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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Final Posting in 2008

Happy New Year!


Watercolor Paintings and Drawings done this year.

I'm posting the end of the paintings that I've done this year... my final posting for the December rewind! I haven't posted the paintings that have been sold this year .... but, it has been a productive year, as you can see as you scroll through this month of postings. It is kind of good to see everything in one place!

Please have a safe and wonderful New Year celebration .... and may the new year be one of optimism and opportunity! Blessings!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 in review


Fallscape, Oil on canvas


Pretty in Pink, Oil on canvas

Two more - larger paintings from this year.
I believe the measurements are as follows (I need to go back and
check the records):
Fallscape - 10 x 12"
Pretty in Pink, 20 x 28"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 in review ~

The Undulation Series
(both are 20x20" - Oil on canvas)


Undulation 1


Undulation 2

This series of 2 leaf images captured my imagination because of the graceful shapes and lines found within the leaves. I also loved the way that the light played on both of them. Both of these were images I took and then worked from the photo ... obviously magnifying it and enlarging it greatly on the canvas. I love the abstract qualities of natural forms, which are quite obvious in these 2 paintings.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Rewinding the year ...


Sunflower Triptych - oil on canvases - total measurment 14 x 48"

This was one of the larger paintings (in 3 parts) that I did this year. It was wonderful to work larger again. My objective was to create some magnified sunflowers - and yet in as setting as if that is how they were growing. I also tried to achieve a somewhat ethereal glow as if the sun was bathing them in light and color.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Nest Series ...

The year continues in review ~

Empty Nest w/Feather - 6x6" Oil on canvas


Nest Eggs, 10 x 12" Oil on canvas


Empty Nest with Shell Fragments, 6x6" Oil on canvas

This set of 3 is very symbolic to me - it represents my family. My three children - treasures each one - each unique and gifted..... the delights of my life. They have populated my nest for 20 something years - and now are either flown, flying, or perched on the edge of the nest flapping their wings! That leaves the nest quite empty and, yes, a bit lonely sometimes.

At the moment - this Christmas season - my nest is full again! I'm cherishing every minute!
And ... my oldest has brought home his treasure - his new wife! I'm honored to call her my daughter! I'm beginning to realize that although there have been difficult times that left me tending the nest all alone, that I've sadly watched my children fly off, and I've been the singular occupant as well, that the nest is in fact a place of gathering - larger than before.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The year in review - continued:

Please visit my online catalog - just a few more days left!
Click here!


Hollyhock Stocks in Bloom, 8x8" Oil on canvas $120


Marigold magnified, 5x7" Oil on canvas, $100

Several more of for my December rewind! The botanical theme continues as it did through most of the year this year! These two featured two types of floral presentations. Magnification always interests me ... I love the surprises seen within a common image. The grouping of hollyhocks was experimenting with composition and subject for a larger piece that is a possible commission.

For more information on the purchase of these - or any of the other paintings featured here,
please email me - studio_upstairs@hotmail.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

More from this year of painting ~



Top: Coneflower Centered, 8x8" Oil on canvas - $120
Bottom: Coneflower 3, 5x7" Oil on canvas - $100

Please remember! Discount given on the purchase of more than 1 painting
for this month of December! More details here.

More of the year in review! These two were part of the 3 small coneflowers I did this summer. Each was quite different; each featured coneflowers at various stages of their lifespan and with different kinds of light on them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December Rewind, continued ~

Be sure to visit my Online Catalog!


Coneflower 1, 5x7" Oil on canvas - $100.00



Green grapes, 5x7" Oil on canvas, $100

Two more paintings from the year which is almost over!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Twilight


Twilight, 8x8" Oil on canvas

I did this small landscape trying to work out some details about trees shown as the sun is rising or setting behind them - the sky beginning to flame with the color of the sun. All details of the landscape are barely visible. The drama is really about the sky itself and the way it plays through the branches of the trees. The concept is simple, but it can become a very trite and flat rendering.... easily. I've had a landscape sitting unfinished - and unsatisfactory in its details for quite some time. Earlier this month I took that old painting - unfinished - and sanded some parts down and am preparing to finish it ~ yet, the look of the trees with light coming through them is something I still need to nail down! Well, here you have one of my studies!
Having grown up in the southwest - I've seen this type of scene many times. It truly is a beautiful sight to see the sun's sinking light ignite the landscape in oranges and golds.

For information on the availability of this painting, please email me:
studio_upstairs@hotmail.com


Saturday, December 13, 2008

December Rewind ....


Set of 8 notecards (4 designs) featuring my Original Fruit Watercolor Paintings

I developed a new set of notecards during 2008. This set features 4 of my original paintings within a border. The border says "A Tree is Known by its Fruit" and the 9 fruits of the spirit are included with one of them being featured in larger type at the bottom. They are blank inside and measure 4.25 x 5.5". Envelopes are included. $10.00 per set.





I've sold quite a few of these in the past few months. Personally, I'm glad that I have a few things to encourage actual, physical correspondence! There's something tactile and wonderful about writing and receiving actual personal mail!




Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have a mint?


Peppermint, wrapped - approx 4 x 5" Colored Pencil on Black Drawing Paper

A small change of pace here. In my Drawing 1 classes - the students are currently working on a small candy still life for the end of the semester project. It occurred to me, as I was unwrapping dozens of peppermints for the small set ups I created for them, that I have never attempted to draw something in its cellophane wrapper. Thus, the concept. Of course, I've seen some spectacular paintings of similar objects. Well, anyway, I worked on this - on a smallish scrap of drawing paper - for several days as some of the students watched the progress. Here is the final result.

Colored pencil is a great medium. Its a little like drawing and a little like painting. I use Prismacolors because they are buttery soft and blend almost like paint. Even though my students are in a 1st Semester Drawing class, and it is at the end of the semester when we attempt this project, I do get some wonderful work from them using this brand of pencil and black paper. (Black paper or dark paper gives much richer results than white!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

December Rewinds

The painting year in review!


Three Small Sunflowers 5x5" - $90 ea. , and 5x7" $100
when purchased together - $250.00


Yellow Cat - 8x8" Acrylic on canvas - $120. 00

Please see my website for more paintings from 2008 that are available. Also special discounts are being offered in the month of December!

Also available are notecards, which make great stocking stuffers!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More from my December Rewind ~

Reposting 2008 Paintings Still Available!
Its not too late to give something special to someone special for Christmas!

Prices are marked, however ....
purchase 2 or more paintings for a 10% discount!


Blue Kitten, 5x5" Acrylic on canvas, $90.00


Green on Blue, 5x7" Oil on canvas, $100.00

See more! Visit my Online Gift Catalog, for more ideas,
from stocking stuffers to one-of-a-kind paintings!

Friday, December 5, 2008

December Rewind, continued ~

Reposting 2008 Paintings Still Available!
Its not too late to give something special to someone special for Christmas!

Prices are marked, however ....
purchase 2 or more paintings for a 10% discount!
Red Velvet, 5x5" Oil on canvas $90.00


Berry Bowl, 6x6" Oil on Canvas, $100.00

Please visit my online catalog to see other paintings and notecards that make
great holiday gifts!
Gift Catalog





Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December Rewind ....

Reposting some paintings not yet sold from 2008!
Its not too late to give something special to someone special for Christmas!

Prices are marked, however ....
purchase 2 or more for a 10% discount!


Snowscape, 8x8" Oil on canvas, $120.00



Red Cabbage, 5 x 7" Oil on canvas, $100.00


Three Lemons, 6x6" Oil on canvas, $100.00

To see other ideas for Christmas Gift Giving (including great stocking stuffers) please visit my online catalog: http://HelenCRead.com/catalog.html

Prices do not reflect 7.75% sales tax for IL residents,
Shipping is additional.

Questions? Please email me! Studio_upstairs@hotmail.com





Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Join me.....

This afternoon/evening for
Hollyhock Floral and Gift Shop's Grand Opening

Wine Tasting and Appetizers
4:30 - 7:00 pm
203 S. Hale St., Wheaton, IL


Hibiscus, 14" Painted wooden platter

I plan to be there, my work will be displayed, and who knows what the owners Angela and Andrea have planned!? It is a great little place, full of beautiful holiday spirit! Pictured above are a few things I've created that are on display there.

You can see more at my website. Check out my
online Christmas catalog, where you can
find many ideas in lots of price ranges, with holiday discounts available!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Tis the Season!


Ready or not ~ the Christmas Season is upon us!

Click here for Great Gift Ideas!

I haven't done a whole lot this year (yet) to get ready for the season. It seems that it is one of the busiest times of the year.... and yet, also one of the most joyous holidays that we celebrate.

To help with some gift-giving ideas, I've put together a web page of beautiful, artistic gifts.
From stocking stuffers to decorative painted bowls to one-of-a-kind small original oil paintings.... the perfect idea for someone special! And you can make your selections right from home.... see it all conveniently placed on 1 page! I've included a few discounts as well!

********
And I hope you will take a minute to sign up for my Google Group here at the right side of my blog so you get the newest announcements as they become available!







Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recalling our blessings ~


Hollyhock Stalks in Bloom, 8x8" Oil on canvas

Happy Thanksgiving! Here in the United States, we celebrate this holiday every year - the 4th Thursday of November. It is a holiday, which if celebrated in the spirit of its inception, is a time to gather as family and friends and recall the blessings of God in our year and in our lives.
It is also a time when, as we give thanks for all our many blessings, to have generous spirits for the needs of others. Of course, not all of us think deeply about this holiday.... it has become commercialized and common to us. But perhaps, now - in more difficult times - this holiday is a time to come back to the reasons we celebrate. To offer thanks to God for all he has done for us - as a nation, as a family, and individually, and to offer generosity to those around us.

The painting above is a smallish painting - in preparation for an anticipated commission. It is a bit old fashioned in its subject matter. Hollyhocks are often associated with by gone times. But it is presented in a more contemporary way. I'll keep you posted as to the commission!

Please visit my website for information on the availability of this painting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Purple Lace


Purple Kale, 7.5 x 11" watercolor on paper

This beautiful plant, which seems the most beautiful in the fall, caught my eye. I wanted to show its abstract qualities and also its beautiful color. It is a watercolor on paper - and has a few areas of acrylic touched in to enhance its vibrant color.

For information on its availability, please click here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fallscape Finally Finished ~


Fallscape, 10.5 x 12" Oil on canvas

This has taken awhile to dry, but here it is. I took the reference photo from a nearby city park.
The colors in the tree were indescribable - they ranged from a very greenish yellow to a near orange. I also liked the darker green tree behind - it really caused the yellow one to pop!

Email me for information on its availability! studio_upstairs@hotmail.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old Fashioned Hollyhock


Pink Hollyhock, 6x6" oil on canvas

Yes... I have been at work in my studio, although it has been difficult be consistent these last few weeks due to many other demands. Here's a small painting that is a preparation for a larger one to be done. I thought the colors in the center and the white veining was really beautiful!

For information on the availability of this painting, please click here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Progress continues...


Fall Landscape - still in progress

I'm nearing the finish line on this one. I realized ... its been awhile since I've worked on landscapes - and I think there is a certain fluency that you develop as you work in a genre repeatedly. So, I've needed to rework and rethink on several occasions. Ah - such is the inexact art of art! I hope to have it finished - finally - this week!



Thursday, November 6, 2008

A W.I.P. during a crazy week


Landscape - a work in progress

I've been working .... but in between 1,000 other intrusions in my week, it seems. All in all, its frustrating when I know what I'd like to be doing but definitely am not able to do much of it!
I'm hoping after today the week settles down a little and I can work in my studio with more focus.

Anyway - this is a little landscape in progress - about 10 x 12 inches or so (I haven't measured it yet, and its a canvas I made a LONG time ago!) The beauty of fall has finally come - very late this year - and the colors always beckon to me! I'm trying to push the colors a bit - and yet struggling not to have them become acidic. Well - I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Little Surprises!

Marigold, 5x7" Oil on canvas

Finally, dry enough to scan and post! I took the reference photo, and for the first time ever, I saw the most interesting aspects to this very common flower. I painted it as I saw it ... and I hope you can see it too - many of the petals actually have small hair-like appendages on the tips. I probably wouldn't have seen that with my own eyes - but the camera did, and I thought that was a wonderful little surprise! Of course, my painting of it didn't capture it as well as the camera did.

To me - this little painting is a celebration of yellows and rust colors - of sunlight and shadow - and of those little hair like things on the tips of leaves that I never knew were there before! Makes me think and wonder - what other surprises await our closer investigation of common things! I'm pretty sure that God, the creator of all things, must enjoy our enjoyment of " little surprises"!

For more information on the availability of this painting, please click here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ten Thousand!


Marigold - preliminary view - 5x7" Oil on canvas

I'm celebrating! Yesterday I received the 10,000th visit to this blog! Thank you to all who visit regularly ... and, to those who stumble upon me, thanks to you too! For 1 day, - Monday, October 27th - if you will leave me a comment here on the blog and then email me your actual address (studio_upstairs@hotmail.com), I'll send you one of my note cards as a free gift! (Please be sure to do both things!)

The painting above is still wet. I'll post its final version this week! I loved the "up closeness" of the flower ... and saw little things in it that I've never noticed before! More to come!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"These Three Remain.......

...Faith, Hope and Love
Sunflowers 5x5" and 5x7", Oil on canvas, 2008

But the greatest of these is Love."

So ends the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, the "Love Chapter". "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way, it is not irritable, and it keeps no record of wrong doing. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices when truth wins. Love never gives up, does not lose faith, is full of hope, and endures through every circumstance. Love lasts forever."

This is a description of God's love. His love for us ~ and the love he makes available to us through his Spirit. And yet, in so saying, God's love is also realistic and though freely given, can only be received by those who chose to receive it. And, along with his love and desire for people - to be in a loving relationship with people - he will never dictate that we love him.
This time - now - is the time that God's gracious love is being offered ... to each one of us, regardless of our history, regardless of what "un-godlike" things live in our past. And it is as close to each one of us as a heart felt breath of prayer ... accepting His love, given freely through his Son, Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, Jesus, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have life - everlasting."




Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am pleased to announce......

The opening (expected this week)
of
Hollyhocks
Floral and Gift Shop
203 S. Hale St. - Wheaton, IL

I am honored to have my art work included in this beautiful new flower/gift shop -
and I hope you'll have the opportunity to drop in and meet the owners and
see what they are creating!

Above are some of the paintings and painted bowls which are
on display (and for sale), as well as my notecards.
I'm excited to be developing some new art for them as well - and will keep you posted as
that progresses!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Thoughts ~


Many gods, water media on paper

The first commandment:
"I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery .... do not worship any other gods besides me! Do not make idols of any kind ...you must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I will not share your affections with any other god!" Ex. 20:2-4

This seems like ancient - out dated, perhaps - text. And yet - is it?
Perhaps it would speak more clearly to our day if we pictured other things. Things we work long and tiring hours to acquire, which become more dearly desired than a desire to know a loving God. Perhaps it would speak more clearly if we pictured places or people or activities that take a higher priority in our lives. Perhaps we ourselves - our own ambitions and whims and wisdom and decisions - ought to be pictured. There are many gods besides our Creator who loves us!

And what about God describing himself as a "jealous God"? That doesn't sound good, does it?
There are many attachments and understandings we of the 21st century associate with the word jealous. Most of us have grown up with the understanding that jealousy is always a negative trait. But, perhaps, there are times when it is the exactly right thing. In this case, God is reminding these people - who didn't know him very well yet - that he loves them. He has rescued them out of an impossible situation ... they had been reduced to absolute slavery and oppression. He had led them away from that in the face of incredible odds. They (a large crowd of people including women, children, babies, elderly) had been literally backed into a corner with the most advanced army of the world descending upon them and a sea behind them - and miraculously, God opened the sea, sent a wind to dry up the bed of it, and they crossed it safely as the enemy watched. He led them to water in the desert, he fed them, and cared for them..... as a parent tenderly cares for a young child. God already knew that their hearts would wander to other desires, and yet he still loved them and longed for a relationship with them.
None of this makes any sense of course, unless it is understood that God -the creator of the universe- is a relational God who desires true relationship with people.

And today - in our fast paced, technological world of so many demands on our time and energy, this God of ancient times - still desires that same connection and deep relationship with people. With us! He is not willing to share us with other "gods", who are no gods at all. He wants our hearts. He wants to be in the center of our lives - and he already has each of us individually in the center of his desires. Another passage in the bible (one of my favorites) speaks of the tenderness of God's heart for us. "Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? Even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand." (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Pretty amazing, really! God makes himself very vulnerable when he tells us that he loves us, longs for us, and is jealous for us. It is the heart of a Lover who expresses himself in this way.

(The above painting was done about 10 years ago. I did it at the Field Museum in Chicago in front of an exhibit of the masks of the Northwestern Native American tribes. The masks are sculptural and painted in rich colors! It was a pleasure to work with the composition to make them all interlock. The media is a variety of water media, including watercolor and acrylic on paper. The size measures approx 25 x 30")




Monday, October 13, 2008

Further developments ~





Here are the latest developments with these little watercolor/acrylic paintings.... Somehow, the fur patterned background seemed to add that "je ne sais quoi" !
More yet to come! I think they are quirky and fun ~ hope you enjoy them too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just for fun ....





Its been a crazy week.... work all day, a grad class I'm taking for work, studio work, broken equipment, etc. etc. It was time to do something just for fun. I do have a plan for these little finely feathered friends - and I'm showing them to you in their unfinished state - but - I hope they bring a smile to your face! I'll show you more as I get them completed.

And - one more bit of good news!
Last week, a short article was published in a local magazine about my studio and the work that I've been doing! I was hoping to be able to scan it and post it here, but alas ... they told me it would be a $100 reprint charge to do so. So, I'm not.... however, if you live locally and are interested, you'll find the article in the October issue of Glancer Magazine for Wheaton/Glen Ellyn.

I'll be back to some of the type of work you usually see from me in the next few days!
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