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I May Have Learned a Thing or Two

9 Jun

Pouring paint – Lessons Learnedand there are quite a few.   Or what no to do when pouring paintings!

  1. Fine lines are really tough to accomplish with masking fluid – think about avoiding hair (just kidding)
  2. You need patience and a lot of it in order to apply fine lines of masque
  3. Removing a lot of masking compound can give you serious blisters on your fingertips when you use them to rub off the stuff  (bad idea)
  4. Maybe doing a poured painting (or two) of a goat was not such a good idea
  5. Staining pigments should be applied last as subsequent colors do not “stick” or cover as well
  6. Some of my favorites such as the beautiful quin burnt ochers and oranges fall into the category above
  7. And oh, you can ruin a poured painting with a pour when the pigment is too intense or very dark

Pop Of Color

So why do them?

Poured painting are plain outright FUN!

I love to see how the poured paintings develop.  The burst of new colors are exciting – seeing where the puddles form and the trailing rivers of pigment may flow. This process provided the painter with a little thrill there as there is a certain element of risk and loss of control.  And the finished effect is very interesting, very rich in color and very satisfying.  It is not everyday that you can write a sentence with three “very’s” in it.


Toss the Old Goat – and Apparently the New One Too!

2 Jun

Somethings are just not meant to be a poured painting.  I even have blisters on two fingers from this painting – and well, the old goat has been shredded – and the new goat will not be far behind!

Helen Shideler  Old Goat painting


Every now and then it happens.  And I knew it as it was happening.  But for some reason I forged ahead.  Not once but TWICE!!!!  ARRRRRGGGG!!!!! With each step I questioned myself.  With each pour I asked what are you doing?  And I still proceeded.  As the painting developed it was well, ok.  Well, I don’t do ok.  The height of mediocrity is not nor has ever been my goal.  I strive for strong, well-executed work! Work that I can hang with a level of confidence and not have to explain away.  That is what makes me tick.  And yet I plodded on hoping that the end result would fare better than what I was watching develop.

Helen Shideler poured water color

I completed five pours on this Old Goat and just six on the New Goat (you can see how I feel about it by how I am referencing it), removed the masquing compound and really look at it.  It was ok. That word again.  Once the masque was off, it was really clear to me how to improve it.  Tear it up and burn it baby burn it!

Start over I said.  And start over I did.  This time I was able to achieve a thinner line of masque for the hair and included a background of sort. Crop in closer to the goat’s face  creating a better composition and more interest in the overall work.  And still I am completely not satisfied – two paintings for the fire pit!

Note to self: Plan your work more carefully.  Just plan your work.  Lesson re-learned for now.  Haste does make waste!

Is this ever a position you find yourself in?


while in Vancouver- two WIPs

24 May

While visiting my new grandson in this amazing city, I am still working away.  This year is very busy with art obligations (love them all) as they keep me focus and productive, even when the sun is shining.  This is the mid point of these two poured watercolor paintings.  Stayed tuned for the reveal..  Have you ever tried to post from an iPad – Ridiculously difficult.  You cannot edit!

Helen Shideler poured water color Helen Shideler poured watercolor

WIP – So Glad, Poured Watercolor Painting Complete

20 May

I swear, the most difficult pat this process is removing the  masquing compound from the painting!  You really get a workout.  Then you have to be a tactile detective by rubbing your fingers all over the piece looking for stray bits of the stuff.  When you remove the masque (frisk it) from your painting, the surface of the paper does not seem to absorb paint quite the same way.  the intention here is not to over work the piece, but leave the painterly qualities intact and visible.

I am posting this from my iPad, not a very user friendly thing to do. Also, the photos were taken with it as well, thinner they are over exposed and showing too light.  Once I return home, I will post the WIP steps with photos taken with my camera.

Helen Shideler Watercolor So Glad

Turn About is Fair Play

18 May

Who would have thought it?  

I am making a mess in my daughter’s kitchen.  While she lovingly tends to her newborn baby boy Theo,  in the hospital,  I am in her kitchen pouring a painting!  in this incredibly great for pouring sink!  The permanent sap green gave me a bit of a fright…but with elbow grease, I managed to remove the evidence. 


WIP – Poured Painting – So Glad, I think!

12 May

I am at it again!  I love the freedom of pouring paint.

I have to admit the masking fluid is not acting the way I like to see it.  It is a new bottle and is, well applying  pilley like an old wool sweater.  And the color of this stuff has me a bit freaked out.  I am quite motivated to complete the pours and cleaning up in only a few days.  Afraid it will stick forever.  And, eeeee, I leave for Vancouver on Thursday!  Hopefully to meet my new grandson!   Hopefully he at least arrives when I am there – fingers crossed!

Helen Shideler - WIP Poured Painting

This stage represents three pours and a few masking sessions.

Colors are below

Helen Shideler - paint colorsW&N New Gamboge, Green Gold and DS Organic Vermillion

WIP – Maritime Blues III, Finally Finished

23 Sep

So, I have been all over this painting consistently for the past two weeks.  Every opportunity I had I would work on it.  I think I have decided that, unless someone commissions me to do another mussel shell painting in a completly different medium, well,  I am done with watercolor mussels – at least for awhile!  I found this process long, starting two poured paintings at the same time.  I was able to complete the first one, but had to move away from this version to get other work done.  Took me more dicipline than I figured to stay with this.  This is the third and final of my series of pured water-colours of  mussel shells.

I think I will “stare” at it for a few days before I have it scanned to see if it needs any tweaking.

WIP Maritime Blues – Update #3

4 Sep

So, my goal of painting two or three shells per day has been completely thrown out the window!  Toss in my daughter’s beautiful destination wedding.  And while the event was small, even with company and family literally coming in from the four corners over the world –  the daily painting goal was tossed out the window.

When on the island (PEI), I managed to do quite a few plein air paintings (fourteen to be exact) and work a bit on a watercolor of a Flame Pom Pom Dahlia.  The mussel shell painting was just too large to travel.  Once we returned home, a number of the travelers returned with us.  Once again our home was bustling with friends, good food and laughter. Who can paint with people having so much fun without you?

Now I am back at it.  I managed to carve a few hours out this past weekend to focus on the mussel shells.  And although it is rather slow going, I am making headway.  New goal – to have this work framed by the end of September!

Rember this? Maritime Blues III WIP – Update 2

7 Aug

Think back… way back to the spring when I first posted two WIPS of poured paintings of mussel shells.  I completed one and let the other, well rest.  Somehow, once I get to about the first third of a painting  I seem to set it  aside  and then finish an earlier piece.  this time is no exception.  With Maritime Blues II recently back from the framer, I decided it was time to finish this piece.  What I love about this painting is I can pick it up at any time, work for a few hours and them come back to it.  I have a goal to complete at least two shells pre day until I can call it finished!


I am loving the colours and textures – feeling quite adventurous with all the mauves and bits of pink.    This photo is showing the work darker than it really is – I will shoot the next update in better light!


Maritime Blues II – Finally Finished!

17 Jun

So, what seems like many many months of planning and painting  – this painting is finally complete.  I started two poured mussel shell works at the same time.  The second, well is my next work in progress. I actually think I may have worked this subject out  of my  system… however, I think there may be one more either oil or acrylic — for  old times sake :).

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