Sunday, February 19, 2012

Painting for a young girl

She is twelve years of age.  Soon she will leave the private school she has attended all her young life. Her parents are collectors of original art.
They  asked her what she wanted for her birthday.. She replied:   "A painting by Helen Tilston of my school".   The school is situated on fifteen acres.  There are stables. Horseback in both English and Western style riding lessons are offered. There is a barn, with cows, calves, sheep lambs, goats,kids, a donkey and a pot bellied pig
Student taking lesson

As an artist we rarely find a perfect composition and at times buildings, trees and objects must be moved to make for a better composition.
This is the actual riding stables.  On the left is the tack shed, which is a pre-fab.  We decided to substitute the cracker style barn for the tack shed

As with all schools, security is tight and special permission was granted to me to paint on the grounds of the school. I was given a large name tag to wear.


I set up my French Easel and began blocking in my image.  Suddenly I heard a little voice say:
 "Miss X.. she is here, look, look she is here". 
 The teacher came around the corner, followed by twelve students all aged about  8 yrs of age and said: "Can I ask who you are and what are you doing" ( I introduced myself.  She looked shocked and said.) "We have just read (I did not get the name of the book)............and the protagonist in the story goes around sketching continually and I have also just been talking to my students about Monet and the French Impressionists.  We studied his Cap D'Antibes  painting.  Then seeing you here,  it is as though we are seeing a vision".

I continued to the stables and worked on my compostition.  The rain came and I had to take shelter and call it a day.  My work thus far.  I shall return to the school for at least one more painting session and hopefully meet some more joyful teachers and students and hear more stories.

Roughed in sketch of barn with Elvis in his stall by Helen Tilston
Do you know the name of the children's book the teacher is referring to?  Do you cherish memories of your school?

86 comments:

  1. Hello Helen, What a lovely request from that young girl! How I wish I had a painting that captured the spirit of my first much-loved school. Please do continue to tell us of the painting's progress. I'm sorry I can't immediately think of the book but will keep on trying! Jane xx

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  2. It's a charming story, Helen, and what responsibility! Just you think: that little girl will treasure your painting, as it will enclose, like in a time capsule, a slice of her life, when she was twelve. What a wonderful gift!

    Helen, maybe you should ask the teacher about the title of the book she mentioned. I'm sure she would let you know!

    Thank you for a lovely, charming story. Hope you get to finish the painting, soon.

    I love your work!


    Hugs

    ANNA

    xxx

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  3. Jane The Booklady

    Hello Jane.

    I have a great fondness for my first school and when I return to Ireland I make a special pilgrimage to that spot. It is still a magical spot, a tiny hamlet with just the school, church and graveyard.
    Let me know if you think of the book's name.

    Have a great week Jane

    Helen xx

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  4. Hello Anna

    Funny Anna, I do not think of it as a responsibility, perhaps I should. I give it my best and hope I capture the essence of this magical school.
    Anna you know the teacher did tell the name of the book but as you know artists are in their right brain and the name escaped me. It was an unfamiliar book. I will ask if I see this teacher again. There are many classrooms. I will keep you posted on the title (maybe it will become a best-seller) hee hee
    I will keep you updated on my progress. It is good for the dark colours and underpainting to dry, before putting the highlights and magic.

    Thanks Anna for visiting and heres to a great week

    Helen xx

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  5. Hallo

    What a lovely story, Helen! Looking forward to your further post on the painting's progress!
    I too have a great fondness for my first school where many cherry trees bloom beautifully in April.
    I read your former post and was really enchanted by it. Though the painting in it looks incomplete, it gives me delight!! really beautiful!

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  6. What a wonderful gift she has chosen, something to treasure for the rest of her life.

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  7. Dear Helen - what a lovely commission and compliment to receive such a delightful request.
    The little girl has obviously been brought up to have an appreciation and love of art which is lovely to hear about in one so young.
    I cannot recall the book, but will ask my son, an artist, if he knows of it.

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  8. Helen, I cannot wait to see the finished painting. How wonderful to be selected by a child. It is quite a compliment. I will try to find the book you are talking about. It sounds wonderful. Hugs, Bonnie

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  9. Yes, I remember well my first school. But there were neither horses nor cows and no riding lessons. But I have loved the school anyway ...

    I wish I had a picture of my first school ... hat a wonderful gift the little girl has chosen!

    Hugs
    Tine

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  10. What a wonderful compliment Helen, for you to paint the little girl's school. She will have that always to remember the school and her young life..a treasure.
    Can't wait to see the finished painting.. its looking good.
    Please tell us when you find out the name of the book.
    Happy painting days
    val x xxx

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  11. What a discerning young girl! I'm sure she will treasure your painting for many years and associate it with a very happy time in her life. The school sounds wonderful: a world in itself, a child's idyll.

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  12. Hello Sapphire

    How lovely to hear about your fond memories of your childhood school and the cherry blossom blooms evoke such a beautiful image.
    Thank you for your compliment on my painting. I shall return this week and paint some more.
    Wishing you a week of joy

    Helen xx

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  13. Lindy Lou Mac

    Hello Lindy.

    She is a beautiful young lady who knows what she likes.
    Thanks for stopping by

    Helen xx

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  14. Hello Rosemary

    This is my youngest client. Her parents have an interesting collection of original art. Most pieces hold specific meaning to them.
    They have a few pieces of my art in their home, which was commissioned. I hope she will be pleased with my vision.

    I will be pleased to hear if your son knows the book, it is likely a children's book, as the students were young.
    Helenx

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  15. Hi Bonnie

    Yes, I am thrilled to be selected to paint her school and I hope I meet up to her expectations. I will be very pleased to find the title of the book.
    Thanks for visiting
    Helen xx

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  16. White Life

    Hello Tine

    How wonderful that you have such great memories of your first school. I did not have animals in my school either, except for the odd mouse!! hee hee.
    I hope to get back out painting this week.

    Wishing you a week full of joy
    Helen xx

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  17. Val's Alentejo blog

    Hello Valerie

    You are so kind always in your support of my art.

    I hope my painting lives up to her expectations.

    Hope you have a wonderful week
    See you in blogtopia
    Helen xx

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  18. Hello Mise

    Thank you for your continued support and kindness. I do hope my work meet her expectations.
    Yes, the school is idyllic and I was most impressed by the manners and attitude of the students. As I drove away, I said "the world will be all the more special when these fine young scholars take over". I feel very hopeful.

    Helen xx

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  19. You have an interesting project! To be honest, I´d almost settle with the painting as it is now, as I like an unfinished feel in a painting. And yes, she surly enjoys to have a picture of the stables, as so many girls are interested in horses.

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  20. What a lovely idea for a present - the young lady in question must be very fond of her school as well as being a great admirer of your work!
    It looks as though it will be a fine painting,and will be such a wonderful reminder to her always of her happy school days.
    Sorry I can't think what the book might be.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished painting!

    Thankyou for your lovely comment on my blog.

    Gill xx

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  21. So much fun to see your blocked-in start to something that will contain great meaning for that little school girl. You're creating an icon for her life.

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  22. A lovely story! Thank you for following my blog! Delighted to be a new follower of yours:)
    ~Anne

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  23. What a lovely story Helen and beautiful present!

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

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  24. What a charming story...adore that you are painting her school and what wonderful memories this will hold for her. Can't wait to see the finished piece!!

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  25. As others have said, it's such a charming story, Helen,and a true honor to be chosen by the girl. It sounds like a wonderful school, teaching all the Good Things!!! When I was a little girl I came upon an artist painting on a rock in a stream. I will forever remember the joy that I found in seeing her bring a picture to life with paint and brush. Just think, the sight of you with your French easel, memorializing the school, may just stick in one of those girls minds and lead her into a life of art!
    Thanks for your visit to my Venice shots. I would love to see your paintings of those locations!
    As for the book, all that comes to mind is "Linnea in Monet's garden", but I doubt if that's it. Now I'm curious...
    xx
    dawne

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  26. Metscan

    Hello Mette

    I hope you are feeling better and able to tend to your horses.
    Yes many young girls share a passion for horses and my brothers did also (one was a jockey). I understand what you mean when you say you like to see the underpainting (I share this love, in particular with portrait painting). I will try and not overwork it.
    Thanks for your visit

    Helen xx

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  27. Gillyflower

    Hello Gill

    Yes the young lady is so proud of her school. When she first walked me through, she could hardly contain herself. She wanted me to see every corner and animal and meet her friends. Her enthusiasm was powerful.
    I am looking forward to returning this week.
    Thanks for your interest and comments

    Helen x

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  28. Hello Becky

    The young lady is artistic and her parents have been taking her to my art shows over the years. She is also gifted in the sciences.

    I hope my painting captures the essence of her school. I thank you for your support

    Helenxx

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  29. Hello Anne

    A warm welcome to my blog and thank you for following.

    I am looking forward to knowing you through your blog.

    Helen xx

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  30. Hello Madelief

    Thank you for visiting. It was a great day and I look forward to returning this week. We have a cool spell here and I want to make sure I return on a day when it is sunny and the shadows and light are in keeping with Florida.

    Have a wonderful week

    Helen xx

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  31. designnchic

    Thank you for visiting and I hope you have a wonderful get away.

    I am very much looking forward to returning to the school and painting.
    Watching the children interact with the animals is heart warming.

    Helen xx

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  32. Dawne Boynton Polis

    Hello Dawne

    Thank you for your kind comments.
    What a beautiful memory you have of the artist painting the rock.
    There are other scenes at the school which call me too. Some places have a magnetism. Like Venice, I love your images and you bring a romance to your art. That is a good idea I shall go through my pictures and perhaps do a post on Venice and painting. I have some good memories and stories of Vce, as I am sure you also have.
    Wishing you a great week and it is always a joy when you visit.

    Helen xx

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  33. Helen,
    I love this story...it's so wonderful that this young lady has asked for a painting of her school. What a well brought up young lady. My son, also 12 has been exposed to art, music, literature, travel and yet I fear he may wish for a commissioned painting of his hometown baseball park rather than his school. I hope you'll share your progress and also the title of the book to which you are referring.
    xo
    annie

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  34. Helen, you were meant to be there at that precise moment, it's as if it was planned! You helped in the process of inspiring those young students even more so towards art, you were part of their lessons...how wonderful, I love seeing God at work!
    Such a unique and special experience will stay with them forever, as will the painting you're creating for the young girl, she will cherish it always.
    I went to a private school until the fifth grade and it holds a very special place in my heart, more so than any other.
    Blessings...
    xo J~

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  35. Dear Helen - I saw my son yesterday, and the only books he could think of was the series done by Laurence Anholt. There is Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail, Degas and the Little Dancer, The Magical Garden of Claude Monet, and Camille and the Sunflowers. There are two more in the series on Matisse, and Leonardo!!!

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  36. Dear Helen, thank you for visiting Hampton Hostess today! I'm so glad you like my blog and I'm delighted to have found you too! Your work is stunning--and how wonderful that a young girl wanted to remember her school in such a special way. Have a lovely day, Barbara

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  37. Helen,

    How sweet. When you live with an open HeART the world gathers around you to hear you speak and watch what you create. It is music the the ears of many. What a wonderful experience...magic is everywhere we seek to learn more.

    Bette

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  38. Preciosa historia. Un abrazo. Manoli

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  39. What a wonderful story, and how lovely that this young lady wanted a treasure painted by you to remember her school. What a treasure. It's coming along beautifully - I hope you will share the final results with us!
    PS - I don't think I know that book, but it sounds like one that I would love!

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  40. Hello Annie

    It is indeed rewarding to be asked to paint a picture of this child's school.

    Like you son's school, this also educates on a broader scope of subjects. I was particularly impressed by the manners and speech of the children I met.

    I will post the picture when complete. I plan on returning next week to paint. This week I have some portrait deadlines.

    Incidentally, today I found out the name of the book they are planning to read and it is
    "Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff.
    Thank you for your kind comments

    Helen

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  41. 24 Corners

    Hello Jessica

    How great that you have fond memories of your private school education.

    The young woman has sophisticated taste and has been taken to many galleries and museums by her parents.

    I am so thrilled to have been able to find out the name of the book they plan on studying
    The name of the book is "Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff. As a teacher of art, you are likely familiar with it.

    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

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  42. Hello Rosemary

    Thank you kindly for engaging your son in determining the name of the book. Those all sound very interesting and I shall put them on my list.

    I just found out that the book they plan on studying is
    "Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff. I believe there was a movie made from this book too.

    Have a great week

    Helen xx

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  43. Hampton Hostess

    Hello Barbara

    A big warm welcome to my blog and thank you for following.Thank you for complimenting my art. I am indeed flattered that the young woman commissioned me to paint her school. I am having so much fun.

    Looking forward to knowing you

    Helenxx

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  44. Ideezine

    Hello Bette and thank you for visiting. How beautifully your words"
    "When you live with an open HeART the world gathers around you to hear you speak and watch what you create. It is music the the ears of many. What a wonderful experience...magic is everywhere we seek to learn more"

    Bette wishing you magic and knowledge always

    Helenxx

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  45. By Nela

    Hello manoli

    Thank you for your beautiful and precious good wishes.

    Wishing you a joyful week

    Helen xx

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  46. I Dream Of

    Many thanks for visiting and for your kind words.

    The book is:

    Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff.

    The particular class were Grade 4 approximately age bettwe 8-10 yrs.

    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

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  47. This is a lovely story Helen! So cool too that the students of the school saw you and got to have a chat. I have good memories of some of my schhool but certainly not all.

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  48. Hello Helen you 'Vision' you! tee hee You do get about don't you. I think it's wonderful that the girl of 12 asked for a painting for her birthday, she is starting her collection early.
    I don't know the name of the book ..sorry.
    The last 3 years of my school life were spent at boarding school in England. I didn't particularly enjoy the school part, but enjoyed boarding. The school is in a wonderful historic building with landscaped gardens by Capability Brown. I think you would have liked to paint there Helen. Have a lovely weekend, with love, Linda x

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  49. What a LUCKY girl to be getting one of your paintings!

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  50. Rabbit Town Annimator

    Thanks for the visit.

    I am happy to hear you have some fond memories of school.

    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

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  51. Flowers at My Table
    Hello Linda

    Your boarding school sounds wonderful. Imagine engaging such famous landscape gardener. Life is fun and particularly plein air painting, something always happens that immortalizes the day. I have since contacted the school and there is mention of me in their weekly newsletter. The teacher was preparing the students to read by getting them sketching and also speaking of painters and Monet was the example. The book is
    "Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff.

    Wishing you a great week Linda

    Helenxx

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  52. Looking forward to seeing the completed painting. What a gift for both of you.

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  53. Helen, did you joy in the request? I think it's wonderful!

    I have extremely fond memories of my school days, one in particular -- to the point where I later taught there.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to wish me happiness on my birthday. I appreciated hearing from you.

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  54. S Etole

    Thank you for stopping by. I will return next week and complete the painting. I shall post it following delivery.

    It is a commission I am thoroughly enjoying.
    Helen xx

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  55. Even your roughed in sketch is beautiful. I must admit I am always drawn to sketches, I love their immediacy and passion.
    What do you think of digital paintings? I spotted a painting this week which I love but I think there's something missing, I love the slip slop marks of paint on canvas.

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  56. Hello Tabitha

    Thank you for your kind words of approval on my sketch. I totally agree with you, the excitement and immediacy shows through in a sketch, as it is from life and has the energy.

    I am afraid I do not know of digital art at all.

    As a plein air painter, in my opinion nothing equals the joy of painting from life and being in the great outdoors. I also like painting in the studio from the live model.
    One of my Italian art lecturers once said "Original art, has the artist's energy, love and dna and cannot be replicated in prints or giclees. A giclee is produced from plastic and prevents and blocks the viewer right away - she cannot enter the painting" (said waving the hands frantically and pointing to the surface of the giclee). Perhaps he should be the subject for a future post! he hee

    Helen xx

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  57. Oh Helen,

    NOW YOU SEE, what YOU do is beyond my understanding. I cannot paint worth a lick!!!!!! But what a lovely way to capture a moment that you eye seizes, and desires to share. We all have our gifts and it takes a lifetime for some to find their gifts, but I thank you for coming to visit me while I muse over my own discoveries. THANK YOU and sing YOUR SONG OF LIFE!!!!! Anita

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  58. Hello Helen
    How wonderful for this young girl to have a painting by you. I collected paintings of horses when I was younger, but to have had one especially done just for me was never an option.
    Now, if ever you are in England, there is a stable with a Spotty pony in it just waiting for you to set up your French Easel beside it :)

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am pleased to report that both my mother and Spotty are much better.

    I hope you have a lovely weekend.
    Hugs, Abby xx

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  59. What a BEAUTIFUL story. I was captivated ...until I saw the beginning of your gorgeous painting. It is absolutely lovely. I cannot wait until it is finished. Your work is truly beautiful.
    Have a lovely weekend~
    Lisa Moran

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  60. Dear Helen,
    this is a very beautiful picture!!!
    Hugs
    Yvonne

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  61. Oh what a lovely post! a story to remember in it's own..it is so special that you are part of this little girl's memories..
    love your blog, your work and happy to say I am your newest follower. thank you for visiting me and your kind words.
    greetings from South Africa
    Colette

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  62. Darling Helen,

    GOOD MORNING! I saw your comment about me being featured on that BEAUTIFUL BLOG, and another blogger friend told me the same thing, but I DON'T SEE MY ART THERE! Which piece are you referring to? Because all I see on ZsaZsa's recent post are marvelous photos but none of my art work...hmmmm!

    THANK YOU however, for coming! Anita

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  63. OH HELEN!!! THANK YOU! I actually found it later this morning, but when I first went onto her page, there were only fabulous photos...then I saw your comment on the side bar and clicked then I saw the post....there were two separate posts for Saturday! I WAS SURPRISED! My how that was nice of her to also feature YOU! HAVE A FUN DAY MY DEAR; it is freezing cold here today but with sunshine! Anita

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  64. I love how your paintings are always associated with such beautiful descriptions of the moments.

    Most of my best memories from my school years actually come from my period in boarding school- we had really great teachers and I made truly life-long friendships.

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  65. Whilst I hold nice memories of my education the memories I most cherish are those of my childrens school. Both children attended a private college which specialised in outdoor education and the Arts.
    A very different environment to my schooling and one I know they both feel lucky to have experienced.
    How lovely for this young lady to request you capture her school in a painting.
    xx

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  66. Crowns Castles and Cottages

    Dearest Anita

    You are so kind in your constant encouragement and compliments. Like you said in your own blog recently Anita, we all have gifts and it is a journey at times to find our true gifts. Some are given many gifts and other a few. To kindle the gift into passion is when magic starts to happen.
    Wishing you a week of magic and creativity

    Helen xx

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  67. My Spotty Pony


    Dear Abbey

    Oh thank you my friend for your kind support. I did think of you and Spotty when I was painting the barn with Elvis (the horse). I can think of nothing more pleasant that to hang out with Spotty for a few days and paint and just a little bed of hay in his stall will suffice, I don't need the guest bedroom. Hee Hee

    Happy to heart good health is restored to all.
    To a brilliant week

    Helen xx

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  68. Lisa Moran

    Bilancia Designs

    Hello Lisa

    Welcome to my blog and thank you for following. I am happy to read you approve of my painting thus far. It is so much fun. I am planning on returning this week to complete the painting.
    Wishing you a great week

    Helen xx

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  69. Hello Yvonne

    Thank you for stopping in and your words of encouragement I shall carry with me as I return to another painting session this week

    Helen xx

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  70. Le Brocanteuse

    Hello Colette

    A big warm welcome to my blog and looking forward to knowing you through your blog also. You are my first blogging friend from S. Africa.
    Thank you for your kind comments an I hope my painting brings pleasure to my young client.

    Wishing you a week full of joy
    Helen xx

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  71. Crowns Castles and Cottages

    Hello Anita


    So happy you were able to find the beautiful post on Zsa Zsa Bellagio's blog. She is such a kind and thoughtful woman and what a beautiful surprise.

    Helen xx

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  72. PvdH Journal

    Thank you for the compliment. There is the added bonus of meeting meeting when plein air painting.

    I love your art work and enjoy visiting your blog very much

    Thank you for visiting

    Helen xx

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  73. Red Roses and Crystal

    Dear Annie

    Your children's school sounds fabulous and how interesting. The school where I am painting is a magical place with such a variety of animals and the children have access to them. No doubt many tears have dried up immediately on visiting the animal pens. It is the type of place one want to be.

    Wishing you a great week

    Helenx

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  74. What a sweet story! You must have felt so flattered!!! And deservedly so!
    Stacy

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  75. Dear Helen, this story is very charming and the painting for that young girl looks artful already. It will go along with her all her life, I am sure. Christa

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  76. What a brilliant gift. This will surely be the best present that a 12 year old has ever received. How wonderful that her classmates get to see you work. A wonderful experience for all xx

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  77. Helen, this was a lovely story.
    You told it well. yvonne

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  78. Stacy Curren

    Good Morning Stacy

    Thank you for your visit. I am going to be painting at the school today and the weather looks wonderful here.
    Thanks for your good wishes

    Helenxx

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  79. Emilie's Daughter

    Hello Christa

    Thank you for your generous words. Today I am going back to the school. Wonder what great children I will meet today. The weather looks promising.

    Wishing you a great weekend

    Helenxx

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  80. Hello Ava

    Thank you for your visit and encouragement. I am hoping to see my client and her class mates today - there are many different grades and buildings.

    Wishing you a delightful weekend

    Helen xx

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  81. La Petite Gallery
    Hello Yvonne


    Thank you for visiting. The story just happened on that day and I am looking forward to the follow-up story when I paint again at the school today

    My best for a spectacular weekend

    Helen x

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  82. What a beautiful story Helen.
    Thank you for sharing it here.
    Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend!

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  83. How wonderful and what a nice idea to put an important memory in a painting. I am sure it is going to be great.

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  84. Wow that young lady certainly knows the value of a gift!
    I love this little story... It is precious, thanks for sharing it and please share the gift when it is finished!!!
    Love to you Helen,
    Terri

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  85. Wow that young lady certainly knows the value of a gift!
    I love this little story... It is precious, thanks for sharing it and please share the gift when it is finished!!!
    Love to you Helen,
    Terri

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  86. What a lovely post. Do let us know how the painting progresses!

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