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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scarlet Stunner

by Shideler , January 14, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: botanical, dahlia, floral, flower, painting, pink flowers, red flowers

This acrylic painting of an intensly red dahlia was like therapy to work on. The colours were a nice distraction from the intense snowstorm that raged outside when I was working on it. It is interesting when painting red - there are so many shades and deep red is tricky to accomplish. This painting is custom framed in a floating frame… Continue reading… 2 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

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

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

by Shideler , August 17, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: bugs, butterfly, flower, insects, painting, painting a day

This beauty was a frequent visitor to our Siberian Pea Shrub earlier this summer. I could not resist painting it - after chasing it around with my long lens to "capture" an image. I completed this work to experiment with sealing and varnighing a watercolor in order to frame without using glass. I have to admit, I purchased the recommended products and am nervous to use them… Continue reading… 1 comment

Painting a day

by Shideler , August 2, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: botanical, floral, flower, painting, painting a day, plein air

This painting was the second one completed in Hampton, NB during "Bloomin'Artists" on July 25th. At firest I was tentative about the subject, painting in watercolour outside and all and on a drizzly day. Once I committed to it - it was really quite a fun piece. I drew each leaf as I went and continued on until it was completed… Continue reading… 1 comment

Sherbet Shades

by Shideler , June 16, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: A, botanical, dahlia, day, floral, flower, garned, painting

This beautiful dahlia grows in may garden and is a true labour of love. I committed to myself to paint every day (sort of) and try to complete a small painting a day. This work I think counts - as it took forever and a day - but I finally finished it this day...… Continue reading… 1 comment

Second fish

by Shideler , June 12, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: goldfish painting, painting, painting a day

This is the second fish in my attempt to complete a small painting a day - sort of. This endeavour allows me to pay more with the subject matter and materials. Originally I thought I would loosen up my work a bit through this process. Not really sure this is going to happen or not - it is not really a goal of this process. I know I am feeling really productive - especially on those days when time is at a premium. This is one of my favourite fish from my aquarium. I love the golds and the purply blues in it's scales. I added a touch of acrylic Hologram Pearl adn three large Golden Gold Mica Flakes to the scales. Fun… Continue reading… 0 comments