see them.  The colour is amazing.

 Speaking of blue

I knew when I started this painting that I wanted to paint the background as sky blue, rather than the background in my reference photos.  The background in the photos was rather dull and I wanted this painting to be crisp and to feel like a warm summer's day.  For fun I googled "Blue Sky” colour.  This really cool page came up in Wikipedia.  So many shades of blue.  So many shades of sky.  

Originally my plan was to do this painting as a poured watercolour.  I changed my mind for a few reasons.  One I was running out of masking compound and two, I wanted to keep the petals delicate and soft.  Pouring can give you hard edges.  There is a way around that, but it requires applying the mask on damp paper.  And maybe three, I often like to draw as I go.  When you pour it is much easier to have your drawing mapped out.  It is really easy to get lost without a careful rendering.

Hope you enjoy this painting as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Peppermint Candy Petunias

Somehow, the whole time I was working on this painting, I kept thinking about Peppermint Candies.  You know, the ones with the swirl of red and swirl of white?   It first occured to me as I was sketching them out - and then as I started to apply the watercolor paint I just kept thinking about them.  
Awhile back, I checked on my framing inventory and realized I had five really nice frame sets for watercolor paintings and so I set out to complete five in one month.  And I did it.  This is the last piece that I told myself I had to do in this timeframe.  
I love the colors of this flower.  The pinks are flaming and yet there are so many subtle shades.  The photos that I worked from were actually more on the bluish side - I chose to modify the colors to the impression they had on me.
This painting is 12.5 x 8" wide (unframed size) and is painted on Arches 300lb paper.

Rosy Red Roses - WIP completed - I think

 

And so,  countless hours, untold amounts of staring and figuring and color balancing... I think this painting is finally done!

I knew today that it was in my reach to finish this piece.  I hunkered down at 8am and just finished it at 7pm.

I spent a lot of time deleloping the foliage.  After I thought I was all done - I looked at it with squinty eyes and realized that I had to deepen the colors of the leaves.  I went back in with a wash of terre vert (a blueish green) and intensified the leaves.  And then once again thought I was finished.

Then I looked at it again with squinty eyes.  Saw a number of the rose petal has to be deepened and some of them needed a boost of personality (more colors).

I looked at it again and thought I was finsihed.   Then I realised the tiny fly had no legs or antennae.

I fixed up the bug and hung the painting on my fridge - yes my fridge.   And am determined no more squinty eyes.

I am declaring this painting finsihed.  At least until tomorrow when I look at it with fresh eyes.

Summer Wine Shades - Tree Peony

My husband and I make wine - and every year we make a summer wine, usually a blush. One of the most appealing characteristics of summer wines are in it's beautiful colours. Soft yet distinct shades of raspberry, pinks and soft wines shades.

This lovely bloom is a tree peony that grows in the corner of our garden off our pergola. It is beautifully custom framed, double matteted with a wine coloured inner mat. This is the second full sheet watercolour that I have painted. Truly a labour of love. Framed size is 28 x 38".