Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How I got from here to there.... my process


Its always kind of interesting to see a process, don't you think? 
This week, I've been working on a new painting - which is not quite dry yet ...  not quite ready to post in it's final form.  But I took pictures of it along it's journey from first strokes of paint to its near finish.    You'll see I did not start with a drawing - I just began laying in layers of transparent color where they should occur within the painting.

Then in the wet paint, I "drew in" where I wanted the basic shapes to be.
With both transparent and opaque paint, I began to lay in color and form, shadows and light to bring this painting to life.  It's a little different approach than I have typically used - but it gives the final painting a lot of freedom in the way paint is applied and the way color mixes.  

Here's a little better view of the end.... I'll be posting this one soon!  (It will be looking for it's new home!) 

Star of Bethlehem, (Chicago Flower Market), 8x10" - Oil on gesso board
©2017  Helen Read

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Abundance and Diversity

Chicago Flower Market, 5x7 oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 

This little painting is going to its new home in North Carolina! 
This spring, I painted this from a visit I made to a small but delightful flower market in Chicago. There was every color and size of flowers in complete abundance. There was every iteration of green and so many textures in the foliage! Abundance and diversity - hallmarks of God's creative hand!

It's easy to bring home a colorful, vibrant and original work of art!  
You can visit my website to see much of what is available, or scroll down through this blog.  
The wonderful thing for the artist about creating art is that we get to share  our vision - what we see in our own unique way - with others.  Hopefully, this artistic vision bring joy, beauty, and delight to it's new home! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Framed! The final touch!

The value of framing!  

A painting always feels more finished - more presentable when the right frame is found, 
the painting is secured in it, and finally it is displayed. 
The wrong frame, however, can have the opposite effect. 

What makes the frame the right one? 

A lot depends on the picture being framed as well as the taste of the one who will display it. 
But, here are a few things to keep in mind: 
1.  You do not want the frame to "speak" more loudly than the painting. 
Simplicity is a good rule of thumb. 
2.  Consider the colors in the painting.  What kind of frame enhances them best? 
In this case a simple black frame.  
3.  Consider the style of the painting.  This painting is more contemporary in style, so 
a very sleek black frame seemed to work better than a natural wood colored one. 
4.  Finally, consider the subject matter in the painting.  Depending on the subject, you may have a type of frame that is more appropriate than another.

Personal taste is also a factor, but the considerations above are perhaps more important guidelines. 

Enjoy the process of choosing the right frame!  The right frame makes a world of difference and puts that finishing touch on a lovely work of art!  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lovely Lavender

Lovely Lavender, 6x9" Oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
Includes domestic shipping.  (International shipping will be quoted by location)
(IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

It's almost magical - a whole field of lavender!  Not only is lavender beautiful and it has a lovely old fashioned scent, did you know that it has been used for centuries as an insect repellent!?   But - back to the painting! 
In this scene, you see rows and rows of it's beautiful color with little peeks of green showing through.  The shadows are also quite interesting and full of color.  All of this within the view of distant hills and trees. 
Delightful display of color! 

This one is still drying, but will be ready to send within a short time.  
It is ready to frame and will look stunning on any wall!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A 4th of July Celebration - $49!

Yes, the 4th of July is just around the corner.... summer is well underway!   
And it is time to CELEBRATE!!  

Just for a few days - now until July 7th - I'm offering these 6 small gems at a very celebratory price! 
$49.00 which includes domestic shipping!  (IL residents please add 8% sales tax)
 Each of these small colorful gems is ready to frame. 
Sold - Sunflowers in Cobalt
Sold - Chicago Flower Market

I'm cleaning out my studio to make way for new work that will be coming soon, so now is a great opportunity to hang original work in your home!    

Just email me which one you'd like to have me send (1st email receives the painting), and I'll confirm it with you and let you know how to finish the details with Paypal so I can put it into Priority Mail to your home. 

Oh, and please join my email list!  When you are on the list, you receive the first word about such exciting offers as this one!  Just click the button below to be added, your email address is safe with me!! 

Yes, add me to your list!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Cheerful Good Morning!

Still drying!   This small gem - bright and colorful - seems to spread it's cheer. 
It is 7x5" oil on gesso board. 

A bright start to summer painting!  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A White Iris


White Iris,  7x5" watercolor on 300# paper
©2017  Helen Read 


This week I received a commission to do this lovely little watercolor painting.  The video shows it's progress from first ideas, through the final rendition.  
It's always fun to see how the painting unfolds and becomes itself, often dictating to me along the way what it needs and how I need to make alterations.    It still needs to be matted and framed, but this here you see it's final form.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Another Sunflower Tattoo!

Sunflower ©2017 Helen Read 

I'm always a little amazed at the way in which we are connected through the internet!   Just this week, I've sold my 3rd sunflower tattoo to people who have found me online.  Several of those have been to people in the UK, and this one will be worn state side.  Each of them is similar, but is also unique - something that will not be worn by anyone else!  It is an honor to have someone wear my art, and in some cases I get to help them honor someone who was important to them.    And sunflowers seem to be the image that is most requested!   

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Thoughts on Creativity from my Garden

I'm writing, dear Creative Friends, from my garden this morning, where important ideas sometimes show themselves more clearly.    I include myself as I write (maybe I'm mostly writing to myself!)  although I think there may be some of you who find yourself where I do, sometimes.... or often!  

 We, as creative souls, need encouragement and words of inspiration to keep picking up the pencil or the brush, to sit down again at the keyboard, or pick up an instrument, or to just form thoughts into words.   
Because creative expression
can be

That haunting voice sometimes asks, "Why am I doing this?  Is it worth my time? Who is interested?" ... 
I am acquainted with that voice, too. 
So, here are some thoughts I am embracing today...
Thoughts to motivate and propel, rather than to paralyze and stymie.  This is a little love note to me and to you about our creative pathway.  

"We have been entrusted with something uniquely ours"

It is important to step out and share that special thing for good.   For me, and maybe for you too, I see this as a unique, one-of-a-kind endowment.  No one else (through all of time) has ever had my experiences, perceptions, or my particular voice.  To suppress that, to minimize it, or to deny it is a loss ~ to myself and to others. 

My faith plays into this in a big way.  I am a Christ-follower, and I want to use whatever interests and skills He has created in me to the highest value.  So, even when I wonder  "is this worth anything at all?"  
I need to embrace these realizations:

  • I will be an active participant, not an idle bystander. 
  • I will trust that the creative spirit, which is part of my deepest self and a reflection of our Creator, matters! 
  • I will step out of my comfort zone, out of complacency or my own imprisonment of self-doubt.  
  • I will remember that even when I can't see exactly where I am going (which is most of the time, if I'm perfectly honest), that I am not finding my way alone
  • I will recognize that fear paralyzes and it destroys.  It harbors all that limits me.
    So, let me encourage YOU, my creative friend...   Don't give in!  Don't give up!  Don't believe for a second that your art  ~ in whatever form it takes ~ is not worth the effort, because it is!    It's what your soul hungers for , what others near you need.... what the world needs! 


"You are the only person in this world who can express in your voice, what you see, or hear, or imagine."

Someone needs to hear it!  This world needs the beauty you bring to it.   Pick up your brush, plant that flowering plant, take hold of that musical instrument, move to the music you hear!  The world is a better place for it!  

"So, let's not get tired in doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap
a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."  
                             (Galatians 6:9  NLT) 


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spring - again

Spring ends up being a very busy time of year in the life of a teacher.
In fact, there's hardly time to breathe as we finish the school year and get our graduates out the door and batten down the hatches for summer... 

So, I'm posting a couple of my favorites from Spring 2016! 
And I will be back in my studio producing Summer 2017 paintings very soon! 
Both of these, by the way, are still available!  

I don't know about you, but I never get tired of spring's arrival and the beauty it brings !
Spring Awakens, 12x9" oil on linen panel
Click here for more info

Lincoln Marsh Pathway, 12x9" oil on linen panel
Click here for more info


(Both of these are currently framed in a wooden frame, which can be included for an addition charge of $20.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Cat on the Wall

The Garden Wall, 6x9" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read 
Ready to Frame
Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, Il residents please add 8% sales tax)

Almost lost in the shadows, watchful eyes see all that happens in this shady garden!
Should a bird or butterfly happen by, there might be some drama ~ otherwise, all is quiet and peaceful! 

This summer scene is ready to frame and send to it's new home! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Summer Bouquet

Summer Scents (peonies),  7x5" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
(Ready to frame)

Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax.  

What speaks the lazy days of summer as much as a casual bouquet of peonies in an old fashioned mason jar?
These pink and white beauties are have such sweet aroma and that lovely pop of color, set against the beautiful blue of a country window and shutter.  I love the sense of calm serenity they give.

Perhaps that speak that kind of serenity to your heart.

This lovely little painting is almost dry ~ ready to find it's new home!  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Charm of Blue Doors

Street of Blue Doors,  6x6" oil on Clayboard
©2017, Helen Read 
(Ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

How charming!   A country village, a simple street made beautiful by the robin's egg blue of its doors and windows.    Further adornments are made by the lovely container gardens along by every window and doorway.
A small delight for the eyes.  A place of peace and a quieter pace.

This painting is ready to frame - it is done with oil on clayboard which gives it a matte finished.  The colors are reminiscent of what you might see in a quaint French village.  Maybe it is just the right pop of color for your home!  (Or the home of someone you know!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Roses and Wine

Roses and Wine, 7x5" oil on gesso board 
©2017  Helen Read 

Another Small Gem!  The table is set!  Are you ready to be seated?
A little outdoor picnic on a warm spring day.  Roses casually set into a pitcher, wine glass and plates ready to be filled, laughter and conversation with family and friends.  Perfect! 
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