Sheila G Ticen

Thoughts about painting and places to see my work

Dahlia, Party of Five


“Dahlia, Party of Five”, Oil on Gessobord, 8″ x 8″

Once again, I couldn’t resist the blooms from the Aztec Dahlias booth at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market.  Their intense colors and exuberant forms were just too delightful to resist.  Omar, who is one of the owners of the farm, was running the booth that day and was, as always, very friendly and helpful.

I decided that using a variety of containers for the flowers would give me more compositional options than putting them all into one vase.  It was also more fun to paint.  It took me a moment before I could bring myself to lop the stems as short as I needed them to be, hoping that my idea would look as good in reality as it did in my head.  Next,  I went digging through my paper collection, pulling out the pieces that really popped with the colors in the flowers.  An old paper shopping bag even made it into this setup.

Here’s a studio shot that shows my palette (a rolling kitchen cart from Home Depot) with glass over the butcher block top), easel and still life box.  I find that wooden wine boxes come in handy, using them as mini-pedestals and to adjust the height of my setup.   As you can see, the lights are fairly intense, which means I have to paint quickly before the heat ruins the flowers.  I like that added bit of motivation to keep me from getting too caught up in the details.

Click here if you’d like to purchase this painting.

You can join my email list, here, to receive notification of upcoming shows.



View from Artesa

243_View from Artesa_web

“View from Artesa”, oil on Gessobord, 6″ x 6″

My friend, Carol, and I arrived at Artesa Vineyards & Winery this day just as the morning fog over the vineyards was burning off, gradually revealing the view out to the San Pablo Bay.  I wanted to capture the larger shapes of the landscape rather than the details of buildings, roads or grapevines.  My favorite part of this painting is the line of trees at the pond’s edge, which I deliberately kept simple.

Click here if you’d like to purchase this painting.




Cherry on Top

231_Cherry On Top_web

“Cherry on Top”, oil on gessobord, 6″ x 6″ (sold)

As spring turns to summer each year I look forward to bringing home bags of sweet, dark cherries.  I must have had them on my mind one night as I drifted off to sleep and the idea for this painting came to me.  Ah, cherries, one of the simple delights of summer!

All Dressed Up

I found these beauties at the farmers’ market in Saint Helena and carried them home to paint.  The light on my still life set up box generates a fair amount of heat, which is actually good because it motivates me to work quickly to capture my subject at its peak.



“All Dressed Up”, oil on panel, 10″ x 10″, SOLD



“Chosen”, oil on linen panel, 11″ x 14″, © Sheila G. Ticen

I liked the contrast between this Bok Choy’s pale, curved, glistening stalks and its deeply ruffled and veined foliage.  I focused on painting fast and kept a spray bottle handy to mist the stems and leaves often.  The challenge of capturing this before it faded was a reminder of how quickly one’s own life can change or end.

Click here if you’d like to purchase this painting.

What is it About Pears?


“Affinity”, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″, © Sheila G. Ticen

For some reason, whenever I set up a still life with more than one pear in it, their forms seem to take on anthropomorphic qualities.  I like that about them.  It makes them fun to paint.  I think the one on the left here has a serious crush on the other one.


“Spiffy Dudes”, oil on cradled wood panel, 12″ x 24″, © Sheila G. Ticen

A few months ago I received an email from another local painter, Lin Weber, asking whether I’d be interested in joining her in helping the St. Helena Historical Society with their first-ever art auction fundraiser.  She told me about their idea of selecting old photos from their collection and asking artists to create work based on the historic photos.

I thought it sounded like a fun project, so I met with several of the board members to discuss the idea and see the photos they had chosen.  As soon as I saw the photo of these characters I was sold on the project.  The original photo was in aged black and white, well – more like charcoal and ivory.  A quilt that I had seen at an art show in the Marin Civic Center (and with which I was quite taken) became my color inspiration for this painting.

You can learn more about the St. Helena Historical Society here.

Napa Basalt


“Napa Basalt”, oil on panel, 6″ x 8″ © Sheila G. Ticen

I painted this back in June on location at an old gravel processing plant in Napa, California.  The complexity of the structures was daunting at first.  However, once I started the painting, I enjoyed the challenge of simplifying the subject while staying true to the feeling of the scene before me.

Cooling It

0200_Something Nice

“Something Nice”, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″, by Sheila G. Ticen


It’s toasty here in the Napa Valley today.  When I checked our outdoor thermometer a few minutes ago it read 103 degrees.  Like I said, folks, toasty.  With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to share some paintings and photos from recent outings on cooler days.

The painting above, “Something Nice,” is one that I started during the Tom Hughes workshop I took back in April.  I had been standing in the sun for hours, and had finally finished my first painting, but it was a bit early to just pack it in for the day.  So I set up my easel, in the shade this time, and got a good start on painting this little shrub.  I liked how it stood out from the darker and larger trees behind it.  A few days ago I pulled it out and finished it up, just working from memory.  I thought about calling it “Something Nice, Not too Expensive”, but what self-respecting Monty Python fan needs to have the whole line fed to them in order to get the reference?

0199_The Green Woods

“The Green Woods”, oil on panel, 8″ x 6″, by Sheila G. Ticen


“The Green Woods” (above) was painted on location in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, near my home.  My friend and fellow painter, Carol Dick, and I hiked out and found a nice cool spot along Ritchie Creek in which to paint and enjoy our sack lunches.  The color of the light coming through all those leaves was gorgeous, and the sound of the nearby creek so relaxing.  The title for this one came from a snippet of lyric from an old song that my mom used to like to sing while hiking in the woods.

Hope you’re staying cool today!


Carol painting along Ritchie Creek



Sunlight through the trees, one of the photos I shot while painting at Bothe State Park.



Reflected light on Ritchie Creek.




“Handful”, 8″ x 8″, oil on panel, © Sheila G. Ticen

I’ve been spending a good bit of time in the garden lately and have been enjoying it quite a bit.  There’s nothing like getting some new plants into the ground to cheer the place up.  Here’s a little handful of flowers from my back yard.