Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A new commission I've started ~ first steps

I've been commissioned to do a landscape painting of a southwest mountain scene.  And this is my beginning.  Here, you see a toned canvas (20x24") and a lightly made pencil sketch. 

This is the next step.  I've used a light wash of color to show my basic composition.  The left side of the painting is still a little vague and being worked out.    I'll keep posting as I continue with my progress! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

For special offers and discounts - join my email list!

Join now! 
This week, a newsletter will be sent  and with it a special offer to my newsletter friends! 
Its easy to do - and your information is always kept private - It will never be shared!
You don't need to worry about too many emails coming your way, either - I only have time to send about 1 per month!  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oil Pastel Landscapes!

Original Oil Pastel Landscapes 
Each of these is matted in white and ready to frame in a 9 x12" frame
Each measures 6x8" (unmatted size) and is priced at

 (Please add $10.00 shipping; IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)
Please note, if purchasing more than 1 being shipped to the same address, adjustment will be made in the form of a refund for excess shipping

I've been looking at some of my oil pastels and realized I have quite a few of them that need a home of their own!   Oil pastel paintings are lovely and expressive; lush in color and showing interesting textures.  Each of these are done in an Impressionistic style and depict different aspects of landscapes in different seasons.   I've matted each of these in white, making them ready to put into a standard 9x12" frame.  They are priced at an inviting price, and would make a distinctive gift (as the holidays approach) or would bring a delightful spot of color to your wall. 
Now is the perfect time to have one sent your way!  

 (please click the links below for links to each painting)

 Top row - left to right: 

Middle Row - left to right

Bottom Row - left to right

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From the Archives ~ Woodsy Oil Pastel

Woodland, 8.5 x 6" Oil pastel on paper
©Helen Read
matted and ready to frame in 12 x 9" frame
(please add $10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 

Have you ever wandered along a wooded trail - foggy - somewhat indistinct in the distance.  Often that type of light gives a quiet softness to the colors and shapes.  This painting gives that sense of mystery.  The style is reminiscent of the expressionists; the colors are lyrical. It invites the viewer in to walk along the pathway.
It is matted and ready to ship.  Just add your frame and its ready to hang!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Yellow Leaf!

Yellow Leaf - 5 x 3.75" mixed media on paper
matted and ready to frame in 8x6" frame
©Helen Read

(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

I thought it might be fun to find a few things from time to time that I did in the past.  These artworks are still available!  This is one that I have recently matted and its ready to frame in an 8x6" frame.  This one is from 2007.  I don't have too many works left from then, but here's an opportunity to give it a new home and brighten yours as well as you welcome fall's arriving!  Some of the first leaves to show their color change are these lovely heart-shaped leaves that turn a bright, sunny yellow.  For an amazingly low price for an original work,  bring a lovely spot of color to your book shelf or a small wall.  What a great way to celebrate the coming of fall!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hibiscus Bloom

Hibiscus Bloom, 4.5 x 4.5" watercolor and acrylic on paper
© 2014 Helen Read
matted in white matting to fit an 8x8" frame

The intensity of color in the hibiscus is quite breath taking.  And every time I see these blooms I'm reminded of a Dr. Suess creation!  How delicate, beautiful, and comical is the mind of the Creator! 
There's something quite celebratory in it, and it "cried out" to me to be remembered with a portrait!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Swedish Birches

Swedish Birches,  7x10" Oil pastel on illustration board
©2014, Helen Read 
matted in white to fit 11x14" frame

(Please add $10.00 for shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)


As a part of September's Virtual Paintout destination,  this oil pastel depicts a lovely little site in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Something about this was reminiscent of the wonderful Swedish artist, Carl Larson , whom I have long enjoyed.   He had a wonderful way of depicting life in the Swedish country side in the 1800s.   The colors and the simplicity of composition give it the peaceful feel of another era. 
This comes matted and ready to put into an 11 x 14" frame. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Callas at Sunrise

Callas at Sunrise, 12x16" Oil on canvas
©2014, Helen Read
Ready to frame
(Please add $20.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

 School has begun once again!  We are 2 weeks into our new semester, and I've been working on a larger painting.   Those 2 things have taken up time, which is the reason its been a couple weeks since my last post!  But its ready to unveil... and here it is! 

My composition came out of several reference photos I took this spring.  The callas had recently been doused with a spring shower and were absolutely beautiful.  It wasn't quite at sunrise when the photos were made, but early morning.  These three seemed to shimmer with the light, and the leaves had such an interesting ruffled effect.   A painting waiting to come into being! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lavender and Marigold

Lavender and Marigold,  4 7/8" x 7.5" watercolor/acrylic on Yupo
©2014, Helen Read
matted to fit 8x10" frame
(ready to frame)
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

I'm showing this little watercolor as it would look matted in grey. I will include a white mat for it, although you would not be able to see what it would look like matted in white here.

These beautiful flowers stood tall in my garden this summer, needing to be painted!  
A warm reminder of summer's gifts.   This is ready to send to its new home!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Edge of the Garden

The Edge of the Garden, 12 x 9" Oil on Canvas
©2014, Helen Read
Ready to Frame

(Please add $20.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)


The sun was just slipping down past the western sky, and as I glanced up I saw it lightly kiss my garden with its last light.  Everything seemed to glow golden just just a moment, as if it were being tucked in for the night. In an impressionistic style, I've tried to capture that very moment as I saw it.
A lovely moment of summer time. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Just Sold!

Selling one's work is always encouraging!  I'm happy to say that these 5 paintings sold yesterday.
Top left clockwise - 
First Breath of Spring,  8x8" Oil pastel 
Abundance, 9x11" Oil on canvas 
Descanso Iris, 11 x 7.5" watercolor 
Snowy Bank, 11x14" Oil on canvas
Purple Veins, 5x5" Oil on canvas

These 5 will be appearing on set in the TV show, Chicago Fire.
Back in my studio today! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 years!! Half price celebration in August!!

      Seven years ago, I started blogging and painting with a lot more intention ....  and what an incredible experience it is and has been!!   I've learned so much - and I've also made many new friends.   There have been times of more productivity and times of less.  Through it all, I've continued my full-time job as a public high school teacher and I've continued to take graduate classes for my professional development. 
      What else has happened?  All my children have grown and married, I've lost beloved pets and gained new ones.  And through it all, I've painted and created new works, experimented with new things, learned more about marketing, sold quite a number of things, and enjoyed the whole thing!
      To commemorate this anniversary,  I'm offering 2 of my small daily paintings at a deep discount -

50% off - through the month of August!
on these 2 small works:
Steep Ascent, 6x6" Oil on canvas
©Helen Read
Ready to Frame
$100.00  $50.00 for the month of August
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)


Pink Hollyhock, 6x6" Oil on canvas
©Helen Read
Ready to Frame
$100.00  $50.00 for the month of August
(Please add $10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

      Celebrate with me!  Hang one of these 2 small paintings on your wall!  Thanks for all the encouragement and support that so many of you have given over these last 7 years! 
      Here's to the next 7!! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Little Book I've Read....

Sometimes, I just stumble onto a little find!  This one was unexpected! (Perhaps, I'm the only one who hadn't heard of this little book or its author!??) 
I was visiting my son in Pasadena, and while waiting on him at the end of the day, I dropped into a well established book store and wandered around.  As I was wandering, the title caught my attention.  The more I looked it over, the more I was intrigued. 
Well, one page led to another, and I finally realized that I needed to add it to my library! 

Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
©2012 - Workman Publishing Co.,  NY

A somewhat provocative title, don't you think?
 The first chapter honestly deals with the question of ideas.  Where do they come from ? What is inspiration? How do the evolve? How do they intersect?  How do we surround ourselves with viable ideas? 

Kleon give some very practical ideas for how to collect ideas and how to assimilate them.

The presentation is very visual - kinda like you were sitting with him in his studio - watching him doodle his ideas while he talks. 

A quote I really liked from this chapter is found on pg. 13
"The artist is a collector.  Not a hoarder, mind you, there's a difference: Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively".....  He goes on to say, "There's an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your 5 closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income.   I think the same thing is true of our idea incomes.  You're only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with."  

I'll post more on this in the next few weeks.... I like his ideas.  I think he's right!  Artists (all of us) are inspired, intrigued, motivated, and activated by new ideas.  And as they settle in, they morph and evolve and become something entirely  new again ... something perhaps influenced by others, but yet all our own!  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Steep Ascent

Steep Ascent, 6x6" Oil on canvas
©2014, Helen Read 
ready to frame
(Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

SPECIAL OFFER - Celebrating my 7th Year of blogging!! 
Purchase this painting from my Etsy shop!  Apply this coupon code - AUG14
and receive a 50% discount!  That's right... $50.00 for this small painting. 
Now through the month of August! 
(to take advantage of this offer, you must purchase through Etsy!)


This little landscape came from a street view of a roadway along the coast of Mykonos - one of the Greek Isles.   It first struck me visually, that it was like a roadway ascending into the sky.  Rugged, steep, yet quite beautiful in it starkness.  It needs a home now and is ready to send! 
(This painting has been submitted to the Virtual Paintout blog to appear with their July submissions).