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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tulip ~ still in progress

I haven't posted in a few days - but instead, I've been in my studio at work! Here is the continued progress on the larger painting I mentioned a couple posts ago. I need to measure, but I think this one is 28x28" (I made the canvas quite awhile back, and don't remember the size).

The idea here is to show the view of looking straight down into a newly opened tulip. The surprise that waits inside is absolutely beautiful. This one is taking on a Georgia O'Keeffe-esk look to it. What I love, when it happens, is that the painting begins to dictate to me what it needs. It often turns out very differently than how I had envisioned it at the start.

Well - more work is needed. I think I may need to amplify the inner stigma and stamens. I will probably glaze back the shadows so that they do not appear to be so completely purple. These thoughts struck me last evening as I was finishing up for the night. I haven't gone back to look again with new eyes today. I'll post more in the next few days; no doubt it will have evolved in some new ways that I don't yet foresee!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A very special cause..... Benefit Auction

Twilight, 8x8" Oil on Canvas

Auction Complete! This painting is being shipped to Austin, TX!

I want to introduce you to a family that has inspired and blessed me as they battle through a tragedy, which struck their family last October. Their son, JD, who is 12, had a very sudden accident that nearly resulted in his drowning. His life was saved, though there was a time soon after the accident when it wasn’t certain he would live. He has been in various stages of coma since the accident, though he continues to progress toward recovery. The family lives in Austin, TX and JD was hospitalized for a time there in Austin. For the last several months he has been in a Dallas area rehabilitation facility. The distance between the 2 cities is about 4 ½ hours. So JD, his mother, and youngest sister have been in Dallas, while JD’s dad, and 2 school-aged sisters have been living in Austin, making many trips back and forth.

Through it all, their family has dared to trust in God’s goodness and walk this difficult walk by faith. Such an inspiration. They have shown all of us how precious life is. Now, JD is being released to return to his home in Austin. His progress continues, but he will return to his home with a very long road of recovery still ahead. Many, many changes to their normal family life have had and will have to be made. A handicapped ready home has meant many construction changes. A van to accommodate JD and his wheel chair has been another unforeseen expense. Anyone who has had a major medical situation knows that insurance never covers everything. And there are ongoing medications and medical procedures that continue.

Many hands have helped, but more help is needed. Though I do not live anywhere near Austin – we can help in a creative way! The above painting is being auctioned for JD’s many needs. The profits from this painting will be donated to the family for the medical and/or peripheral expenses they have and continue to incur. I hope you will place a bid. And I also hope that you will inform others so that they may participate! The auction winner will receive this small, southwestern scene – and JD’s family will be helped in the process!

To find out more about JD’s story and to get a snapshot of his wonderful family, you can visit his CaringBridge link:

Also, you can visit his Facebook group - “Pray for JD Hartman”.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blog issues :-/

It appears that all the recent posts here have utterly disappeared! I have no idea why, but I'm working on it! Don't give up! Come back soon!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First steps..... a new painting begins.

In spite of a busy week - one in which my energy levels were low because of having a cold and not taking off from teaching, because that would have taken even more energy to prepare for a substitute! I have gotten a start on a new painting.

The first steps in a new painting always seem a little awkward. Here, you can see why. This is another floral picture. Its the interior of a white flower looking down into the center. This will be a larger painting - I think it measures 28 x 28". For those of you who wonder - I do make my own canvases in these larger sizes. I really enjoy that process and the results.

Any painting is preceded by sketches done in various perspectives and orientations. Then, those sketches are translated into a larger size on the canvas itself - usually sketched in with thinned oil.

Here, in the top picture, you can see some very roughed in oil sketching. (A close up of the center is to the right. Mostly I'm interested in getting the general proportions and the lights and shadows laid in. Then it gets to sit awhile, while I think about if the basic shapes and values are right.

Its always tricky with painting something white. The values are there... and they have to be shown. But an observant eye and subtle tones are needed so that it conveys the right sense of light and dark.... and it retains its sense of white-ness.

These 2 lower pictures show a little more work with laying in the values. Not much more work has happened with the center yet, although I've laid in some paint up to the center so that it is not just primed canvas showing.
So far, about 3-4 hours of time have been spent (not including canvas construction). Many more hours of work are needed .... this painting has not moved out of its infancy yet! I'll keep you updated as the work continues.

I often tell my students - the youngest stages of a painting, or any kind of art work for that matter, are often awkward and gangly - but with continued refinement, things take shape. That is true for this new painting. It looks different in my mind's eye. Now it is my task to take it to its destination!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dew drops in morning light

copyright 2009, Helen Read

Dill Weed, 6x6" acrylic on canvas

This one has been in my mind for awhile - and it required some thinking before I put my thoughts to canvas. First, I took the reference photo in my garden this summer. A tall stand of dill that had been bathed in dew in the morning. The light was beautiful as every little floret had a large drop of dew which reflected the sunlight.

How to put this to paint??? Well, obviously, my rendition doesn't do God's handiwork justice, but it does qualify as a celebration of that small morning gift! This is a great example of how God romances us with his gifts in creation! But, I digress. I decided to use a more experimental approach. I used some interference paint (gold to red) in the background, mixed with a light yellow. That gave a very reflective background on which to put the image. Then, I worked with the image. Putting down the essence of what I saw in my garden - trying to capture the sense of water droplets without becoming formulaic and tedious.

In actuality, it does have a very reflective quality about it, which isn't so obvious in my photo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cast your vote!


Come see photos and paintings of flowers! Have a little fun ... cast your vote for your favorite!
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