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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tree Poeny Historic Cottage Painting

Tree Poeny in Bloom
Spring in Toronto is late this year.  Lots of Spring showers have delayed blossoms.

My friend Mary owns this beautiful historic cottage on St. Nicholas Street.  The cottage is c 1850. The street is in the heart of Toronto. Some of the owners of these cottages have chosen to paint the brick, some have sandblasted and left the brick natural.  The material used for the road is red brick.  This street is absolutely spectacular during the Christmas season, particularly when there is a fresh carpet of snow.

My friend Mary's home is painted in a soft white with undertones of blue gray.  Her garden has  2  Tree Peonies which Mary planted, one is a stunning pink and the second is in shades of white and lilac. The tree poeny is native to the mountain region in Northern China. The flowers bloom for approximately one week.  Heavy rain can wash the flowers away and one must wait a further twelve months to enjoy it.  The scent is delicate and difffers from poenies. There is a locust tree framing the cottage.   Mary phoned me on Tuesday evening to relate that there were eighteen buds on her tree and they should be popping soon, quite possibly on Wednesday morning and she feared the worst as the weather forecast was very dismal.  I checked the weather forecast on Wednesday  and showers with sunny intervals were promised.

My subject or motif - don't you love it?
Blocking in the beginning of the painting which is 12 x 24"
On Wednesday I set up my easel in the afternoon at around 2.00 p.m.  There was sunshine and excellent shadows.   I blocked in the colours and shapes.   By 4:00 p.m. it was bitterly cold so I packed up and went home.

Thursday:  Rain, Rain and Thunder storms

Friday:  Rain, mist, drizzle the entire day

Saturday morning:  mist, drizzle and overcast

At 2:00 o'clock on Saturday, the sun began to peek through the clouds.  I quickly loaded up my French easel and returned to St. Nicholas Street.   I think the angels were with me, for as soon as I opened my easel the sun came out and there were wonderful shadows and reflected light.

   Lots of Saturday shoppers stopped to say hello.

At 4:00 p.m. Spice Girl (our dog) and Mike stopped by and brought me a cappucino.  Bliss
The temperature was dropping and I know I can complete this in my studio  

Your comments are heartily welcomed.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Queen's visit to Ireland this past week

Listening to the Ocean Original oil on canvas by Helen Tilston
I found the video of the Queen and Aras an Uachtaireann(Dr. McAleese) laying the wreaths in "The Garden of Remembrance" the most significant and poignant part of Her visit to Ireland.  The Garden of Remembrance is located right across from Parnell Tech (Dublin) and I went there often, before school, as I would get a ride with Bertie, my brother,  to Dublin and had an hour to spare before classes.  It memorializes the brutal killing of the young Irish men who lost their lives in the early days of Ireland's independence (1916 Rising).

I found this to be particularly emotional. I shed a tear and composed this short poem.

Here is my poem composed on Wednesday May 18th, 20111

Her Majesty Visits the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin May 2011

So much blood and so many tears
have been shed through the years

Today we stare in awe
but feelings are still quite raw

Hearts maimed, battered and broken
children felt what our parents left unspoken.

We speak a language that the stranger does not know
then how can they understand us.

Tread softy Your Majesty as you meet and greet
St. Patrick and the shamrock will guide your sacred feet
of is it (feat, fete)
Our Lady of Sorrows by Helen Tilston, original oil on canvas
Slan abhaile your Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth 11 and until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Comments are very welcome

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Original Paintings, Original Cushions, Fresh Flowers and company

When asked to describe the difference between a craftsperson and an artist, a friend answered as follows:
A labourer works with her hands
A craftsperson works with her hands and her head
An artist works with her hands, her head and her heart.

On Thursday, I entertained a group of long time girlfriends at our home.    It is curious how people are drawn to items which are handmade with love (they definitely contain an energy that seems to attract)  This corner was sought out.  The painting is "Saturday Morning" original in oil on canvas, painted by Helen Tilston -this was juried and hung at the Florence Biennale, at the Fortessa di Bassa in Firenze Italy. The vase is Waterford crystal(hand blown crystal) a wedding gift from my late mother, the tulips and delphiniums are from the corner store. The lamp is a family antique (an old soda spritzer converted to a lamp by my late Father in law, Fred Tilston) John Rocha candlesticks(Irish designer who created a line of crystal for waterford) The cushions are hand sewn silk, stuffed with down. The red pillow has a tapestry superimposed and has two types of gold braiding also hand sewn.

As a toddler I learned to knit from my grandmother in Ireland.  She was a designer. Through osmosis I must have picked up her talent as I found in later years I could design any style or shape in knitwear. This passion developed and I pursued a career in knitwear design.  My knitwear was all hand knitted.  I have an aversion to knitting machines and this applies to sewing machine too.  It must be the noise the machine makes.  I also have a passion for hand sewing on fine linen, silks, lace and luxury fabrics. (also beading)
My new wing back chair, awaiting ottoman - store bought pillow, the seascape is my first oil painting. The portrait is by B.Bull, in watercolour

I have a selection of hand sewn, down filled silk cushions and tapestry cushions. (I have two cushions which are store bought- one is on my new chair, the other is used as a cushion for Mike's lap-top )

I know, I know I should be in my studio painting.  When in Italy over a year ago, I started a painting in Tuscany which is still in early stages, I have sketches and photos as reference and am looking forward to being transported back to the back road somewhere between Lucca and Greve in Chianti.
quick study blocked in on a 12 x 12 canvas

I served seafood lasagna, salad and lemon pie and wine both red and white.

The last of the revellers departed at midnight.

Your comments are heartily welcome.