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Helen Shideler Art Blog

Helen Shideler

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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… Continue reading… 0 comments

A number of years ago I painted a large watercolor of these delicate blossoms, sold it and received three commissions to do similar ones. And so I thought that I was apple blossomed out. Only we have five mature apple trees and two young pear trees in our yard. And they are truly beautiful. Each year as the blossoms open, I am out in the yard photographing them. Over and over. And.. there are so darn many of them! This angle...that angle... maybe with more sky... maybe with less sky. Obviously I am really attracted to this flower. Maybe just to anything that blooms in the spring. So, once this painting is complete, I hope to paint another on a larger scale with the sky as the focal point - dimentions are represent the unframed size… Continue reading… 0 comments

These lovely flowers grace the inside of our chicken wire fenced in garden. We moved all our lilies into this rustic enclosure - in hopes to foil the white tail deer population that absolutely belive lily blooms are deer ice cream. Well our plan work surperbly...well, until last year. They have leaned longingly into the fence for a few years now - and managed to bend down a section making it easy for them to leap over. And well, we cannot figure out how to repair it with out completely rebuilding it! The deer love lilies. All kinds of lilies - as much as we do. Only we do not eat ours! The lilies grow amoung the asparagus (which deer do not eat) and the mint (wish they would eat) and the clematis (crap shoot on this one, well they will sometimes eat the blooms)… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is a painting of our doggie. Sadie is a highly spirited border collie lab cross and is always looking for someone to play with or for someone to pay attention to her. She is very expressive and communicates with us quite clearly - Almost always about attention and/or food or food and/or attention! She is getting on in years now. We think she is about eleven - not sure as she was a rescue dog. Her hair is turning quite white and she has started to slow down some. This is a mixed watermedia painting on Ampersand Aquabord. This surface is wonderful for painting textures such as fur and hair… Continue reading… 0 comments

Stormy Sunday and what shall I do. Sounds like the perfect day to lock myself in my studio and paint away. This is a mixed watermedia piece on Ampersand Aquabord of our dog Sadie. She is so inquisitive. Either looking for trouble or looking for food. I could not resist painting her. This was c ompleted in about five hours - the background gave me trouble. You cannot be in a hurry with this painting surface. Sadie is a mixed breed - cross between a lab and a border collie - the border collie being dominent… Continue reading… 0 comments

Rosy Red Roses

by Shideler , April 10, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Canadian artist, floral, flower, garden, pink flowers, red flowers

This is a painting of carpet roses that grow beside our pond,. They are very profilic and hardy. Thier colors are so vivid I just had to paint them! The size is unframed. This painting is beautifully custom framed. 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… Continue reading… 0 comments

Daisy Fresh

by Shideler , March 25, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Canadian artist, Helen Shideler, floral, garden, painting

This painting was pure fun to work on. Layer after layer of poured colors in combination with layers of masking compound, When working in this fashion, you really have to plan your work - as it is not quite as intuitive as painting directly. The toughest part of all this is actually removing the mask. Then the fun really begins when you go back in and crispen (is this even a word?) up the edges and freshen up certain colors.The most challenging part is knowing when to stop and resisting the urge to overwork the painting. In parallel I am currently I am working on a carpet rose - amazing colors - so exciting - so much detail and complexity. Often when I am working on a complex highly detail painting, I will work on a second looser and more adventurous piece… Continue reading… 0 comments

Follow Me

by Shideler , March 11, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: Helen Shideler, goldfish, koi fish, painting, pond

I started working on a full sheet painting of carpet roses that grow beside our pond. Beautiful pink, reds and wine shades. Then I had an overwhelming urge just to play. I set aside the painstaking drawing of roses and found a half sheet of Arches 300lb paper just waiting for inspiration. Hmmm __" whatever can I do? When ever I get in this frame of mind, I generally go directly to all my pet fish photos. I played with the composition, this one here __" that one there and so on. Landed on a composition that I liked and loosely drew it out. Then I got out my little metal cups for mixing large amounts of color __" masking compound (again __"boy am I a glutton for punishment __" this stuff is challenging at best) and started pouring paint… Continue reading… 0 comments

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… Continue reading… 0 comments

Back to our yard in the beautiful Kennebecasis Valley in New Brunswick, where the resident white tail deer population regards planters as their own personal salad bowl! We have a number of wrought iron planter hangers at a variety of heights. Needless to say we have more success with the higher planters. Red geraniums are a staple in our planters, as are petunias and any daisy like flower I can find. I love the mix of color you can plant together and still have it look good. I dabbled over the years with backyard color, various monochromatic then whites and on to what ever strikes my fancy at the time. It almost always comes back to red. Or Yellow. Pure happy colors. And I cannot wait to paint them… Continue reading… 0 comments

We live in a suburban area. Which in New Brunswick means we share our property and gardens with a population of white tail deer. Although beautiful, they are known in our region as ___garden rats___. Almost nothing is sacred. They eat almost everything! Especially tulips, lilies and hostas. Apparently tulips and lilies are like candy to them. They wait until the bloom is about to burst open with color and munch them while we are sleeping. Every now and then I am successful in foiling their snack. We apply blood meal regularly, especially after each rain " apparently, the deer do not like the smell (I understand, I don ™t like it either). This grouping of tulips were spared from the ravenous appetites of Bambi and friends… Continue reading… 0 comments

Mid-spring each year, we have a wonderful quince shrub that presents us with a shock of color. I am always surprised and pleased with the display. To the point where we have purchased two more quince shrubs. Interestingly enough, the colors on the two newer plants are quite different from the older original shrub. When we are sitting on the deck and see this blaze of reddish orange at the back of the property, you just have to walk over to admire it up close. Careful not to get too close, it is a thorny shrub. Also somewhat deer resistant which is another reason we acquired two more. Last year, I completed a quarter sheet watercolor of the quince… Continue reading… 0 comments

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… Continue reading… 0 comments

I am currently working on another large painting with water soluble oils. This is still a foreign concept to me - I mean the waiting thing between the layers. And so, to fill in time frow all the waiting, I am also painting a full sheet watercolor of my Japanese Quince bush - large, lots of detail and almost monochromatic. Somewhere between lost patience and working so intently on a large pieces, I found the need to, well, digress. I have been curious about pouring paint and using a masking compound (hate them). I started a doodle of sorts of my koi fish named "hoover" - mixed little pans of colors and dove in without really a clue what I was doing. The masking stuff - well in addition to being sticky and difficult to apply with any accuracy, it stinks - I mean really smells bad… Continue reading… 0 comments

Since the beginning of this past summer, every morning (or so) I would go out onto our deck and admire the amazing shades of blue in our morning glory vine. As summer progressed and the vines reached the top of the arbor, the shade of changed to a more intense shade of blue. Several mornings in a row, I would rush outside with my camera to photograph the back lit blooms. I was afraid it would rain soon and beat the blooms into oblivion. As summer started to wane, the intensity of blue in the morning sky also deepened. This is when I realized this little morning obsession I have would have to become a painting. I was torn __" to paint this in watercolour or in acrylic. Watercolour being my favourite medium, I drew the blooms out on Arches 300lb cold pressed paper… Continue reading… 0 comments

Small Works Ah, as Christmas approaches it is often quite prudent for artists to complete a number of small works. These are good as possible donations to requesting charities but also very marketable this time of year __" more so that larger works. I struggle with small paintings. They are almost as much work as larger pieces and they take a disproportionate amount of time to complete. Take this little star fighter lily. Only 5___ x 5___ big, er___ small. The drawing took no time really __" but painting that level of detail that small is icky picky work. I get a great deal of satisfaction with large freer brush work that I apply with larger scale acrylics. Then the fun really begins with I get into the details. Love this stage. It is when a painting comes to life… Continue reading… 1 comment

Mardi Gras

by Shideler , October 31, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Canadian artist, Helen Shideler, aquarium, goldfish, koi fish

Mardi Gras - this painting was pure fun to work on - well...for the most part. I recently purchased some water soluble oils and decided to try them out. I had forgotten how long oils take to dry - and yes, this is the case with this type as well. So, I painted for a few hours - waited a few days, paint again wait again, you get the picture. This went on for quite awhile. Then one day as I was studying the piece - I realized it was close to finished! And so today I worked on it for about four hours and I think it is finally finished. In this painting is Hoover, Nemo,Comet, Guilda, Goldie, Marilyn and Dot....our pet goldfish and koi. I continue to be fascinated by the fish and love to paint them. The next painting they are swimming in the pond - a whole different perspective… Continue reading… 0 comments

Ruby Red tuLips

by Shideler , September 22, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: floral, nature, tulip watercolor

This is yet another adventure working on Aquabord. I am finding this surface is better when worked in a painterly style as opposed to realism and high detail. It is a good process to go through as it does help to loosen me up as along as I have large pockets of time to work in. I find when I grab a few minutes to paint __" I work in a tighter manner. I love the colours of these flowers, not pink, not red and not orange, but really all shades in between. Tulips when in full bloom make me happy. I am not completely sure, but to me they represent free spirits. Out in the early spring, bowing in the wind __" leaning into the sun. This stand grows in my front garden under an apple tree… Continue reading… 0 comments

Learning to Fly

by Shideler , September 19, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Helen Shideler, child, children, garden, painting, swinging

This is a painting long in the making - I started it forever ago and just finished it this week. I had Noah painted on the swing - painted some of the grass - and finally went in for the face. Normally I would have started with his little face - and if that didn't work out for some reason - well, I would either start over or move on. This is a painting of the little boy next door - and he is adorable… Continue reading… 0 comments

It is always an adventure when you embark to paint a series of related works. In this case, I am experimenting with the Aquabord watereolor painting surface. I really like the vibrancy you can achieve once you figure out how to layre - er, actually, once you realize you have to have patience to let the layres dry completely before you apply the next one. This is an iris from my garden and one of my favourites. We grow a number of bearded irises - all are lovely, but this one always stops me in my tracks. The blues are so intense and the white so crisp. I like the effect in this painting with the dark background making teh flower stand out. (Also really tricky on Aquabord)… Continue reading… 0 comments