Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tall Oaks - Lincoln Marsh

Tall Oaks ~ Lincoln Marsh,  20x16" Oil on canvas panel
©2016, Helen Read 
Ready to frame 
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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

Friday, June 3, 2016

Up next! Tall Oaks

Still in progress 

 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. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

This pathway

Lincoln Marsh Pathway,  12x9" Oil on linen panel
©2016 Helen Read 
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $12 shipping within the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

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! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Awakens!

Spring Awakens, 12 x 9" oil on linen panel
©2016 Helen Read
ready to frame 
(Please add $12.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)


Oh Springtime!  So long awaited during the cold winter months. Those first few days are a wonderful lush growth of green, as the birds sing and the earth warms.
This was painted of a location at Lincoln Marsh, a local area that fosters beautiful growth of plants and is the home of much wildlife.  On this sunny day, in early spring, its beauty was cast in lovely tones of green and blue.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Working on 2 new paintings

It's a cold, overcast, windy day - so a good day to bring these 2 paintings along.  Both are 12x9" .  The underpainting was done a few days ago -  the values have been categorized, and now layers of color are going down.  
More coming soon! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2 New landscapes - underpaintings

Both of these are underpaintings - a monochromatic "rough draft" you could say - which just lays out the general idea in lights and darks.  Both of these measure 12x9" So, now that the underpaintings are done, I'll begin to devise and lay in color while keeping the values (lights and darks) about where they are.   I hope to begin this next step in the next couple days!  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Its been a week! Student Art Show

Every year around the first week in May, our high school puts on the student art exhibit.  As an art teacher, it is a lot of work!   Its a wonderful thing to do, and many of our students participate - but it is a demanding and exhausting week!   So, this was the week...   I tried to start counting the pieces we hung and/or displayed - and it just wasn't possible.  The small section I counted was 300 - and I estimate that was possibly 1/5 of the total - but that may be quite conservative...  I think its safe to say, over 1500 pieces were hung.  Monday morning, it all comes down again - till next May.    There won't really be much rest until graduation and finals are finished... in a few more weeks, but hopefully it won't be as exhausting as this week has been!  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Field Work

One of the pleasures of landscape painting is being IN the landscape!  One of the disciplines is drawing it...these are a series of thumbnail sketches with my notes - my favorites out of the lot of 12 or so.  Even though this is a very busy time of year with spring semester finishing up - giving exams, entering grades, closing up classrooms soon - I've enjoyed getting out into the beauty of spring to observe and draw its arrival!   New paintings - coming SOON! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And - more trees and branches

Ugh -- work is keeping me busy !  I hope to work more on this in the next few days , but I am progressing - a little! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

3 Feet of Tree Line

I'm back from break and working again on this large landscape.  I think I'm done with the 3 feet of tree line in the background.  It may look rather straightforward but, the right side has light showing through and the colors are somewhat different than the left side, which shows a deeper woods. So, though it's incremental, I have made progress amid my starts and stops! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

More ... brushstroke by brushstroke

A little more added to the sky and the water. 
Still finding my way through this - finding it a bit overwhelming in size... 
But reminding myself that this is how a painting often unfolds - inch by inch, brushstroke by brushstroke with a lot of uncertainty! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Developing the idea - working out the composition - starting the process

Painting a landscape - or any work of art - is truly a process.  
There are many preliminary steps in the creation of a painting - and there are many steps of just plain work to get it made.  All of it totals many hours of thinking, of applying one's knowledge, of working with pencil, of adjusting, and then - finally - working with brush and paint.

For several months now, this painting has been moving from concept to beginning stages.  I'd like to say its moved beyond beginning stages, but really ... it hasn't!  
Its large --  2'x3'.  And, it has taken a lot of thought, sketching, planning, and waiting for things to dry before I can move on.  I hope to have more finished soon, though I know this is one that will take time to complete.  

That's what I've been up to here - that, and some drawing.  All related to this painting!  

Friday, March 18, 2016

Water's Edge - Graphite Tree Study

Water's Edge  9x12" graphite on paper
©2016  Helen Read 
matted in white to fit 14x18" frame
(please add $12.00 shipping in the US.  IL residents, please add 8.25% sales tax) 


One of the things I'm doing as I prepare to paint the larger landscape I've recently started is to draw trees...and by doing so, learning about the individual characteristics of different trees.  What has impressed me is that each one is uniquely itself and it seems as if each has its own individual story to tell.   This one inhabits the edge of a stream.  It has lower branches hanging just over the water's surface with curling, rolling roots that plunge beneath the water's surface and a variety of branches that have sprung up rather low on its trunk.  Such an interesting profile!  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Back in the studio ---

It's been too long --  travel, a strenuous schedule at work, fighting off illness, exhaustion.   The last month has slipped away, it seems.  

But I'm working again on a LARGE (for me) landscape.  It measures 24" x 36". 
I've stated with sketches in full size then moved on to working on the canvas. Here's my progression so far:

Graphite and charcoal

A little color added

Rough sketch on the canvas

Starting to add paint to the canvas

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