Monday, October 15, 2012


Helen Haberstroh - in action!

Helen Haberstroh did the program on pen and ink with a watercolor wash.

Helen said she has been painting and drawing since she was three when her parents gave her some art supplies for her birthday.  She has participated in many outdoor art shows, written a book on House Portraits, and has done workshops and many demonstration for art clubs.  I met Helen over 20 years ago at Sharonville Art Show where we were both exhibiting. Over the years and numerous art shows she has become my true friend and mentor. She is one of the most energetic and positive people I know.

I know this painting has a blur - but that's because Helen is so animated - she never seems to stop moving!
Helen started her program with a fun demonstration of her equipment that she uses when she does her artwork outside during her many travels. Her equipment includes a cane that folds out in to a small stool, a bright pink hat to protect her from the weather and so her husband Dick can find her. Helen also carries a backpack for her art supplies which include a sketch book , pencil, drawing pens and a few snack bars in case she misses lunch.  Last, but not least, she includes her camera. She has been doing outdoor sketching for over 20 years.  When sketching out doors while traveling she allows herself about 45 minutes to find a view and to sketch it.

Helen takes her original drawing and has it reduced to a 4 x 6 print on “cover paper“. She will also make a copy of her original drawing with the color wash so that she can use it to copy from for her other prints.
Helen showing us her "framed" work - before she begins tinting her print with watercolor.
Helen starts by taking her pen and ink print and penciling in the border from a frame she has out of cardboard. She then tapes around the border with painting tape so it keeps the outside paper protected.
Working on her tinted print, Helen uses pre-mixed colors with a small sable brush.
She started her painting by turning her paper upside down so she could paint the sky. When painting large areas like the sky and foreground she keeps her paper tilted so that the wet paint will move easily down the page when touching the edge with her brush. In the painting she was demonstrating for us she also painted some of the trees with the sky color. She did that so when she painted in the trees some of the sky would show through like it does in nature. Then she turned the paper so she could paint the foreground. The foreground will need several layers of wash to get the desired effect that she wants. Next Helen painted some of the larger Spruce trees with small strokes to represent the foliage. After this she went back to paint the trees in the back ground with a blend of a little green and some blue. Helen continued jumping around the painting because she has to let some areas dry before painting others that are next to them. When the Spruce trees were dry she took a darker green to the one side to show the shadows. Helen uses a very light green to hint at the plants inside of the Krohn’s Conservatory.  At this point she used some yellow and red to add flowers in the foreground. Since her paintings are small there isn’t a need for details, just a suggestion of flowers or leaves. Helen stopped at this point to take a break and to answer any questions.

Her favorite brushes for painting are Kolinsky brushes and Koh-i-nor  .25 pen and ink from Jerry’s Artarama.

Helen gave us some advice. Paint things you love and play with it, then your painting will be successful.
The other thing she said which we have heard before is learn a technique from a workshop or program and then make it your own.

Helen entertained us during her program with many stories and her delightful wit.

Helen poses with the book she wrote, several years ago,  for North Light Books.
 I think we all left that day thinking we would like to have the energy that Helen has at 83.

(Submitted by Kathy Kuyper; photos by Deb Ward)

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