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Monday, March 25, 2019

Let's start at the Beginning.....


Yes,  even for the artist - a well thought out plan for a painting is vital.
For me, it starts with a reference picture - and imagination.... what could this be?  
I think about color schemes and the basic warmth or coolness I want to portray - even in something as basic as a landscape picture.  The reference picture is only that - a reference... it doesn't dictate the final work. 

Before getting out a canvas to begin, I do thumbnail sketches to be sure of my composition and I do value studies to compare various values within the composition.  These are done in my sketchbook - as well as notes about what I'm imagining.   And for me, I pray... for added insight, for guidance, for the ability to give this idea and painting more than what might be obvious.   

In my plans for this new painting - which will be a beautifully sculptural overhanging tree, greens are predominant.  So I've done a brightly colored underpainting in magenta, purples, and peaches. 

 With a thinned down purple, I've sketched in the basic shape of the tree - it has a graceful arch to the left.  There will be the suggestion of woods behind it, but the main idea is the tree, in all its abundance. 

 The sky holes in this foliage of the tree are very light.  They range from peach to lavender.  I've created the general area for them, but will go back with additional color before I'm done. 

 I've added some shadows in cooler tones, and started putting in some foliage.  But I'm thinking about the kinds of greens I want to add, and how to make them more interesting - how can I juxtapose them with other colors to make them sparkle or tone them down?  

After this step - I felt I needed to understand my green possibilities more completely.  I made some color studies of the various greens that I have and mixed with the various yellows - I was able to see my range of colors from a very blue-green through a very gray green with all the stops in between. 
Color studies take some time to do... but it's valuable time.  Time spent  that will give me complete understanding and control over the range of this color, green.  

My work on this painting, which measures 20x 16" continues....  planning creates a strong start. 
As I get further on, I will pay close attention to values as well as colors... values are even more important than actual color!  

As this painting comes together, I'll post more!  Keep watching to see it unfold.  Even though I have an idea of it's outcome - it's final form will be something I do not yet totally envision.   I mentioned above that I pray - and I do... it may sound crazy - we don't often think of it this way, but the Creator of all is the Greatest Artist - and has a great delight in the creation of art, lending guidance and help all along the way when we ask.  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Value of Sketchbooks

After a long, trying (and tiring day), working in a sketchbook - for no final outcome - just for therapy can be just the thing that brings balance back again.  This past week, I've had such a day.  In the evening, I had nothing left - and my mind was not settled.  So... quiet music, a pen, a sketchbook, and a photo from which to work  ~  and balance was found.  (A good night's sleep also helped!) 

Using a sketchbook has so many benefits.  It is a place for visual journaling.  It is a place to write and draw, to work out compositions, to just think in a more visual way.   It's not something that will likely be shared or seen, but that's not the purpose!  The purpose is personal. 

Grab your sketchbook!  Let it help you bring balance back into the day!  It's good therapy! 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Delphinium! A free download for my friends :)

I love my friends!  I painted this little watercolor with them in mind! 
Each month, my news comes right into their inbox - and they can get an inside look into what's happening in my studio and in my busy life!   But also, I offer DISCOUNTS on my work,  we contribute to great causes, and I have give aways or downloads.  Sometimes there are contests to win original works of art.

The delphinium painting you see above is a free download to my friends this month! 

It's always fun and it's great to stay in touch... Join us, won't you!
It's easy!  Hit the button below or you can text the word HELEN to 22828.
Let's start a great friendship!!

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Lovely Lavender

Lovely Lavender,  6x9" oil on gessoboard
©Helen Read 

$135.00 - unframed
(domestic shipping included, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

$165 -  framed in a contemporary black frame (see below)
(domestic shipping included, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

What is more magical than a field with row after row of lavender in bloom!?  The beautiful color, the wonderful scent!   All of the senses are brought to life!  And this painting captures all of it. 

Sold unframed so that you can add your own frame, or if you'd like to have it all ready to go, I'll add a contemporary black frame to set apart and show off it's colors and it will be ready to hang.
(Please allow about 2 weeks before shipping, if sold framed)

Please visit my website to see additional works! 

And it's never too late to join my list of newsnote friends.... I love to give away art, to offer freebies, and to stay in touch!  Join me!  It's easy... just text the word  HELEN  to 22828, and you're in!  

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Evening Lagoon

Evening Lagoon,  24x36" Oil on canvas 
©2019 Helen Read 

Much bigger in size - and maybe bolder than I usually paint - this painting has been in progress over the past few weeks. And now, I'm calling it finished!  There's always some satisfaction in coming to the end a work... and larger ones that take longer magnify that feeling. 

I've been sensing a desire for some changes in my work in the previous months.  I desire to show more color, more vivacity, more joy in immersing oneself in the beauty of nature.  More delight in the Creator who gives us such beauty to enjoy.  I also have been looking for more freedom - freedom to interpret and imagine - freedom of brushstroke and expression.  This painting has allowed me to go in that direction.  

It is framed in a contemporary black wooden frame and will be ready to ship after an upcoming exhibit. 

$2300 framed and ready to hang.
$2200 unframed.
Domestic Shipping included! 

$65.00 discount given for payment made through Zelle or Apple Pay.  

Please contact me by email  for more details  

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Painting Process

The painting process is nearing the finish line.  For this larger painting (2'x3') it has been in some weeks of work - in between other things of life - like my daily job! 

This one started out with a reference picture I took nearby ~ which was January drab.  Everything gray and overcast.  I began by working out a composition from my photos.  
Then, I planned the basic color palette - for this one a split complementary.  Yellows with violet-red and violet-blue.  I wanted to push the color into places where I did not see it in the reference photos. 

The more important thing than color in a landscape is value.  If I get the values right - then the color is pretty secondary... it still ends up being a believable painting.  And in working with color in a more vivid dramatic way, I am speaking a message that I want to convey.  
Joy - Freedom - Peace - but also energy, which is seen in the purposeful and bold brush marks. 

As I was working on this painting, I began to think about how God may have created his beautiful work of art - earth's surface with vegetation and topography ~ full of life!  And yet - what we see isn't always this kind of beauty.  But perhaps, vibrancy is how He intended us to see it!  
Perhaps a radiant color and glorious light is really how it was created to be. 
What if that is how it will one day be restored?  

These are thoughts that have been infused into this painting - and they represent a truth about our Creator... 
He has good intentions toward us.  He has good intentions toward his creation.  His good intentions are peace, fullness, well-being, flourishing, thriving, joy, goodness ~ the reality of all being just as it should be.  
All of it represents Hope - for us now and for the future.  

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Full color! Continued work

 Ah... color.  Beautiful color.  Starting with the colorful under painting (you can scroll down to the previous post), I'm now committed to color.  In fact, I'm moving away from traditional or realistic colors and finding a new palette... which in the end I hope will be much more filled with energy but still believable.   

This painting measures 2' x 3" and the top photo shows the most recent work done today.  I'd love to stay in my studio and work for large blocks of time - however, I have classes to teach, grading to do, meetings to attend, and other daily chores.  So I have limits on the amount of time I can spend each day.  But, it is moving pretty quickly as I work with a loose style ... and the preplanning for my palette of colors, for values and composition helps reduce the time spent figuring things out with wet paint in hand!  
I plan to have this finished and framed in the next couple weeks so that it can be included in a solo exhibit in March and April. 

Paint on!!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

COLOR, Color, color

Today, as I write this - our high temperature of the day was   -15˚F.   And, and all of nature is gray or covered in white. Is it just me - or - does this time of year cause us to long for color?  Bright, expressive, beautiful color is in short supply, so I'm in my studio creating it!   This large painting-to-be (2'x3') has it's under painting finished ~  which, in my color-starved opinion is quite lovely just as it is!  But - it will become a landscape painting.  The work is underway and since I'm home (everything is cancelled because of the polar vortex we are experiencing) I have a couple days to work without interruption.   (That's a rare thing!)

It's exciting to anticipate what it will become - I have planned it out, of course - and know the way in which I will be directing it to unfold... and yet, the surprise of it's final form is something I don't fully know!  I'll post more soon! :)  

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Beautiful Color!

Peacock, 8x6" colored pencil on paper
(matted in white to fit 10x12" frame)
©2019 Helen Read

(domestic shipping included - IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 
Ready to frame! 

Color! Color!  It's found everywhere in God's beautiful creation!  Vivid and bold, showy and bright!  Peacocks embody the very idea of gorgeous, overflowing color!  If you've ever seen a peacock up close in sunlight, they shimmer with iridescent greens and blues and golds.   At this gray time of year, color is pure therapy!  Just what my artist's eye needs! 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

My January Give Away - Flying to San Diego

This little mini painting - 3x3" oil on canvas with a display easel - has been won by one of my newsletter friends!  From snowy Chicagoland to warm, sunny San Diego - it has found it's new home.  It's easy to find out the details about the contests I have every few months where I give away a little painting.

Text the word Helen to 22828 to be added to my friends list!  (Or you can click the button below.)  You'll be the happy recipient of a news note each month - and in it, you'll find something fun each time... discounts, free downloads, news, contests, etc.  You've nothing to lose, and lots to look forward to!  Besides, you can never have too many friends!  :) 

Join me - let's be friends!

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

In 2019 - Set a Goal and Keep It!

photo - rawpixel on unsplash

    As a visual artist, I've become a big believer in goals. But setting goals can be tricky, and maybe a little overwhelming. My best intentions can be so easily overtaken and left in the dust by life! It's happened to me - more than I might like to admit. But, I doubt I'm the only one...

    As this new year is just beginning, it's a good time to set some goals - make a plan for where to go this year and how I plan to get there. I found some interesting statistics from a Forbes Article citing a study done by the University of Scranton. The study found that only 58% of us make any kind of resolution or goal at the beginning of a year.... 42% of us don't even try. The article goes on to say that about 8-9% of goals setters succeed in achieving them and 49% have some success. So the good news is that setting goals has value, and the best success comes from clear and specific goals. Isn't that hopeful!?
    This is what I've found helpful and successful in my own life these last few years:
Read more

Friday, January 4, 2019

There's still time to enter and WIN!!

This little guy is ready to fly! 

This little 3x3" oil on canvas mini painting with a little easel for display will be winging its way to a new home... and it will be a free gift to one of my friends!   In a few days when my once a month friends news note comes to your inbox, you'll get all the details!  

Oh,  you don't get my news note?  

Well, that's easy to fix!  All you have to do is text the word Helen to 22828 and you can sign up.
or  just click the button below. 

Here's what you get when you receive my news note!
Fun news and downloads,  discounts and contests, and you get a glimpse into life as it comes to me! 
You can be sure you won't get inundated by notes from me all the time ( who has time for reading that?  and I don't have time to write and send more than 1x a month)   And you can be sure your email is never shared - I use a secure email service.  
Really, there's nothing at all to lose!  And, since you are a friend, I love sharing stuff with you!  
So, before you forget - or before my newsletter comes out and you've missed it, sign up now!!    I can't wait to send you the details in the first few days of January!! 

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Last painting of 2018 - Gloaming

Gloaming,  12x9" oil on gessoboard
©2018  Helen Read

(ready to frame)
Domestic shipping included,   IL residents please add 8% sales tax.

Here in northern IL, December and January - even all the way into March - can be quite gray, and... well, drab. 
And the hunger for color begins to gnaw at the artist's heart.  
So, this painting is my shout out to color, in response to a monochromatic world.   
I used color to say, really, how beautiful the bare landscape can be.  The trees with their reflections stand as sentinels keeping watch for the return of life.   This painting also has additional depth with texture - the brushstrokes being allowed to sit on top of layers of color.   

It's drying now, but will soon be available to send!  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 - What a Year!

A lot has happened in the last 12 months! 

Late December is a good time to look back and take stock of where you've been!   Quite helpful for charting a course for where you are going.... 
It's been a busy year!  Here are some of the 2018 highlights from my studio, and I'd love to invite you to visit my website to see more! 

Winter Light - Snowscape - 10x8" oil on linen panel

Click here for more info

Autumn Birches,  11x14" oil on canvas

click here for more info

Summer Shadows, 12x9" oil on canvas

Click here for more info

Coneflower Fields, 8x10" oil on linen panel

Click here for more info

Sunshine and Shadow, 9x6" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info 

Country Cottage, 12x9" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Perfect Beauty, Peony Bloom,  7x5" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Royal Purple, 9x12" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Winter Glow,  7x5" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info
These are representative of this year's work, but not all of what happened in my studio. 
And now, I'm getting excited for what the new year will hold!   

I'd love to keep you up to date with what's happening each month... and give you all the exciting news of the next things coming!    You can be added to my friends list where you'll get fresh news in you inbox, as well as cool discounts, get to participate in free art give aways, get downloadable gifts each month and more!   
Just text the word Helen to 22828   or click the button below!  We all are encouraged and enriched by friendship, and I value yours! 


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