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Monday, January 20, 2020

Autumn Enchantment

Autumn Enchantment, 30 x 24" oil on canvas 
©2020 Helen Read 

Oh, the colors of a beautiful fall day are, well... enchanting!  They play off one another with such glory and brilliance.  One color sets off another and the whole landscape glows!  This painting focuses on the multicolored beauty of autumn.  It's highly textured, much of it was done using a palette knife.  Complementary colors are juxtaposed to create a vibrant, eye-catching tension, that is resolved by the softness off the shadows.  

This one is offered with two options - ready for YOU to frame, or framed in a simple black wooden frame that is about 1.5" wide.  Autumn Enchantment is just that, and will be a strong focal point to any room. 

Option 1 - (ready to frame) 
(includes domestic shipping.  IL residents please ad 8% sales tax) 

Option 2 - Framed - simple black wooden frame (1.5")
(includes domestic shipping.  IL residents please ad 8% sales tax) 

Got questions?    Let me answer them!  Send an email at this link.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

My January "give away" ....

That's right -  GIVE AWAY!    Every few months, I paint a little mini painting and give it to a friend. 
Tomorrow, I'll pick the name - it's not too late!  
You'll need to text the word    HELEN  to 22828 to join my list,  then send me an email 
with the word contest in the subject line.  

That's it!   What you'll get from me is a once a month email with fun stuff (like the give away contest), and newsy updates, and downloadable art... and other things that I think you'd like.   It's a fun way to stay in touch and enjoy the world of art together!  

So easy!
Take a second and join me now! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Looking Back - What's ahead?

Was a year of steady artistic growth and pushing beyond the boundaries of what's comfortable. 
That seems right - doesn't it?  Artists take risks.... that's just part of the path. 
Getting out of our comfort zone... is where things really start to take shape. 
That looks different for each of us. 

Here's a bit of where 2019 took me

 Color became more saturated and color harmonies became more of the focus. 
This final painting shows where I'm headed.  It is still unfinished - the bottom section only shows the underpainting, but I continue to explore color and how to make it sing with relationships and juxtapositions.

 All of these and many more can be seen at my website!  

2020 - I'm excited to see what it will hold!  

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Happy New Year! 2020 is coming and so is a GIVE-AWAY!

Scarlet Taninger Minipainting -  3x3" oil on canvas w/it's display easel
©2019  Helen Read

What a great way to start the new year and the new decade! 

This little painting and its easel will be given to someone somewhere in a random drawing!  
For the last several years, I've sent these little mini paintings as free gifts all over the country.  I can't think of a better way to start the new year! 

What do you have to do to enter?  

It's easy!   Join my list of friends and you'll get an email in the first week of January with all the details about how to enter!  
When you are part of my list, you'll get a colorful, fun email each month filled with things like: 
  • The latest art from my studio & process photos and videos
  • News that is fun to share 
  • Discounts from time to time  
  • Free downloadable art 
  • And friend to friend conversation  
To join,  you can text the word Helen to 22828  or 
You can hit the button below.
(Don't worry... Your email is safe - I use a secure email service and it is never shared.  And, you won't be inundated with email from me... you'll only hear from me once a month, with an occasional special message.) 

Join me!!  You can never have too many friends!  

Yes! Let's be friends!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Coming Soon!! Another Give Away Contest

Every few months, I give away - completely free - a small painting and it's easel.  
In January, I'll be giving away another small painting!  

Maybe you'd like to enter the contest... Maybe YOU will be my next winner!

In early January, my newsletter will be sent with all the information about how to enter.  No strings attached! If your name is randomly picked, then I'll get your address, wrap this little painting up and send it off!  
I've sent quite a few of them around the country in the last several years.  

Here's how you can join my email list! 

Text the word HELEN to 22828 


Hit the button below.
Yes! Sign me up!
You'll get an email each month from me with all kinds of fun things, 
including a free art download to print and enjoy every month. 

I love to stay in touch!  This is a great way to do that.... Let's be friends!! 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Colored Pencil Creation

From a few years ago...  A demo done for my drawing students.
This little drawing shows the strengths of colored pencil and the beautiful results that they can achieve. 

This is small - done with prismacolor pencils on black drawing paper. 

The challenge was in the plastic wrapper... but careful attention to the values and subtle changes in color give a sense of 3 dimensions.  

As I post this - my classes are embarking on their colored pencil drawings!  It's a lot to learn, but I think they will create some beautiful work! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Step into Fall Color!

How does an artist prepare for a painting? 
Reference Picture

Well, there are several ways. First there are sketches and value studies... particularly for a larger work, this is an important (indispensable first step). 

I loved the twisted tree - so sculptural - and the mysterious path that leads away from the tree. 
A sketch of the general shape - and some of the main values was a first step.
(A closer view below)

Then, reducing the values to just 3 helps to see how the values connect and hold the composition together. 
This is the beginning of determining how the artist can draw the viewers eye through the painting.

 Then, color.  
Color schemes?  Color harmonies and how to mix and portray that color...
Planning color is important.  A wild array of colors - even though they might be seen in nature - need some taming!  In the first iteration, I used oil pastels to consider some color combinations. 
And after that, I used acrylic paint to work with those same color combinations and how to lay down the color in strokes.  (You can see the color is a bit more vivid in acrylic, so which way will I go when it comes to using oil??)

And below, the first strokes on a larger  (24x20") canvas.  

This is general placement of the main element.  I toned the canvas with rose and have washed in the twisted tree and some general landmarks with a thinned down cadmium red.  

These are the steps of preparation.  I'm still identifying the color combinations and exactly how I want to lay in the strokes.    Will it look just like the reference picture?  No... and that's fine - after all, I already have the photo of it! Now I want to interpret that sense of being there - the beauty of the fall colors - the invitation to walk further on - the sense of peace within that moment.

Oh, hey - are you a creative person - an artist - or - someone just stepping into their creative purpose!?
Well, join me!   I send out emails on a regular basis to those who would love some creative inspiration and who enjoy getting tips and demos!   Its so much better to have friends on the journey with us.... so, join us!!
Click the button to get added ~ then start looking for inspiration to come into your inbox!  

Yes! I want inspiration!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

A November Featured Painting

Three Long Necked Pears,  8x10" oil on canvas 
©Helen Read
Ready to frame! 
(domestic shipping included,  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)  

Fall harvest, beautiful colors!   This painting ~ a very classical still life ~ speaks the language of fall!
 Ready to be framed and to bring beautiful color and a sense of cozy autumn scents into your home!

The perfect gift for yourself or someone you know!

Visit my website to see more possibilities!  

Saturday, November 9, 2019

A free downloadable watercolor

Field of Flowers 
©Helen Read - watercolor on paper 

Every month, I send out a fun, colorful note to my friends...  I love to stay in touch!   You'll get to see some of my newest work, be offered some discounts, get to participate in give away contests, and download free art.  All of this right in your inbox!  How convenient! 

I'd love to add you to my list.  The little watercolor painting you see above is the coming month's downloadable art.  Don't worry, your info will never be shared.

All you need to do is text the word HELEN to 22828 
hit the button below!  

Let's be Friends! 

Sign Me Up!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Into the Woods

Sometimes, just a simple daily activity can be inspiring - and for the creative spirit, some sort of response is required. 
                  It could be a moment in time - to stand and look and to remark on the beauty.
                  It could be poem written or a song composed that defines the feeling
                  It could be a painting that captures a moment in time and a sense of being there.  

Last weekend, it was a beautiful day - fall colors just starting to turn their glorious colors.  Warm sunshine.  Perhaps it is one of our last warm days until 2020!   It was the perfect afternoon to take a walk into the woods. 

The colors were striking.   The shadows provided rich contrast.  At the end of the summer, there is a chaotic wildness to the forest.  Growth and over growth.  Deep recesses where light does not reach.  And a calmness interrupted by the scurrying of squirrels, or the flutter of birds preparing for winter's rest. 

This quick water color sketch is meant to capture the feeling of the moment - the depth of shadow - the mystery that lies beyond - the warmth of sunshine that creates invitation.  It was quickly caught without great attention to perfection.  The water and the pigment wandering a little beyond their boundaries to blend and run and leave behind their signature;  a type of beautiful chaos that defines the landscape at this time of year.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Sage Hen Reservoir

Sage Hen Reservoir,  24x20" oil on canvas
©2019  Helen Read 
ready to frame

Ready to frame
Includes domestic shipping.   IL residents please add 8% sales tax.


Sage Hen Reservoir, captures the clear light of high elevations. The colors are intense and there is a sparkle in the bright mountain light. We arrived at this lovely lake after a lengthy drive through a dusty, barren high desert climb. Then, a dense evergreen forest with this bright blue gem nestled between it's branches. Truly magical! 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Do you love gifts?

Well, I love to give gifts! 

Every month, I give away my artwork...  Yep - it's free!  
It's a free download that my friends can download and print for their own enjoyment.  

There really isn't any "catch" - it's just a gift.  
When you get my once-a-month news note - the download is right there.  

Oh, and also, I often have a contest for a free painting that I mail to you snail-mail (see the post below), there are discounts that last a month and of course, news from my side of the easel, too!    So.... why wouldn't you join me? 
It's good to have friends!

Its so easy to sign up!  There are 2 ways:
Text the word  HELEN to 22828
Click the button below. That's all there is to it!  

Yes! Let's be Friends!

Friday, September 27, 2019

October is nearly here!! A GIVE AWAY contest is coming!

Oriole Chick, 3x3" oil on canvas, with wooden easel
For the past few years,  I've been giving away mini paintings! 
No strings attached - just a free gift to the lucky winner! 

This month this little painting will be given to someone who enters... and it could be you!  
My little paintings have landed all over the United States and
I'd love to send one to you!  

It's easy to enter.  I send a fun little note to my friends once a month, and all the details will be in that note.  You can get it right in your inbox.  Also included are great discounts that only last a month, and a downloadable painting that you can print and enjoy! 

It's super easy - and fun for all!   
There are 2 ways you can join my group of friends:
You can text the word HELEN to 22828  
you can sign up with the button below.  

In the first week or so of October, you'll get an email note from me that has news and an inside look at what's happening on my side of the easel as well as the other fun things I've already mentioned.  

Let's be Friends!  

Yes! Let's be Friends!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Love beautiful color? Creative Expression? Artsy Friends?

Yes, Friends!!  
My next news note is coming out in the next week - and there is always lots of great stuff (free stuff, even) included!!  Special offers, free gifts, give aways, peeks at new work, and good conversations. 

Please join us!  We love you already! 

You can text the word HELEN to 22828 or hit the button below to be added. 

(Don't worry!  Your info is never ever shared - and I use a secure email server!
Who likes spam?  I know I don't!  
And you won't be overflowing with email from me either! 
I send a note once a month!)  

You can never have too many friends!

Yes! Let's be friends!
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