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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Cat on the Wall

The Garden Wall, 6x9" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read 
$115.00 
Ready to Frame
Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, Il residents please add 8% sales tax)




Almost lost in the shadows, watchful eyes see all that happens in this shady garden!
Should a bird or butterfly happen by, there might be some drama ~ otherwise, all is quiet and peaceful! 




This summer scene is ready to frame and send to it's new home! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Summer Bouquet


Summer Scents (peonies),  7x5" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
(Ready to frame)

Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax.  



What speaks the lazy days of summer as much as a casual bouquet of peonies in an old fashioned mason jar?
These pink and white beauties are have such sweet aroma and that lovely pop of color, set against the beautiful blue of a country window and shutter.  I love the sense of calm serenity they give.

Perhaps that speak that kind of serenity to your heart.

This lovely little painting is almost dry ~ ready to find it's new home!  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Charm of Blue Doors

Street of Blue Doors,  6x6" oil on Clayboard
©2017, Helen Read 
$80.00
(Ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 



How charming!   A country village, a simple street made beautiful by the robin's egg blue of its doors and windows.    Further adornments are made by the lovely container gardens along by every window and doorway.
A small delight for the eyes.  A place of peace and a quieter pace.

This painting is ready to frame - it is done with oil on clayboard which gives it a matte finished.  The colors are reminiscent of what you might see in a quaint French village.  Maybe it is just the right pop of color for your home!  (Or the home of someone you know!)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Roses and Wine

Roses and Wine, 7x5" oil on gesso board 
©2017  Helen Read 

Another Small Gem!  The table is set!  Are you ready to be seated?
A little outdoor picnic on a warm spring day.  Roses casually set into a pitcher, wine glass and plates ready to be filled, laughter and conversation with family and friends.  Perfect! 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Small Gems


During these last few wintery months, I've been experimenting and trying some new things - and I've nicknamed these small, but brilliantly colorful little paintings "Small Gems".  They just remind me of gemstones, in a way; mostly because of their clear and brilliant color.  Sparkling!    They have been a lot of fun.  Colorful, and using a free and looser style than I've done in a long while.  Also, each of these is done on gesso board - which is a smooth, rigid surface and it allows for some very beautiful brushwork as layers are built up and the texture of the strokes shows through.

I'm interested to know what you think!  Do you like these bright and happy colors?  Do you like the looser style?  Leave a comment for me...finding out what you think is very important to me!

Some of these have already found their new home, but please scroll down and see the ones that are available.  Each is ready to ship and to frame.  (Of course, if you really like one that has found a home, a similar one can be created!)


French Peonies,  5x7" Oil on gesso panel 
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)







Spring Tulips, 12x9" Oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
(ready to frame)
$245.00 
(Please add $20 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 
 






Sunflowers in Cobalt, 7x5" Oil on Gesso Board
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
Ready to Frame
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 






Poppies in Bloom, 6x12" Oil on gesso board 
©2017, Helen Read
$160.00
(ready to frame) 
(Price includes shipping in the US.  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)




Lavender Fields, 5x7" Oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)





Chicago Flower Market, 7x5" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

French Peonies

French Peonies,  5x7" Oil on gesso panel 
©2017 Helen Read 
$80.00
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)



Such beautiful color - like gemstones in bloom!   Beautiful restful colors of blue and pink.  You can almost smell their delicate scent.  A reminder that it is a wonderful thing to slow down, breathe deeply, and find delight in the colors of springtime.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Field in Bloom!


Poppies in Bloom, 6x12" Oil on gesso board 
©2017, Helen Read 

$160.00
(ready to frame) 
(Price includes shipping in the US.  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)




Late Spring brings about beautiful blooms.  And this small landscape boasts a field of red as poppies dance in the wind.  This painting is created in a long and thin format that lends that sense of wide open spaces. 
It is ready to send and will bring a bright spot of color with a touch of Old World charm.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sunshine and Blue


Sunflowers in Cobalt, 7x5" Oil on Gesso Board
©2017 Helen Read
$80.00
Ready to Frame
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 



Color!   Beautiful color all around us - in the simple things - in the everyday things - in creation.
And not just 1 color can be seen in a particular thing, but a whole world of colors!
To me, this is a joyful thing - a celebration for the eye.  (And for the spirit, too!)

I've always been attracted to the bold beauty of sunflowers, and here, they are off set by the deep blue of a cobalt pitcher.  They seem to have been made for each other!  


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February was a busy month!

It's always fun to look back a little bit and see what has happened in the past few weeks.  I've done some smaller paintings on gesso board.  Working out some new ideas in color and in brushwork.  Here's a little sampling of some of my explorations





I love the brilliant colors and experimenting with new ideas...  What do you think?  Do you love color too, and a painterly effect? 


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spring is on it's way!

Spring Tulips, 12x9" Oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
(ready to frame)
$245.00 
(Please add $20 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

 


Ah... spring time.   In the northern part of the country, it can be a long wait.   The beauty of spring flowers reminds my heart that spring will soon be here in all it's beauty.  Tulips are one of the first messengers!
I love their soft colors and the simplicity of a simple jar of flowers.   This composition is clothed in soft colors of spring time, with luscious passages of texture in the brushwork.
It is ready to send to it's new home! 


Monday, February 6, 2017

Coffee Anyone?!

Last summer.... 

I was contacted by a design firm in San Francisco.  They were interested in the drawing you see above, Curvature. 
I did this colored pencil drawing about 6 years prior...and had sort of forgotten about it!
They thought it would be just right for a coffee company to use on their packaging -
was I interested in selling the rights to it's use? 

After some discussion, that's just what happened - and now, these months later, the bags have been printed.
You can see the background of the coffee bag is a how they used my work.  (And, I've been told that they are using the image on boxes too, but I haven't seen those yet)


It was only after our agreement that I found out it was Peet's Coffee that was the buyer! 
I couldn't be happier!  They also bought the original work. 

All of this came about rather unexpectedly, but most happily!
I think that's called Serendipity! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Flowers for Valentine's Day!

Give Your Valentine Flowers that Never Fade!

For my friends who are on my newsletter list, I'm offering a special 20% discount on these floral paintings until Valentine's Day.  Now would be a great time to join my list and get a little Valentine's Day love! 




My list is secure and never shared.  And you won't be inundated with mail from me either.  You'll get an update about once a month.   See below for how to join me, so you can receive some special offers and all the latest news! 

Winter Blossoms, 8x10" Oil on canvas panel
©2017, Helen Read

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sunspots on a Summer Afternoon


Sunspots,  12x9" Oil on linen panel
©2017  Helen Read

$245.00
Ready to Frame
(Please add $20 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax)


On a warm afternoon in late summer, most of the terrain is in shadow ... except for those few brightly lit spots of sunshine that seem to beckon.  I was drawn to the beautiful reflective water with those distance spots of warm sunshine being the perfect complement to the shadowy greens.
Peaceful, serene and yet quite alluring. 

Have you ever wondered how a painting gets started?   

You can see the beginning steps for this painting by scrolling down a few entries or just click here!
The research and the preparatory steps may surprise you! 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Getting started on a new painting

I always find it interesting to see the process an artist uses in their work, don't you?  My process is always being re-evaluated and perfected, so I don't feel like I have "arrived".  But, these first steps do seem to work well to get a new painting started.  

I start with a few thumbnails sketches: 



Thumbnails are quite rough ~ they are a true sketch.  In a thumbnail, I check out the composition - rearrange things if necessary, simplify a little, and see which format I think will work best.  Here, I've tried a horizontal and square format - and below, I have used the vertical format.  This is the format I think will work best, so I've made a few field notes here as well - mostly noting where lights and shadows play an important role. 

When doing a value study, connecting the darker values is also important.  This will help tie the composition together and allow the eye to flow along.  Isolated dark values need to connect somehow to other dark values.
This is where artists may want to use a notan drawing to see that this is happening.


My next step it to work out values with a value study.  It is a little more detailed than a thumbnail sketch, and I'm paying much closer attention to values.  What I've found to be true is that values play an absolutely essential role in a believable landscape painting - well - probably ANY painting!!   You can see below that I made some notes about values and I've used a value scale to match them. 
Also, notice that I've been pretty careful to do this value study in the proper ratio for the canvas I will be using.

There's quite a bit of sketching in preparation for the beginning of a new painting!  But, all this will pay off as you get started! 


 I have decided on a 12x9" canvas - and I'm using a linen panel for this.  The linen is a pleasure to paint on - it has some tooth, of course, but a wonderful surface for the paint. 
In the photo below, I've made a few little marks to note where the convergence of thirds is on the canvas.

Keeping the "Rule of Thirds" in mind will help me compose an interesting arrangement.  I'm not really diverging too much from the actual scene, but I'm looking to arrange things so that the eye moves through the composition and doesn't get lost or bored or move out of the picture completely. 

The Rule of Thirds essentially says that the eye would like to see something interesting, compositionally, where the 1/3 segments of the picture plane converge.  So, there are 4 such spots on the plane.  Utilizing one of them will be a good thing to do.  There's much more to compositional rules, of course, but this is a relatively easy one to observe.


Using a light touch, I've drawn out a very simple and very minimal line drawing of the composition.  It's a little hard to see, but if you look carefully, you will see that there is a tree lying along the 1/3 marks on the left side.  I've used a 5B pencil to do this and am only marking the larger shapes.  


Now,  I'm ready to start the under painting!    Not every painting starts this way, but I like the effect and I think it helps resolve the whole idea of correct values.   I've used a combination of thinned Transparent Earth Yellow and Chromatic Black (both are Gamblin colors) to get a very neutral tone to start laying in values.  This will be a monochromatic under painting, so I'm only looking at values at this point rather than local color.


Because I'm working with thinned paint, its pretty easy to correct shapes - and even values - if I put something in the wrong place or I need to lighten values.   You can see my start above.  And a little more work on proper values in the photo below.

Now, I will let this dry and check again for proper values.  Once I'm satisfied that I have gotten the values down correctly, I will start working with color. 
That will be another post!   

I hope this has been interesting to see a process!  And it truly is a process! 
I don't really know of any artist who just sets up their canvas and palette and paints successfully without proper preparation.  And - the several hours that this has already taken to work through is just the beginning!  There will be more hours of analyzing color, mixing proper values of those colors, and applying the paint. 

Check back in a few days to watch the progress of this one.  There are some lovely passages of blues and greens that just capture the imagination and stir the heart with the beauty of God's creation! 


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