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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Actual sized sketch

Working on a LARGE charcoal sketch - 24 x 36".  I'm thinking of my next landscape - wondering if this one will be workable.  I've been trying to get a composition to work - adjusting elements for balance - adjusting values and shapes...  I need to look at this some more to know if it will work! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ready for exhibit!

Quiet Water, 12x9" oil on linen panel
Framed - ready to hang - available (framing is optional)  

Arbor Path, 16x12" oil on canvas
Framed - ready to hang - available (framing is optional) 

For most of the month of February, these 2 landscape paintings will be exhibited in an invitational show featuring fine arts teachers of western DuPage county.  

You can come see these works and the works of other teachers at the DuPage Art League on Front St in Wheaton.  The opening reception is Friday (2/5) from 6-8 pm.  It should be a great showing!  Hope I'll see lots of art lover friends there!  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Golden October Landscape

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) 

Beautiful October - blue skies, golden foliage against the darker greens waiting to change colors - the garments of summer soon to be shed.   Here in the midwest, the colors are spectacular.
This painting captures the mystery of the dark shadows and the bright spotlight of the sunshine.
It is looking for its new home, perhaps it can brighten a spot in yours!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Little by little...

My work on this continues.  There's still more to do after some drying time, but I am nearing the final strokes ... I think!  

Meanwhile, I'm inundated with grading - it's finals week at work.  Then prep for a new semester!  I hope to put the finishing touches on this landscape this week!  I hope! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

A season behind!

Ah... Caught on the horns of a dilemma!  I took some great reference pictures and got a start on some fall foliage landscapes before it was winter... But with the busyness of the fall, they sat unfinished -- so I'm a season behind, but working on some things that truly caught my attention!  So - finish these or work in the snow??  Maybe some snowy landscapes will come in the spring! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Autumn at Herrick Lake - final painting of 2015

Autumn at Herrick Lake, 10 x 8" oil on canvas
©2015 Helen Read 
$180.00(Please add $20 shipping in the US.  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 
Oil on linen panel
(ready to frame) 

Its been awhile in it's completion... but here is the last painting of 2015,  Autumn at Herrick Lake.
This one started out as a monochromatic study and then, I've glazed in the layers of color, trying to create that sense of depth in the water ... being able to see a little below the surface.  Light and color reflected back.  The colors are challenging to portray - colorful but not too garish.  I tried to create a subtle glow at the top of the trees, showing the light filtering through the warmer colors. 

It's ready to frame and hang!  I'd love to send it to its new home! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A landscape in process

A finished painting requires a process.... This one is still in its process, but here you can see some of the steps and how it's unfolding

A thumbnail sketch begins my process. Here I am looking at shapes and values and trying to make some compositional decisions. 

Then a larger and more complex value study. I'm refining shapes here and trying to see all the subtleties of lights and darks.

Finally I'm ready to do a monochromatic oil sketch on canvas focusing on values as well as shapes. I want to get placements right and definitely need to simplify things!  This will become my underpainting. 

And now I'm ready to begin laying in color.  At this stage, I've just begun that process and will continue after layers dry.

From concept to finished painting, there's much to organize and consider. This painting has quite a bit left to do! Updates coming soon! 

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