About Me

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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, August 27, 2011


Where we played as children in Ireland, Martello Tower

During our recent road trip we had lots of time for conversation and reminiscing.  A topic we spoke of was our Mentors, who were those special people who appeared in our lives and were our guardian angels.  We spoke of those outside our immediate family.

This is where we headed each morning to play as children - the marker is referred to as an Irish Mile Stone

Without a doubt, my Aunt Helen  (Glynn)Ryan was my first mentor.  She was born in **"Cluainin" Aughnish, Kinvara, Co. Galway Ireland in 1905, one of 8 children, my father being the baby of the family.

Helen Tilston and Helen Ryan on my wedding day 1981

Where we played as children. Seals would rest here and we used give them names

The two Helen's on my wedding day

Three of her siblings died from meningitis c 1918.  At the age of 18, with her sister Beatrice they sailed to New York.    She married, had three sons  and lived in a charming cottage with a 2 acre garden on Long Island.  An avid gardiner, roses being her specialty. During visits to Ireland she would always pocket some seeds but never managed  to grow shamrocks. In her garden was a grotto beneath an oak tree.

She was a baker, cook, knitter, sewer, crafter, painter and designer.  Once I could write she became my pen friend (my father used say they gave me her name and it was a big honour and a blessing to get someone's name). The letters would arrived with the beautiful American postage stamps, which I saved in my *didie box.  As an adult and living in North America, I visited Aunt Helen at least 4 times a year. She had integrity.  Her day was meticiously planned.  Up at 5 a.m.  Tea and a light breakfast. A one mile walk to 7 a.m. daily mass  then her daily chores of housework, gardening and planning. From 3 p.m daily she worked in her studio or sunroom.
Minton Persian Rose patterened china

  Her china was Minton Persian Rose.She was a Matriarch and, loving to entertain, she had a 24- place setting of Persian Rose china. What was most remarkable and memorable was the rug in her dining room (9 x 12 ) which she designed and needlepointed in the pattern of her Minton Persian Rose.  Aunt Helen was disciplined and looked stern, yet she loved to hear witty stories and loved music. She lived her life by example.  She had no need to criticize nor judge others.
At her funeral many came up and told how she had touched their lives. Many had learned from her. She taught me needlepoint and the hours drifted by as we engaged in our art.

*a didie box is a box a young girl employed to keep her most important treasures, ribbons, shells and buttons for me*
**"Cluainin** was the name of our farm, my father being the surviving male inherited the farm and it was there I was born.  On our farm was the Martello Tower pictured above and this is where we played as children.  Today it is used as a weekend retreat.

Who were your mentors?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Travelling in the USA

Travelling in the USA

Final day of plein aire painting with Mary Rose and Violetta for a little while
We drove through Georgia and are now in South Carolina  and yes the clay in a red colour.
 Gardenia trees are in bloom

We  on a long car (motor) trip through 10 states and  are amused by the  bumper stickers, which seem to be making a comeback.
Here are some which provided us with a giggle.

Your mother chose Pro Life

I have kleptomania but when it gets bad, I take something for it.

Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake

Do you enjoy road trips?   Have you seen any good bumper stickets lately?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Outward Bound

Hope you are having a beautiful weekend.

The magazine interview and photo shoot went really well.  Working with professional artists such as writers and photographers is very special.  I will post the link to the magazine once published. Thank you for all your comments last week, it all helped.

Here at beautiful Indian Rocks Beach, the weather is glorious.  We are headed to the beach and then a trip by boat, outward bound! This beautiful song by Nana Mouskouri will be sung by us

Helen Tilston paiting at Indian Rocks Beach
Wishing you the joys of summer

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action,Pose and Paint

Self portrait Helen Tilston

I am winging my way to the Gulf of Mexico with a destintation ticket to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida.
Indian Rocks Beach is part of the barrier islands linked to the mainland by a bridge.  It is a jewel nestled among palms and live oaks and still unspoiled.  The poem in a small way conveys my feelings for this little place which has a heart full of love and residents who care.
Meet me at Indian Rocks Beach original by Helen Tilston

The sea of love

Indian Rocks Beach has been blessed from above
and to our west is "the sea of love"

From day break till the stars shine bright
our beach welcomes all in her sight

and should your heart feel pain and, perhaps you are somewhat weary,
you know it is all right to get a little teary

but, please build a castle or a mermaid of sand
and soon you'll feel peace and healing from this special land

The butterfly in your tummy which is forever muttering
soon joins a flock of butterflies playfully fluttering

Playful dolphins frolic and play
while young lovers whisper, dance and sway

And this my dearest friends is our treasure trove
so let's all bathe in the sea of love.
(Poem composed by Helen Tilston March, 2011)

The Editor of a major, luxury magazine called  this week and has been following our artistic journey.  The Plein Aire Cottage Artists,  (3 Members:Mary Rose Holmes and Violetta Chandler and
Helen Tilston) are being featured in September/October issue of their magazine and the photo shoot is this Monday.

At times like this when I am nervous I hear my father's words echoing "keep your mouth shut, your ears open and look intelligent"  

Violetta, Mary Rose and Helen painting a triptych
Elegant Lady by Helen Tilston

One of my favourite spots at Indian Rocks Beach photo by Helen Tilston
Any tips on how to pose? what to wear?  

Island in the Sun, Harry Belafonte