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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah yes, another watercolor on Aquabord. Finally think I am getting the hang of the surface! It is almost impossible to do multiple washes or layring on it - the under colour "lifts" or worse yet - mixes with the top wash. And yet the finished painting is absolutely vibrant. These pansies remind me of the old fashioned ones in every country garden I saw as a child, or the old china teacup with the delightful pansies on them - hence the paintings title. So I link it, and once I figure out a framing solution - I will let you know if I intend to purchase more. I still will admit, for any intricate and serious work, I will always use Arched 300lb cold pressed paper… Continue reading… 0 comments

All Dressed Up...

by Shideler , August 15, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Iris painting, aquaboard, botanical, floral, flower, nature, painting

And to think I said no more painting with purples for awhile after painting the two Lilacs. After finishing the "Amethyst Lilac" painting, I was determined to paint something less complex and not purple. Well, being who I am, gravitating towards complexity in everything I do, I started this painting on Aquabord. Aquabord is a relatively new hard surface for painting with watercolours. The beauty of this surface is that the completed piece is sprayed with acrylic Krylon archival varnish when completed and framed without glass. This piece is protected. As so many people now prefer to purchase paintings with out glass in order to eliminate glare from lighting and windows - this is a nice option… Continue reading… 0 comments

So this delicious fella was the guest of honor at our Father's Day Dinner earlier this year. We cooked up quite a batch - and I photographed every stage. I see the next series of paintings to follow. I said red - gotta see some other colour than lilac for a few days! Artist's by the Sea have asked us to bring with us a few small pieces to get the auction started while we are all out painting in the community. So, this is one of my small pieces to get the day started… Continue reading… 0 comments

This painting is a full sheet transparent watercolour of lollypop lilies from my garden. This is one of my favourite flowers. I love the cranberry tips on the petals and the subtle ivory/white shades of this lily and teh way the sun spots create litle highlights. This painting took a very long time to complete. I have painted similar versions in acrylic twice - I this this flower called out to be created again only this time in watercolor… Continue reading… 0 comments

Town Hall Meeting

by Shideler , January 9, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: aquaboard, birds, clayboard, nature, painting, pigeon

This painting is a composite of many photos of pigeons taken the first really cold day in the fall. It is a watercolour painted on aquabord (claybord) and finished with Krylon acrylic archival varnish. I was torn with the title - "Gathering of the Flock" was my other choice. Working on this was pure fun... I delibertly tried not to be as detail oriented and to play with the paint. That is the wonderful thing with claybord - it is forgiving and acts differently from watereolor on paper. I intend to do may more this way. Lets me loosen up some… Continue reading… 0 comments

Shades of White

by Shideler , December 10, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: botanical, floral, flower, nature

This is a painting of a tree peony from our garden. The flower is so delicate, almost transluscent and almost like crepe. This piece was a real challenge - normally I am drawn to a more intense range colours. I am glad I stuck with it… Continue reading… 0 comments


by Shideler , November 29, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: botanical, floral, flower, nature, plein air, red flowers

This is an acrylic painting of blanket flowers in my garden. This painting seemed to go on and on forever. Layer afer layer of transparent washes to get the intense colours. But in the end - I am glad that I stayed with it. It reminds me of a garden party. I originally saw these flowers while at a painting plein air art event in Hampton, NB -I searched garden centers until I found some to purchase… Continue reading… 0 comments

Queen Cecropia

by Shideler , November 22, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: botanical, bugs, butterfly, insects, nature

One night while watching tv, this rather large moth kept flying into our window -. At first I thought it was a bird gone wrong - but at closer inspection I realized it was a really big moth. I took many photos - and this is the result. This is the first of a few painting I will do of this moth - I could not beleive a moth could be so large and so beautiful. I plan to complete a few more - only much larger soon… Continue reading… 0 comments

This painting was an experiment with some of the new tools available for watercolors. I admit I am a watercolor purist - and so this was also an exercise in bravery. I purchased a number of clayboard panels while visiting my daughter in Vancouver last year. It has taken me exactly a year to decide to experiment with them. The texture of the clayboard is quite different from paper - at first I was unsure if I liked it or not. After painting for a few minute - i started to get the feel for the material - bottom line. If you have time to play, this is a fun product. I sealed the finished painting with three coats of Krylon spray varnish. I have not decided yet if I am going to apply Golden Polymer Varnish over top or not… Continue reading… 4 comments