Getting to know Helen Shideler

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How do you work?

With music and dancing!  But seriously, I love realism.  No matter what medium I am working in or how I choose to approach my subject or develop my work – it always comes back to selecting the important details.  I approach my work as if I am sculpting with paint.

What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?

So many memories that I love. How much I love the feeling of the sun! Being inquisitive.  The smell of the ocean.  The sound of the trembling aspens dancing with the gently breezes when sitting right under them.  The colour of wild flax flowers. Did I mention the ocean?

Maritime Blues by Helen Shideler

Why art?

I really think because it choose me.  In a difficult time it became my therapy by allowing me to focus on something other than the situation I was coping with.  Then it became an outlet to look at the situation head on and paint all about it.  I have never looked back.  Art is my outlet.  Have never stopped.  It’s been 30+ years.  I will never stop.

What do you dislike about your work?

Most of my paintings go through an “ugly” stage.  I am particularly hard on myself when looking at the painting during this time.  I often wish I could paint looser with bold deliberate strokes.  I have tried a looser approach and then go back in and paint over it.  It’s all about what I like to call “painterly realism” with me.

What do you like about your work?

Mostly the feeling of accomplishment when I am signing a piece.  Sometimes, when I see a piece that I have not seen for awhile, I stop and look at it – I am always surprised how much they will pull me in.  I remember almost every stroke and how I felt paining it.

Tender Blues
Tender Blues

Professionally, what’s your goal?

To do the best I can possibly do!  I love to work in series.  This is where I feel I learn the most about my subject and will often explore similar ideas in various mediums. 

What wouldn’t you do without?

An eraser ha ha. 

But seriously with poured watercolour – my rubber cement pickup; with traditional water-colours – good brushes; acrylics – patience, I kid you not! Oh and my good fine mist spray bottle; oils – gloves, honestly I get paint all over me!

Borscht Anyone
Borscht Anyone

Helen is stop # 6 on the tour

To learn more about Helen CLICK

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