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WIP – Begonias on Parade Finally Finished!

5 May

This painting may have seemed to drag on forever – really completed a few weeks ago, however, our computer was in for repairs and just today we are getting things back up.  And OMG what adventure this has been.  Apple has a Voice Over function – it says everything you do, including ever number or letter you type or button you push.  Drove me crazy until, with the help of my friend Google, I was able to figure out how to shut it off.  I was beginning to think I would never be able to use this computer again!

That aside, here is the finished painting.  There is a spider hanging out, see if you can find it!

Begonias On Parade by Helen Shideler


Mallard Trio

30 Jan


These birds are the most abundant and widely distributed waterfowl species in North America. Although common, I think they are uncommonly handsome – don’t you.  Take the drake for instance, who would deny the iridescence of his head to be less than magnificent? With his striking white-collar and white pin tail tips.  Dapper Dabbler Ducks!

And then there is the uncelebrated mallard hen by comparison.  Various shades of brown leaning towards warm orange, yellowish orange bill upturned in a perpetual smile.  I have actually painted many more hens than drakes over the years.  Just because.

Back to this composition… when all the duck photos I took did not line up quite the way I envisioned for the Ducks in a Row idea, I decided that this would be better as three separate companion paintings.  Still love the title Ducks in a Row  – but it does not really work anymore.  Mallard Trio is as good as I got.  I love the attitude of ducks.  They are confident and almost always look as if they have a secret they are not sharing.  The perpetual upturn at the edge of their bill and the well, their cheeky cheeks!  Of course, I personify them.  They make it so easy to do.

And if you have a better name – I am open…..


Dapper Dabbler

22 Jan

As part of the Ducks in a Row Series (apparently) I had taken this photo of a mallard drake just kind of strutting his stuff among the flock.  He has a look of pride that I found to be irresistible.  A Mr Look at Me Now –kind of duck strut.  Standing tall and proud.


What I found to be quite amusing was settling on a title for this  – Do the Duck Strut, Dapper Drake, Mr Handsome, Duck Strut, Dapper Drake Dabbler.

Mallards are a dabbler ducks after all!

And here is likely why I love ducks.  My Mother used to sign this song to me as a child… and I have sung it with my children!  Very happy memories… my daughters added the quacking 🙂

Little ducky dawdle

Went wading in a puddle

Went wading in a puddle so small – says he it does not matter

How much I splash and splatter

For I’m just a duckie after all

Quack quack

Green With Envy – WIP Complete

21 Oct

I have reached the nearly finished stage of this painting.  I will stare at it and scrutinize it for a few days to see if I feel the need to go back in and color balance or make any adjustments at this time.

The amount of work on this painting reminds me a lot of a previous transparent watercolor piece “Raindrops on Sedum” (below) in terms of complexity.  This painting won Best in Show at the CSPWC S’s For the Love of Art  Associate Show in Halifax in 2006.  Both of these paintings had a false start.  I had them drawn out, started painting them and decided to abandon the first drawing and start over.  Phew, thank  goodness I do not get that urge too often!

Little Flame – Pom Pom Dahlia

2 Sep

This watercolor started out a s a demo painting for a workshop I led earlier in this year.  I really liked the way the painting was shaping up and decided to finally complete the work!  Once I worked around the floral shapes, I went back in with brighter bits of yellow washes and then intensified the darks.  Both my daughters love the colours in this one!

The unframed dimensions are 11.5″ x 12.5″.  This painting is available and may be purchased by following this link to my website



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 :).


31 May

Thinking this may be the last of the least for awhile. I am looking forward to more colors.  This is starting to get a bit on the rather spooky side… can only get worse unless I take a break.

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Didn’t See Nuthin’

28 May

The very sound of the word crow conjures up a myriad of emotions within us – from contempt to outright dislike with awe somewhere is the mix.  We seldom start with awe.  And yet, crows are fascinating and highly intelligent ( link to David Suzuki Murder of  crows)

They are somewhat paintable (is this even a word?) as well.  Mostly seen as a silhouette against the as they are sooo black. But up close there are hints of iridescence with muted mauves and blues – if you can get up close, they are timid – need a really long lens.

So, I was thinking there is a series in painting crows.  Thinking the next and third painting will be a solitary crow.

Mentioned this to my friend Donna Snyder  and she said “oh no, one crow sorrow”.  Huh?  She then recited a poem about counting crows.  We then proceeded to search for this nursery rhyme on-line…

One for sorrow , Two for joy,Three for a girl,Four for a boy.Five for silver,Six for gold,Seven for a secret; never to be told.Eight for a wish,Nine for a kiss, Ten for a time of joyous bliss.

Then we thought – great idea for a series of paintings to mirror the nursery rhyme.  However I am not really sure how many crow paintings I have in me.  I have paintings two paintings complete one with two and another with five crows – leaves too many more painting to be completed to match the poem.

And yet, somehow I think there may a poured painting in the mix

And with the cerulean love hate relationship thing – I am unsure of how may skies I want to lose sleep over!

Until next time…

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Cerulean Blue – my love hate relationship

23 May

There is nothing simple about Cerulean or caerulean blue.  You can even spell it two ways!

True, it is a desirable colour as it is the colour of a Maritime sky in the spring – how poetic.  Just looking at my  Arches bright white 300lb paper I can “see” how the sky will look. I know in my mind which pigments to mix to get the perfect color.  And the dominant color blue – cerulean of course!

Although in the back of my mind I felt an inkling of caution I choose to completely ignore it.  You know, the little voice you sometimes hear. And as I lovingly applied the first large wash.  I still ignored the inkling.

As the paint started to dry, I remembered. I remember what completely frustrates me about the lovely cerulean.  It granulates as it dries.  Great for a knit sweater or for a cloudy or a foggy sky.  But not for the true blue Maritime sky in the spring with not a whisper of a cloud.

And so, what did I do?  Why I applied another wash of course.  And you know what it did?  Yep, it granulated.  So you know what I did?  Turned the paper sideways and did it again – thought I could somehow swith the grain. And you know what it did…. (insert definition of insanity here…“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
― Albert Einstein)

So five washes later.  To the point where I was not waiting for it to completely dry and well, the paper puckered and the effect was more pronounced… and some of teh paint started to lift and still I was not about to give up.

I figured our how to fix it.  I used a bit of cobalt blue, cerulean blue and transparent acrylic mixing white! And I think I fixed it. The last wash evened out the tone and I feel ok to move forward… more to follow soon….

I am not a quitter!


Mysterious Murder of Crows!

18 May

While on my recent trip to Vancouver to visit my beautiful daughter Jenn (aka Foodess) we went walking almost every day with Oliver.  Pretty intriguing how every day at suppertime, the trees were full of crows… fascinating and creepy as well.   Well, the intriguing part won me over and I kept taking photos of them.  Jenn thought I was nuts!

More on the crows – apparently every night at sundown they fly to Burnaby – no kidding – weird or what!

Anyway, I see a series in this….

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