Welcome to my blog! I am a Daily Artist. Primarily I paint, but I work in other media from time to time. This is where I post images of my creative work with comments about my process, and how faith, art, and life converge. It's also a place that I get to meet and dialog with viewers. I'm glad you've stopped by! I hope you enjoy your visit, leave a comment, and come back soon!
(Please add $20 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)
Aerial Drama! This is a view from my backyard last week! Such beauty! And that word falls short of what it truly is ... breathtaking beauty! Painting this was indeed a challenge. The shapes of the clouds, the lights and darks of them, the colors of them, the streaks of light! I hope I captured even a fraction of it!
It's always a surprise when someone finds my work and has a special request! A week or so ago, someone got in touch with me from England to ask for a design that they wanted to have made into a tattoo. So, with a little bit of email discussion back and forth to find out exactly what was wanted - this is was the final design, sent off this evening.
It's an honor to have someone want to wear your art! And, what a pretty tattoo this will be! This is the 2nd tattoo design I've done for someone ... both of them from England!
A collection of 11 landscape paintings of God's beautiful physical world with an artist's response.
Speaks to the Artist’s Heart
This series of
paintings, accomplished over a period of several years, is meant to capture the
beauty and wonder of the created world with its ever changing properties; the
play of light, the depth of shadow, its changing colors as they brighten and
fade, its proper clothing for the various seasons.
As I paint, I have also found that the landscape and all of creation, speak to
me of the vastness, the beauty, the wisdom of our God who created it all.I see His joy in what He has
crafted, from expansive vistas to the close up view.I see His intimacy and attention to the smallest details.
In response, my heart is called to prayer as I observe His lovely world. I am
reminded of the faithfulness, the goodness ~ the GLORY~
of our beautiful God as He invites us to enter into it.
Winter Twilight,comes early in February.It descends quietly.The birds cease their wintry song and
the gentle peace of evening falls with a final wash of setting sun on the
“Oh Lord, Your
goodness – Your beauty – is cast across Your creation, even in the bleakness of
winter.The final light of the
evening bears witness of Your presence as a cold night falls.” Winter Twilight, 24x36”
Oil on stretched canvas,Helen
Read - 2016
The Thaw ~ those last days of
winter before spring has yet to arrive.The earth is shrouded in its waiting.The dried leaves and traces of snow leave a broken path
toward what will be.And so,
patience becomes the instructor.
“I live in a
hurried world; a frenetic world.Yet, I am reminded by observing Your world, Lord, that patience is a
virtue.You are patient and kind
in Your tender care over my hurried life.You never fail, and my lessons in waiting are never futile.”
The Thaw, 9x12” Oil on Gesso
BoardHelen Read -
Tall Oaks -standing upright,
towering above the others in the
field - these 3 are strong, with spreading branches; beautiful sentinels that
speak silently of their Maker.
“Lord of Heaven –
righteous and holy – let me find all my contentedness in You.Strengthen me to stand firmly where You
have planted me.”
Tall Oaks, 20x16” Oil on canvas
panel, Helen Read – 2016
Spring Awakens, Listen!These new spring days are filled with joyful song… the birds
have returned, the first leaves of green are emerging where once - not long ago
- snow blanketed the earth.Today,
“My spirit soars,
Lord, as I breathe in the celebration that ushers in spring.You are faithful in all Your ways.You nurture Your creation.You accept her glad praise!
Spring Awakens, 12x9” Oil on Linen PanelHelen Read - 2016
Pathway, itwinds right and then
left – it splits off and rejoins.What winding uncertainty!What lies ahead?A destination not fully known.
Lord, forgive my many doubts when I can’t see far ahead.When I look back, You have always known
the true path and held my hand, showing me the way.Why would I doubt You now?”
12x9” Oil on Linen PanelHelen
Read - 2016
shadow;they always go hand in
hand.But without one, there is no
other.Both enhance and define the
“You remind me,
observing Your world, that where there are shadows, there is the promise of
Your light.There is not one
without the other.And yes, they
both give definition – they both are
the story of my path.”
x 12” Oil on Stretched Canvas,Helen Read - 2015
Quiet Water.If you listen, you will hear the sound
of full summer – a very gentle breeze, the hum of cicadas, the ripples of water
as it laps along the edge.All this abundance clad in green.Creation breathes peace to the soul.
“How could I not
be reminded of these lines of David’s psalm,‘…He leads me beside still water, he restores my soul…’You are the great restorer, Lord.
You are the source of peace, and You give it gladly.”
Quiet Water, 12x9” Oil on Linen
PanelHelen Read -
Moving Waters, rushing, churning,
whirling, stirring… troubled water.In this great force, one sees both power and that which sustains.There is no quiet reflection
here, but a streambed that is pulled upward toward the surface.There are times when life itself has
this turbulence… uncertainty, unexpected events, transitions.
times, Lord, I first see only the TROUBLE. It looms large and is overwhelming.I easily forget to look beyond the
forces of turbulence to see Your power is greater still and that Your hand is
steady.Iam slow to comprehend that perhaps You
have allowed the rushing, churning, whirling of life around me and will teach
me of your goodness.
I find comfort in this - You have promised to sustain me.”
x 10” Oil on Stretched CanvasHelen Read - 2015
rises toward the sky and takes flight above a world of tangled green.Through its arches and openings, the
shimmering sunlight vibrates with life.Even in man’s great constructions, the Creator’s touch gives a greater
“Yes, great feats
of engineering and skill have been allowed to us in our humanity. But You,
Lord, bless the works of our hands with Your touch of beauty and majesty.Without Your touch, our greatest works
are ordinary and temporal.I need
Your touch on everything I do!”
9x12” Oil on Stretched CanvasHelen Read - 2013
Golden October,Oh Color… Golden Color -clothing for the autumn
season…Magnificence that merely echoes the glory of God! How can we comprehend
this otherworldly beauty?
“As I gaze at Your
unbridled extravagance of color, Lord, it speaks of Your joy!You spare nothing in the way of
glorious, beautiful color.You
feed our souls with just a hint of Your glory!”
Golden October, 12x9” Oil on Linen
PanelHelen Read - 2016
Autumn at Herrick
a study of reflections and all that lies beyond.Look deeply, beyond
the shadows, beyond the carpet of floating leaves. There is the mystery of
eternity here, nearly hidden.
“Beyond all I can
see, beyond my ability to imagine… You are there, Lord, with a vast and
unmeasured beyond.What I can see
is all that I imagine to exist, but You have treasures that I have never
contemplated and an eternity in which to reveal them.”
Autumn at Herrick
Lake, 10 x 8” Oil on Linen PanelHelen Read - 2015
Exhibit may be viewed:
Evangel Baptist Church 1900 Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL
I've just returned home from a week out of town, so I'm posting a set of 3 paintings from a few summers ago.
These have been on a long term loan, but are now returning to my studio.
They are still available!
I love their bright color and the interesting array of the center ~ a sense of being on fire! The seeds in the center of a coneflower actually follow the fibonacci sequence, which is nearly impossible to duplicate in paint - but you do get a sense of the order in these paintings.
The top one, Front and Center, measures 8x8" oil, on a gallery wrapped canvas $100.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
The lower left one, Center Flame, measures 7x5" oil on canvas $80.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
and the lower right one, Coneflower, measures 5x7" oil on canvas $80.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
They may be sold separately, but them make a strong impact as a group of 3. (15% discount on purchase of all 3) - $221(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
(Please add $12.00 ea postage if mailed separately in the US. International shipping is additional,
if mailing all 3 to the same address, please add $20 shipping in the US.
$1598.00 (Shipping within the US is included in this price, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)
Please contact me byemailfor payment methods - I'm willing to devise a payment plan that works for you - and/or shipping methods.
I've finally finished this larger landscape painting. It has been months in the making with some stops and starts in between. I am trying to keep much better notes on my paintings as I go - so, I'm including them below. If you have interest in my process you may find these notes interesting!
Artist's Notes on Winter Twilight 7-19-16
January 30, 2016 - Klein Creek Farm – afternoon about 4:00
The reference picture for this painting
This year, snow was about
melted (not much snow this past winter).
It was cold, but warm enough to be outdoors. There was not much in the way of bird song – the water was
not frozen, but not running very quickly.
Quite a placid afternoon. I
was particularly struck by the reflections in the water and the western horizon
that had just a was of yellow in it as the sun retreated behind the tree
In preparation for painting,
I took photos. I did thumbnail
sketches, I did full size sketches in charcoal and adding color. I did value studies and worked with 4 values
in markers. I also did drawings –
particularly of the large tree on the left as it hung over the water – it was
not a typical shape – a waterside, scrubby tree. But it did have an interesting personality! All of this to try to understand
the landscape I was intending to paint – to understand the various elements of
the landscape – to understand the shadows and light – to understand the colors,
subdued as they were. In all of
this, trying to internalize something of the physics of the world that God has
above - thumbnail sketch
and marker value study with notes on values using a value scale (1-10)
Above - A full size charcoal sketch on paper
Below - sketch with color added
A 9x12" drawing of the tree on the left side of the painting - as a way to understand the structure of this tree.
This drawing has since been sold.
With preliminary work done,
canvas ready, the painting began.
I’d like to say it went easily -
it didn’t. The size
is large. The painting has to be
scaled to fit. There’s a lot of
acreage to cover with paint. There
were times of feeling stuck and needing to stop awhile and think. Decide what to do about what issue
along the way.
Above - lightly sketched on canvas
Below - neutrals added for sky and water
Above - a light wash of yellow added to the sky
Below - the progression of the painting - from the underpainting to the almost finished work.
The palette of colors I used for this painting
was rather simplified. The winter colors are rather subdued
and neutral. So my palette of
colors needed to be rather subdued and simplified as well. My medium was Liquin.
Transparent Earth Yellow
Portland Gray Light
Hansa Yellow Medium
have not kept close track of my hours of work – maybe that’s for the best! It was many hours. This painting was started in February
2016 (January, if you count the day I first encountered this landscape when I
was out trekking through the mud and chill) It was finished in July 2016, with a few breaks in its work
along the way. I think what
captured my attention was the tranquility of this winter scene, the beauty of
its starkness, the reflections as they tangled and wound toward me while the
lay of the water receded away from me.
I have hoped to capture the
winter starkness just as the warmth of the sun cast its last golden glow across
the scene. Winter is always a long
endurance here, but there is a warmth here that seems to breathe hope!
In fact, I think it will be done in the next few days. I'm going slowly now because drying time is essential. There's nothing more irritating than to drag my hand (accidentally) through some fine details I just added. (And I've done that quite a few times on this one!)
So, I'm being patient - working consistently - waiting for things to dry - and then all over again!
I must say, it does seem to be taking forever! I'm working along on this larger painting (2' x 3') and I continue to make progress. I often find that because of wet paint I can only work for a short period of time before I have to stop and let it dry. Too many times, I've rested my hand in wet paint - and then a lot of clean up has to happen. the tree in the foreground is not yet finished, the foreground ground has to be worked on. And unfortunately the lighting for this is really not accurate. When its finished, I'll photograph accurately.
My goal is to have this done in the next few days so it can be put into an exhibit. Yikes! I have a lot of irons in the fire - time is going too fast! I hope that I'll have its final form here to see in just a few more days!
It was July 2007.... I made a commitment to get serious!
I started this blog - and planned to paint a little bit every day. I knew it would take discipline and I knew it wouldn't be easy... I am a full time public school teacher. At the time I started this, I was also a full time single mom. The kids have now grown, gotten married, and started families of their own.
I didn't know if I was crazy to even think I could do this...
I can't say that I have painted every single day in these last nine years, but I've painted MOST days!
I've seen a lot of ups and downs - belief and doubt - fear and confidence...
I've painted a lot of paintings - I haven't counted exactly, but its in the hundreds! Some small, some large.
I've sold a lot of paintings here in the US, in Europe, and in Asia right here from my humble blog. I've seen my own work and vision take shape, improve, and become more focused!
Its been an adventure - well worth the investment of time and paint!!
Its exciting to look back over these last 9 years and now, to look forward to what is in store!
Featured above are paintings from my beginning - July 2007 and a sample of what I was doing in July of every year since! I hope you can see the progression too!
To see all my available works, please click here! There are many works available that are looking for their home!
I'm working on this large painting that I had to put aside for awhile. Here are the latest brushstrokes!! Some good things are happening!
This one is large - 2' x 3' - and has been quite challenging in all that is required as I work on it. But, progress is being made. In the top image you can see where I had left of a month or a little more ago. Not much of the trees have been done, other than the very far ones. In the middle picture, I've begun adding more to the trees in the nearer ground, with a few more details being included. And the bottom picture shows that even more worked out. Also in the nearest tree on the left, a little additional shading to show some of its contours.
My process so far has been to work on the sky and its reflection in the water first. These are the lightest values in the painting. I then worked on the upright (near and far) elements (darkest values) and am now beginning to work on the ground - both middle ground and foreground. These will be the mid values. Of course, there are many details to be added as well, but dividing up the painting by values is an extremely helpful strategy.
I'm continuing to work, although at pointss drying time is needed. Because of its size, there is a lot of canvas to cover! I am enjoying the process and seeing it come together.
(Shipping will be added after calculating it accurately for its destination, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)
Please contact me by email for sale and shipping information
There's something about tall trees that is majestic and awe-inspiring. These trees are depicted in the earliest days of spring, a very typical scene for the Illinois prairie. There are no leaves on them yet, although the scrubby undergrowth is turning green early. I started this painting on a bright sunny day - the shadows are very dark because of the intensity of the sun. I was captivated by the tall sculptural quality I saw in these beautiful trees, as well as the contrast between sun and shadow, so they became the focus of the painting. Because of their tall majestic size, it required a larger canvas to contain them! So this is 20" tall and 16" wide. It is ready to frame and hang
Here you see the beginning progression of this newest landscape... the top image is an underpainting. (Before the underpainting, there were thumbnails, value calculations, and sketches in preparation of the painting). In the lower image, you can see that I've made some value adjustments and started painting the sky. This is a larger painting - 16x20" And it will continue progressing in the next few days showing its very early spring colors.
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Not too far from where I live is a natural wetlands that is quite lovely, particularly in the springtime as the leaves and grasses just start to return from their long winter slumber. This painting captures one of those first warm days as green is beginning to dress the bare branches. The shadows that are cast are thinner, less full than they will soon be. There's a sense of anticipation about the environment - you can hear it in the birds' songs, in the occasional rustle of the grasses as a small animal scurries through. The air is warm, but the ground is still rather cool... spring is just beginning with the promise of so much more!