Join me on Facebook!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another pastel - skyscape

Distant Shores, 6x8" Oil pastel on paper

This one gave me challenges and ... trouble. Really, it is all about the sky - and yet - oil pastel has its limitations, and I never felt that I got the drama I was looking for. So - if I explore this one a little further, it will probably be with a different medium.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Icy Landscape

Icy Riverbank, 11x14" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read

After a little more work, I think I've completed this one as much as I want to. I brightened up the sky and made the lighting a bit more luminescent. And I worked with the shadows a little more bringing in some variety to the blues and purples. It has a feel to it that reminds me of crunching through frost and crusty snow out in the woods. This is, once again, very mid-western in its feel.

I enjoyed working on this - although I'm not anxious for this type of weather! It will be here soon enough! Below, is a detail shot of the shadowed areas. I think you can see the colors used and perhaps a bit of the brush work as well.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More work ....

I've continued to work along on this landscape. It is progressing. I don't think I've gotten the best photo of this - the colors are a little more interesting and intense in person. There is a little more to go, though not much! I hope I'll be able to get the kind of photo that represents it well!

Tomorrow starts back to the classroom for me, so things will probably slow down a bit. But, I hope to have a final rendition done and posted by mid-week!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My work continues ...

By scrolling backwards a little bit, you will see the first posting (oil sketch) I did of this painting. With a few more studio hours of work, it is coming along... but not without its challenges and problems.

First, after getting some of the main elements blocked in, I decided that I really, really didn't like the placement of the verticals along the diagonal. So that required some changing things around. I've also worked and altered the sky color - creating something atypical, but interesting, I think. Also, the background row of vegetation ... has been another challenge to get pushed back, interesting in color, and somehow believable without being the typical brown, dried vegetation color. Instead, I've used some out and out pinks, some ochres - and some violets are involved. An interesting balancing act between warm and cool colors.

There is still quite a bit more to do here, but ... perhaps this is somewhere near half done? Who knows how long - it all depends on my time (back to the daily classroom on Monday) and on the problems I encounter! But, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunset sky

Streak of Orange, 6x8" oil pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read
matted in white and ready to frame
($10.00 shipping in the US; IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Another small landscape study. These have been very helpful to me this summer to develop my language of landscape work and to increase the fluency of that language. Oil pastels are similar - but with many different properties - to painting with oils. Colors blend. Colors compare. And yet, I have found how very differently an oil painting comes across than a pastel. However - the value in doing these smaller studies is still there!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A new work in progress

Here is just the beginning. I'm taking the previous pastel - Snowy Bank - and working now on a larger composition in oil. This will be 11 x 14" - not huge - larger than my pastel, however. Here I have oil sketched in the basic shapes.

I have to tell you, though, that after getting these shapes put in, I am re-thinking the angle of the diagonal behind it all, and also the placing of the verticals. I've now done a little more on this than this photo shows, and am not 100% satisfied with the composition. So... today .... it looks like I will need to make some alterations.

Sigh... sometimes the painting really just flows off the brush. Everything just works. Sometimes that is not the case, and every element has to be wrestled with and sometimes reworked. This may be one of those kinds of paintings! Well, keep checking back. I hope to have it finished this week, because a week from today... I'll be back in school with full classes of students!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Snowy Bank

Snowy Bank, 6x8" Oil pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read
matted in white and ready to frame
($10.00 shipping in the US;  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Another small landscape. Playing with colors in the complementary range, with this one. Also working with the diagonal landscape - diagonals in several directions. As always, there is a wealth of exploration, even in a small study!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Voter Response - 1st and 2nd place.

Both landscapes are Oil Pastel, 6x8" - ready to mat and frame.
©2009, Helen Read

The informal poll I took has resulted in a winner! The top painting - got the most votes. Then the one below it got the next highest total. You all mentioned the dramatic skies and the color choices. The diagonal composition in the top one was also mentioned, and it is more subtle - but also rather diagonal in the lower one.

Thanks for your input! Its always a help to know what other people think as they view a painting! Now - I've also had several suggestions for these to be put on notecards - hmmmm. We shall see!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Just a small review of my June and July in landscapes!
S0 - I'm interested in your opinion... Here are 9 of my summer landscapes - most are oil pastel on paper - with a few oil paintings included. Which one is you fav? And, why? I'd really like to find out what moves the viewer and why. Leave a comment below. Let's number them 1 - 9, left to right, starting at the top. (or you could use row 1, #1 - for instance). Maybe you like the colors, maybe you like the sense of place or atmosphere, maybe you like the structure of the painting... whatever it is that speaks to you - I'd love to know!

By the way, these are all available! To find out more about that - please click here!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Space Between

The Space Between, 6x8" Oil pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read
Please click here for additional information

Here is a new small study... much like I've been doing this summer. These small oil pastels are my way of doing some small studies in color and value before beginning a larger landscape. It is here that I am working out my ideas and finding what seems to work in the total composition.
This one, too, evokes the mid-western area - farms that are tucked away and almost obscured in our scurry to develop the land commercially.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


You may have wondered why I haven't posted anything in about a week. I've just returned from a week in Texas! It was a great visit - but any time you leave town and return, it takes awhile to get life back in gear. I hope that I have captured some interesting visuals on this trip, however, that you may soon see in some new landscapes.

In the meantime - here is the (perhaps) finished version of the landscape you've seen me working on. I have a few final things to assess and adjust. And, I want to take a much better picture to post here. Since it is larger, I have to use a camera rather than a scanner. Overall, I'm happy with the contrasts, which creates some tension - and atmospheric softness, which is somehow soothing.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...