Rhodo Rhapsody

I little over a year ago, I was out walking along the seawall in Vancouver when I came across this amazing rhododendron.  It literally stopped me in my tracks.  And as good fortune would have it, I happened to have my camera with me. Pure rhododendron rhapsody.

Rhodo Rhapsody by Helen Shideler

The Vancouver difference

They grow to be quite huge in Vancouver - everything grows to be quite huge in Vancouver and, they have so many varieties.  I had never seen this one before ever.  It is amazing. I took many photos knowing I would one day be painting it.

I have since noticed that the nurseries in the Maritimes are now carrying them. We will be planting one for sure this spring.

When the sun shines

I love the play of light in this painting.  How the lower blooms are cooler and slightly in the shade. And how the top bloom appears warmer in the sun and how the bright sun affects the colours of the leaves.  The delicious little bits of light dancing across the leaves were so gratifying to paint. 


I felt that the painting was completed yesterday afternoon.  I signed it and proceeded to scrutinize it looking for areas that may require some colour balancing or attention in some way. Then this morning when I opened Facebook, I was presented with a memory from last year.  You guessed it (blush) - I started this painting exactly one year ago.  I could not believe it.  My how time flies.  In fairness I set it aside so I could work on a few commissions.  But a whole year ago!

Lots of Love in Vancouver

I've been in Vancouver or the past three weeks  savouring every wonderful moment with my two grandsons. Yes two.  Everett arrived a few days after I arrived.  I naively thought I would be able to catch up with the 30 Paintings in 30 Day Challenge. And as much as I would like to share with you that I was able.  Well I was not.  However snuggles and storybooks trump painting for awhile!

I have managed to complete five small paintings during this time.  I painted some daisy and then figured it would work well as a poured painting.  So I redid it.  Both are below - which is your preference - the traditional approach...

Daisy Days I

...or the poured painting?

Daisy Days II - Poured Painting

And then I thought I should do it once more as a negative painting.  Have not had the chance to do this but I may.  I think it is a good opportunity to illustrate the versatility of watercolour.

I brought along my iPad thinking I would-be able to blog during my visit.  However my iPad did not recover from me dropping in on its corner last month.  I had the glass replaced (subsequently voided the warranty - but that is another story) but the touch screen was acting up frustratingly so.  Anyway I just managed to get my technology in order just two days before I was to travel back home.  I am a complete Apple fan after this experience!

True love 

True love 

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!