Monday, November 13, 2017

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather, 6x6" oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 


These 2!  Captured with a bit of personality showing!  (Perhaps a little mischief!?) 

You can almost hear what they are thinking!   

Watch this painting unfold in a few seconds (of course, it took longer than a few seconds to paint!)  Its always fascinating to see how it begins and how it comes to its final form.
You can also see it on YouTube here:


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Some Student Work - Fall Drawing 1 Class

Every year I like to post some of the work my students
in High School are doing.  This is a Drawing 1 class at Wheaton North High Schoo - so though they may have had some background in drawing, it is not a background of instruction. 
Most of my students come to class first thing in the semester liking to draw but not really experienced.  

This work shows so well what students are capable of achieving in the first 10 weeks or so of class!   I'm proud of them - they have worked hard and it shows!  

These drawings are a small representation of student work where they've taken the instruction and really applied what we've learned in the unit on value and shading techniques.  
They picked their own subjects, transferred the images, and shaded with graphite. 

As a teacher, it's very exciting to see this kind of growth!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Joys of Autumn

"Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile." ~William Cullen Bryant

A blaze of color, the quiet settling of leaves, the flocks of birds on a yearly pilgrimage, 
there's a rhythm and constancy about the seasons, and autumn - a preparation for rest - is one of the most beautiful. 

Even in the midst of all this beauty,  I look ahead to the long siege of winter with some trepidation. 
Here, where I live, it seems to last forever under a chilled white blanket.  

So Autumn, for me, is a time to soak it up and to take joy in the small beauties it presents...

To Give Thanks
...not just because we celebrate Thanksgiving in the Autumn, but because each day has its own small gifts. 

 The glorious "hello" of the morning as the sun rises

 The intricate tracing of color in fallen leaves 

Gifts can be found in the most ordinary of life's experiences... if we choose to see them as gifts.  
This is what I'm training my eye and my heart to see - God, the Creator of the cosmos, is presenting beautiful small gifts day by day as a way of saying,  "It all matters!  Beauty matters.  My creation matters. Small things matter."  and most importantly,
"YOU matter!"

These gifts of beauty are His love notes to each of us - but we must take time to see.  We must take time to see the blaze of red lit up by the sun and reflected in the water... only lasting a few minutes to the seeing eye before it's gone, but nevertheless, a whisper of colorful love. 
the dawning of golden light with it's band of glowing clouds - a gracious good morning and the promise of a new day of opportunities.  Scriptures tells us that His mercies are new each morning  - here is a visual reminder of that promise.
an array of color from purple through reds and oranges and yellows, 
gently traced throughout the veins of leaves...Why? 
For beauty's sake; for the delight of it. 

Taking joy in these small ordinary things trains the heart to watch for the gifts that God gives and to 
live with gratitude. 

Watch with me! 
Take joy in the small gifts of the day.
Give thanks to a good God who whispers love and promises of mercy and who takes delight in His creation.... and most especially takes delight in You! 


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Completed Commission

Untitled, © 2017, Helen Read

This painting was commissioned as part of a series of paintings that will be used in the services and will hang at church.  The requirements were loosely given and it will relate to paintings around it. 
I decided to do this with a bit of abstraction behind the bird and let the bird remain more realistically presented. 
The painting which will be on the left of this one has a darker theme, and the one that will be on the right of this one, is bright and light-filled.  The tree connects to the paintings on the right and left and also below. 

This one measures 24" x 24" and is gallery wrapped - about 2" deep, painted around the sides. 
I used acrylic paint for all of it, and the edges of the bird where it is catching light from the source on the right have been given some iridescence to the paint. 
The use of many circles and dots portrays a sense of energy to the piece, and the bold use of color is also energetic and joyful.  I'm excited to see exactly how it will be used in the coming months. 
To see it in person (starting in mid-December) come by Wellspring Alliance Church in Wheaton.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Autumn Joy

Autumn Joy, 7x5" oil on gesso board
© 2017 Helen Read 
ready to frame 

(Please add $10.00 domestic shipping,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax.)

Well,  fall is finally here in the Midwest.  We've had a lovely prolonged summery start to it, with flowers continuing to bloom during warm sunny days.  So, these last blooms of fall are fading now... except not in this little painting!  How about a some beautiful color to brighten up that corner that needs some color!?   This painting is highly textured and full of luscious jewel tone colors.   All the colors of a beautiful fall day, right here!  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Birches in Autumn

Swedish Birches,  7x10" Oil pastel on illustration board
©2014, Helen Read 
matted in white to fit 11x14" frame

(Please add $7.00 for shipping within the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 
This last month has been filled with work requirements and a larger commission... time has been fleeting!
As a repost, I'm "remembering" this pastel painting which is matted in white.   It is still available - and a variety of my other works at great prices are also available in my Etsy Shop (click the link below) 

Etsy Shop

 I hope you'll visit, and see something you love!  My prices are pretty lovable, too!

Monday, October 9, 2017

I'm giving gifts and surprises!!

Don't you love to get gifts? 

It's always fun to receive a gift ~ and I also enjoy giving gifts!  
For my newsletter friends - every month I create something fun just for you ... I really try to give you a reason to look forward to opening my email when it comes.  

In the last few months, I had a contest to win a free mini painting, and now it lives with one of my friends in Georgia.
On another month,  I offered a free print - anyone could download it, print it, and enjoy it! 
What's coming up next month???  
 Sign up and find out!!

Freebies, give-aways, contests, discounts, news  - and other surprises!!

All you need to do is fill out the form below and you'll be added to my list.
Then watch for my next newsletter which comes near the beginning of each month. 

So easy!

Sign up now!

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Edge of the Marsh

The Edge of the Marsh, 8x10" oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
(ready to frame)
(Please add $15.00 domestic shipping.  International shipping quoted by location.
IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Autumn is full of color; expected color and surprising color hiding in shadows and in the undertones that we so easily miss seeing.  Along the edge of the marsh, there is color everywhere! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In Comes October!

Golden October, 12 x 9" Oil on Linen Panel
©2016 Helen Read
Ready to frame
(Please add $20 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 

A year or so ago, the colors of our fall leaves (here in the midwest) were lovely.  This year, after a summer of almost no rain, it's mostly just brown.  So, I'm posting this painting that is a still available to celebrate the beauty of October yellows against the beautiful clear blue sky! 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Geraniums in Full Bloom

September Geranium, 8x8" graphite on clayboard
©2017 Helen Read 

(ready to frame)
(please add $15 domestic shipping,  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)

Sunlight and shadow - beautiful detail.  These things are so easily depicted in graphite on a smooth surface.  In this case, I've used the ultra smooth surface of clayboard with a variety of pencils.
These are some of the last blooms of summer time.  I always feel a little sad at the end of summer, even though I truly enjoy the beauty of the fall colors.  Nevertheless, summer flowers are fading and on their way out.
I've tried to capture the full life of the geranium with this drawing.... holding on a little longer, perhaps, to summer!  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Goodbye Summer!

Evening Embers, 10x8" oil on linen panel 
©Helen Read

ready to frame and hang
(Please add $20 shipping within the US, IL residents please add 8%sales tax) 

What a busy end to summer it has been!
I've been working on a few new things in the studio, but have had many interruptions.  So - I'm reposting this lovely sunset painting from almost exactly 1 year ago.  Don't you love the last burning rays of a summer sunset?
THIS summer, I have witnessed almost nothing of the sunsets we enjoyed last summer... it has been a much more cloudless summer, and dry.  So, I'm glad I captured the beautiful drama of the skies last summer!

I'll be posting new work soon!
Enjoy this one as a farewell to summer on this first day of fall! 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

And the winner is.....

American Goldfinch, 3x3" oil on canvas
on wooden easel 

This little painting will be making it's new home in Georgia! 

Congratulations to the contest winner,
who is one of my wonderful Newsletter Friends! 

I will be offering contests such as this one to my newsletter friends every few months. 
Newsletters should be fun!  They should have news, of course (to go along with their title), but they should offer a lot more.  And that's exactly what I've been trying to do... offer something interesting, something fun, and something you will think is valuable!  

If you aren't sure about adding your name - maybe worried about getting flooded with lots and lots of emails? - worry no longer! 
I'm just me ... I don't have a huge company with a whole lot of marketing strategies. 
Actually, I work full time as a high school art teacher and I keep regular studio hours when I'm not at work! 
As you can probably tell, I don't have time to write more than about 1x a month - and when I do, I want it to be something you'll really enjoy. 

So, I'm adding fun things each month.  The opportunity to receive discounts, participate in contests, give aways, etc come to you month by month.  And I hope we can develop some dialog so I know what is important to you and what kind of art you most enjoy. 

Scroll down to the previous blog post and you will find a sign up form. 
When you sign up for my newsletter, your name will be added to my list.  My emails come to you about the first of each month and I use a secure safe email service.  Please don't worry about your info being shared elsewhere - it never is. 
Also, when you sign up, you will get a special "thank you" email.  

So what's holding you back? 

Join the fun!
You can never have too many friends! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Don't Let This Pass You By!

That's right!  Last month, my special offer included a "member discount" for one of my newest 
paintings AND a contest to pick a winner for a free original painting! 

There's just 1 catch....

 I only make this offer available on my newsletter list.  

It's actually a win-win, because you will get: 

  • About 1 email a month with lots of visuals and news from my studio (and sometimes other news!)
  • Special monthly discounts, give-aways, and contests 
  • A chance to give me input about future projects and work. (Your opinion counts!)
  • Also, you will often see things first or hear about new ideas before anyone else does. 
  • If you send me your birthday month, I'll send you a little something special
  • New members get a little gift for signing up!
  • Being a newsletter member is  FREE!  (Not much in our world is free, when you think about it)
  • And your information is safe - I use a secure service and I never share your information 

It's so easy to sign up.  Just fill out the information below and you'll be signed up and will receive the next newsletter which will come out around the first part of October!  

So, why not? 
There's nothing to lose and lots that you'll enjoy receiving from me!
And while I'm thinking of it, maybe you have friends whom you know would be interested in joining too.  
So please share my information with them.
(And let me know by email if you referred a friend.  If they become a member, I'll send you a thank you!)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

By Any Other Name....

Unfolding, 8x8" graphite on clayboard
©Helen Read 

$120.00(Please add $12.00 domestic shipping, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

Every day at school,  I teach students the art of drawing.  Now that
school has started this fall, I'm back in my classroom teaching students to see and draw
Shape and Space
To shade for light and shadow (Value)

Yes, it can be pains taking.  It can take a long while to accomplish what the eye sees.
It takes time and perseverance to achieve the sense of 3 dimensions rising from a 2 dimensional surface. 
But, the results are so pleasing.  Even black, white, and gray comes alive! 

While I do love color - I also love the simple beauty of graphite drawing! 

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