Sheila G Ticen

Thoughts about painting and places to see my work



“Bewitched”, 2016, oil on panel, 8″ x 6″, © Sheila G. Ticen


Knowing there was rain on the way somehow made it easier to cut this rose and bring it indoors to paint.  I liked the intense color of the rose on a light background, but wanted another pop of color to balance it.  After a bit of experimenting, I came up with what looks like a napkin by playing around with pieces of cardstock and strips of white paper.


Ruby Glow

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“Ruby Glow”, 2016, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″, © Sheila G. Ticen


This painting was a good reminder of how important it is to step back from the work.  I had it done, or nearly done, when my husband invited me to join him and our dog for our daily walk.  Something had been nagging at me as I worked, but I had pushed it aside in my focus on completing the painting.  As soon as I stepped back into the studio after our walk, the problem was readily apparent.    One of the nice things about working small and fast is that it is much easier to simply pick up my wipe out tool and scrape off the problem area while the paint is still wet, which is just what I did.  I then quickly blocked in my changes and followed up the next day with the finishing touches.

Cool Ones

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“Cool Ones”, 2016, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″, © Sheila G. Ticen

The shapes and colors of these onions caught my eye.  Bigger than salad onions, these were labeled “Mexican Grilling Onions”.  I’ll have to actually cook with some one of these days, but meanwhile I’m enjoying all these blues and greens together.

Parts of a Whole

I liked how the pieces of this lime gave me a variety of shapes to play with.  Instead of a white plate, I chose a glass dessert plate which had belonged to my husband’s mother.

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“Parts of a Whole”, oil on panel, 5″ x 7″, © Sheila G. Ticen


Just a Glimpse

After hiking for an hour or so out at Moore Creek Park, I chose this scene, which includes just a glimpse of Lake Hennessey, to paint.

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“Glimpse of Hennessey”, oil on panel, 8″ x 8″, © Sheila G. Ticen

Spring Runoff

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“Spring Runoff”, 7″ x 5″, oil on panel, © Sheila G. Ticen

Rain water draining from a hillside vineyard made for a nice focal point on this beautiful spring day in Jack London State Historic Park.

Getting Out

I love being outdoors, and after the rain we’ve had this winter, the hills are calling to me.  However, the last plein air workshop I took made me realize that my full sized French easel was way too heavy for me unless I stayed very close to my car.  I’d been wanting to take another workshop soon, but needed to be able to get on location without the help of a prairie schooner and a team of oxen.  So, after doing a good bit of research (i.e., checking out other artists’ blogs), I ordered an Open Box M, pochade box.

I fitted it with a Duralar liner to protect the wooden paint mixing surface while adding very little weight.  Then I went through a trial run, setting up the new easel in my studio.  I found the lightest tripod we own and fitted it with a cloth sling to hold gear and help keep the whole outfit from toppling over with the first good breeze.

A couple of weeks ago I packed up my gear, lunch and dog and drove over to Jack London State Historic Park to try out my new easel.  Although I had tried to limit my gear, I still ended up hauling too much stuff.  My day pack held my easel, paints, brushes, solvent, sunscreen and paper towels.  I slung my Raymar panel carrier over my shoulder where it refused to stay, as the backpack strap prevented the carrier’s strap from resting squarely on top of my shoulder.  I also carried my lunch, including a sandwich, yogurt and apple in an insulated lunch bag with one of those little ice inserts that won’t get your food all soggy when the ice melts.  At least I left the folding chair in the car!

While being watchful to keep the dog out of the poison oak and managing my assorted parcels, I took a nice walk out to the ruins of Jack London’s Wolf House.  I had passed a nice spot along the way and after eating my lunch near the Wolf House, I backtracked to the promising spot and got to work, completing a 5″ x 7″ oil painting on location.


All ready to get started at Jack London Park, watched over by my dog, Belle.


The day after my trip to Jack London Park I went through my painting gear, getting fairly serious about lightening my load.  I had packed carefully to start with, but found a couple of ways to reduce and lighten my gear.

Yesterday my friend, Carol, and I went out to Moore Creek Park, near Lake Hennessey, just east of Rutherford.  We were surprised to find that we had to wade across a stream near the trail head, but managed it without getting soaked.  We just pulled off our socks and shoes, rolled up our pants legs and waded across.  Easy as can be, except that neither one of us is accustomed to walking barefoot on sharp, slippery rocks.  Surprisingly painful, considering that every kid in the world would have been barefoot in that water and having a blast.  I doubt that the weight on our backs helped with the discomfort, and definitely not with the balance.

Once we had dried our feet and put our shoes back on, we made good time and covered a couple of miles of trail at a good pace.  For some reason, we thought that the Shoreline Trail would take us closer to the actual shoreline of the lake than it ever did, but we were still happy that we had located the trailhead and braved crossing the stream.  The trail wound through oak woodlands that opened up to grassy meadows strewn with wildflowers.  Yep, Julie Andrews would have been spinning in circles and singing her head off out there.

One thing about painting outdoors is that you do just have to decide at some point to set up your gear and get started painting.  The potential view from the next bend in the trail always lures you forward, but sooner or later you’ve got to do what you came there to do before it’s time to start the hike back.

Carol quickly and quietly spread out a waterproof cloth, pulled out her watercolors, sketchbooks and watercolor paper block and got down to work.  I looked around for a couple of minutes before settling on my subject, getting the dog situated and setting up my easel.  We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to be outdoors.

This time I had forgone the lunch bag, ice insert and yogurt in favor of a peanut butter sandwich and some trail mix, which fit into my backpack.  I had managed to put the Raymar panel carrier into the rear compartment of my pack along with the Open Box M and could still, just barely, get the zipper closed.  A partial roll of painter’s tape had been replaced by a much smaller bit of tape, which was plenty.  I think I’m starting to get the hang of this.  My next plot to lighten my load is to use tin snips to cut off the empty ends of paint tubes, which I’ll re-crimp, leaving the useless weight behind.

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I still seem to be wildly optimistic about how many pieces I’ll be able to complete in a single outing.  It would be a shame to get all the way out there without enough panels to paint on, yet I’m finding that getting one painting (even at this size) done or nearly done on location is plenty when I’m hiking more than a mile or two each way.  I would love to hear how others plan and execute outdoor painting trips, especially with canine company!





“Gathering”, oil on panel, 6″ x 6″, © Sheila G. Ticen 2016


I’m glad I challenged myself to keep working with these same objects and that I stayed with it until I came up with a new composition.  I’ll be moving on to other subjects now, but don’t be surprised if you see these old scissors again some day.




“Shears”, oil on panel, © Sheila G. Ticen, 2016


I think my mom gave me these old scissors when I first started sewing, probably to keep me from ruining her good sewing scissors.  Now I keep them around for cutting flowers, twine, and such.  I find that I like the patina on their cutting surfaces as much as the reflective quality of the chrome.

Fresh Threads



“Fresh Threads”, oil on panel, © Sheila G. Ticen, 2016


I use one of the drawers in my antique Singer treadle sewing machine as storage for my colored threads, another drawer for neutral tones.  The drawer of colored threads is my own tiny domain of chromatic order.

I arrange the spools so that they fill the long, narrow drawer in two rows of shining hues, a little visual treat each time I slide the drawer open.  Violets leading to blues, greens, yellows, and so on.

My boxes of paint tubes enjoy no such tidy consideration.  Two sturdy plastic storage boxes (lids removed) house my paints, “cool” hues in one box, and “warm” hues in the other.  The only reason I separate them at all is to facilitate quickly grabbing whatever color I need in the moment.