Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Looking Back - Lily Watercolor

3 Sisters - Descanso Lilies,  7.5 x 9.5" Watercolor on Yupo
©Helen Read, 2014
matted in white to fit a 11x14" frame
(Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Almost a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit Descanso Gardens near Los Angeles.  I found these three lilies and their beautiful foliage.  What a delightful visit!   This little watercolor is done on Yupo paper, which is a smooth synthetic paper that does not absorb any water.  The interesting patterns of paint that you see are what happens as the paint pools and puddles before it dries.  It all happens in somewhat random patterns, and are beautiful in and of themselves.  

This lovely painting is matted and ready to frame in an 11 x 14" frame. It needs a permanent home! 
I would love to send it to you!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Continuing the progress - floral watercolor

I put this one aside for a few weeks while working on other paintings - and now have picked this up to move forward with it again.  I've been working with the panel to the left --- and decided to paint in dried twigs and leaves, as one would find fallen on the ground.  That idea began to speak to me as I thought of a metaphor in my own life --- out of what is dried and dead spring new life and color and beauty.  More is still needed on this - its not finished.   I hope to continue moving it along and will post its final rendition soon! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TBT - Green Orchid Watercolor

Orchid in Green, 7 x 10" watercolor on paper
©2010, Helen Read
Matted in white to fit 11x14" and frame
($10.00 shipping in US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

This little orchid watercolor is from 5 years ago!  There aren't too many paintings from that time still sitting in my studio, but this one is ... and it needs a new home!   Maybe a little bit of green would bring spring time hope to you during this long siege of winter ... or make a nice St. Patrick's Day gift!??
Its available and ready to send!

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Forest Secrets

Forest Secrets, 6.5 x 9" Oil Pastel on Illustration Board
©2015, Helen Read 
Matted in white and ready to frame in 11 x 14" frame
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)


A couple lines from a Pablo Neruda poem, Lost in the Forest, caught my attention: 
"... Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth..."
Have you ever felt the secrets of the forest press in as you've journeyed through?  Mysterious, lovely ... yet, the unknown awaits.   This can be true literally or figuratively.  It seems that I'm ever on that journey, finding my way through - captured by the beauty, and yet also containing that measure of uncertainty for all it holds.
And so I remember this: 
"Don't fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray!  Let requests and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down."   Philippians 4:6-7 From The Message


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Island Sunset

Island Sunset  10x8" Oil on gessoed panel 
©2015 Helen Read


Can you hear the chirp of the night insects and the frogs as the sun sets?  Can you feel the warm breeze and hear the quiet rustle of the sea grasses?  Do you hear the quiet call of a few shore birds at the end of the day? 
This was the setting this summer as I sat watching the sun slip behind the horizon just a few miles off the coast of Georgia on Jekyll Island.  The peace and quiet of the sunset was truly breath taking.  The dramatic sky of dark clouds shot through with vivid colors, almost beyond description, was lovely to watch - and then it began to dissolve into darkness.  But this moment was captured and it quietly stands still for time. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Setting Sun -- a work in progress

This is still a work in progress.  I am working on how to portray a dramatic sky, just as night is falling - without it being too garish and yet trying to depict the colors and value changes authentically. 
I took this photo during the summer as I watched night descend over the water on the eastern coast of Georgia.  The colors were just spectacular - unreal!  

The foreground hasn't been painted yet - the values are very dark with sea grasses in clumps. I hope to post the final painting in the very near future. 
This is 8x10 and I have used oil on a gessoed board. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

.... Its in that awkward in-between stage

Do you ever feel that way?  I do...  all the time.  I don't remember ever Not feeling that way along the way in any work of art I'm working on!  And its never comfortable... and I often feel like starting again - or throwing it out.  But, usually when I keep working through the problems, I find I work through it some how.   But, in the meantime, its frustrating.     So there ya have it!  That's what I am feeling about this one right now.    I'm taking a little break from it! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A larger floral watercolor progresses

Started last week, this larger watercolor is progressing. My goal is to capture the sparkle and vibrancy of the colors.  And I also plan to do something to make the background a little more interesting.   It is larger than many of my recent watercolors.  It measures 22 x 15". 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Coastal Water Sunset

Coastal Water Sunset, 6x4" watercolor on paper
©2015 Helen Read 
matted in white to fit an 8x10" frame
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax.) 

This summer, I had the opportunity to see this sunset.  I visited a small island in the southeast. The colors and the contrast of light against dark were stunning!  Breath taking, really....
I can still hear the sounds of the night; crickets, frogs, the sound of the wind in the sea grass... and of course, a few insects buzzing.    This small painting is an eye catcher for its color and contrast!  It would make a bright spot in any room.  It is ready to send!

Monday, January 19, 2015

First marks!

A new idea - a new work in the works!! 

I don't know what kind of light in which I took the top picture!   It really is white watercolor paper! 
In the next picture, it looks more correct - and you can also see the size of this one next to the 18" ruler to the left. 
I'm interested in creating the flowers, of course, but also doing something interesting with the background. Its uncharted territory for me - so we shall see how it all comes together!  Experiments are always a bit risky and the unknown is predominant until the last few marks are made. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wrapped in Cellophane

Candy Cane - 7 x 10.5" colored pencil on paper
©2014 Helen Read 

The last big project I have my drawing students do each semester is a colored pencil still life.  It is the culmination of the skills they've learned during the semester.  From a simple line drawing - to the skills of transferring a picture using a grid - to learning to shade with precision - to composition - to color theory - to finally the freehand drawing of a still life and "painting" with colored pencil.  While they were working on their drawings, I worked on this small one (when I wasn't helping them!)  
However, I was intrigued by the plastic wrapping as well as the candy.  Here's what came of it!  Lots of fun... and quite a challenge! 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Reflecting on Goethe ~ Thoughts on Faith and Creating

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe,   1749-1832

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy – the chance to draw back.  Always ineffectiveness.
    Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth ~ the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. The moment that one definitely commits one’s self  - then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  Whatever you can do or dream you can – begin it! Boldness has genius, power,
and magic in it!” 

I recently came upon this quote from Goethe, and it found its way deeply into my mind as I turned this over and thought about it for the next few days.  As an artist, it resonated with me and hit at some of the areas where I continually struggle.  Here are some of my thoughts as I challenge myself regarding his statement of more than 200 years ago. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Same subject - 2 mediums

I've wanted to do this for awhile.... and today I did!  I wanted to show the same subject in a few different media, in order to show what a different presentation they would make.  Here is the proof! 
The same reference picture ...  one done in oil pastels and the other done in watercolor.  You can certainly see that they come from the same reference - however - the overall sense of the finished piece is quite different.   Interesting!  Both the media (and the technique required to use it) and the supports are completely different.  Predictably, the finished works look completely different! 

Along the Roadside,  7.5 x 7.5 oil pastel on illustration board
©2015  Helen Read
matted in white and ready to frame in a 12x12" frame
(please add $10.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 

Dappled Light - Roadway, 8x6" watercolor on Yupo
©2015 Helen Read 
matted in white and ready to frame in a 12 x 10" frame 
(Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Finally, it is finished

Atop the Plateau,  20 x 24" Oil on canvas
©2014  Helen Read 
commissioned - SOLD

If you've been watching, this painting has taken some time to come together, but it is finally finished. 
It was commissioned and there was not any particular reference picture - but rather, a series of pictures to get the "idea" of what was wanted.  The person who commissioned it has been sent photos during the process to approve - and very soon, it will be sent off to its new home in New York.  
The paint is still drying - and it will need to be scanned on a large scanner.  Then, I will build a crate for it and it will be on its way!  
Its always exciting to create something that someone has envisioned, work with them through the process, and send off the final rendition for their home.
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