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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 In Review!

Here are just a few of the year's studio works ....  some of my personal favorites!   2010, in spite of the economic down turn, has really been a good year!   Not necessarily in the way we think of "good" - but in the bigger picture, it has been.   I've continued to work in my studio.  I've continued to post to my blog ....  all of this while taking 11 hours of graduate work, working full time as a high school teacher, and finding time to be a parent, friend, daughter, etc.   

There have certainly been difficult moments in 2010.  My dad passed away about 8 months ago.  My family is in a state of change with children becoming more independent.  Changes in the world of public school teaching have also altered a lot in the work place.  The economy has impacted every artist I know.  And of course, life can just be demanding! 

However - in spite of that - there has been much good as well!   I've completed 33 works of art and worked on a few more that are still in process.  I've had time to consider my goals and plans and purposes in what I'm doing.  I've spent quality time with family and close friends across the country.  I've seen new places and been inspired by new ideas.  And most importantly, I've been held securely in God's good hands.  That's been a huge comfort in uncertain times!   

So, here's to a good 2010 .... and looking ahead to new and exciting adventures in 2011!   In this new year, may we choose to walk in closeness to the God who loves each of us dearly. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Southern Exposure

Boone Hall Lawn,  8 x 10" Acrylic on canvas 
©2010, Helen Read 

Private Collection 

The last landscape of the year.  This was fun to do and taken from a photo reference I made this summer in South Carolina.  I used a a technique called pointillism to render this.  It was mostly green, but with a few other colors thrown in.   The challenge was pushing the green back from the somewhat acidic color it can be in acrylic.  This photo is slightly more golden than the original ... getting the colors true was the most difficult part in the scan.   

Friday, December 24, 2010


Wrapped,  9 x 12" colored pencil on black paper
©2010, Helen Read 

Merry Christmas!   As I've been working along on this one,  the idea of being wrapped and Christmas and gifts has all come together in a few Christmas-y thoughts!  The very best gift of all time came "wrapped" in the form of a tiny newborn.  The wrapping was lovely, no doubt, as all newborns are in their newness of life!   However, this particular gift - given a little more than 2000 years ago, was delivered into this world, a gift from our heavenly Father - Almighty God.  In this wrapping was his own son!   Out of the unspeakable beauty of heaven, Jesus came in humility to this world for the purpose of rescuing us from the grip of darkness!  A gift freely given.  A gift for all who would simply believe that His ultimate sacrifice was enough to shatter the grip of the spiritual and eternal death that has stalked each one of us and holds us captive.   

What motivated this kind of entry into our history and into our realm?  His love.  Pure and simple, it was the immeasurable love of God and the same love of Jesus that brought him to us, to live among us, to make a way for us to live with him forever.... if we so choose!  

What a gift!  Our rescuer came for us before we even knew we needed to be rescued!  That gift came wrapped as a newborn baby, was announced to shepherds by angels, and worshiped by wise men who followed an unusual star miles and miles.  This same Jesus is still worshiped today - King of all kings.  Lord of all lords.  Mighty God.    Our Immanuel ~ God living among us! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Green Christmas Bow

This is still a work in progress.  So far the bow is mostly done - but the background needs to be done now.  It is colored pencil on black paper.   The challenge is in getting the reflective qualities of the bow, the proper colors of green, and the overall 3-D feel on a 2-D surface!    Its been a fun challenge.
But ... now ... more to do!! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pink Poinsettias

Pink Poinsettias - Watercolor on paper
©2009, Helen Read

This one was sold .... but it speaks Christmas!  
Merry Christmas!!  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Sunday Morning

This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! 

I have had a crazy week!   It was the last week of class before Christmas break, so lots of things to get finished and grade!   I'm more than ready for a rest!   So, for the next 2 weeks, I get to hang out with my kids, bake, decorate, and most importantly - *CELEBRATE!* the wonderful and amazing birth of the son of the Most High God, Jesus Christ, on this earth!  
When I think about that with more than just my head, but with my heart, I can barely imagine it!
We needed to be rescued from complete darkness, and we couldn't do it ourselves... so, God made a way because he loves us!  That way included Jesus coming to earth as a human - living a human life, but without any sin - and then willingly giving up that life .... trading his life for ours. 
Christmas is a wonderful time of year!! 

The painting above is  7x5" - oil on canvas.  Please click here for more information.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Apples on Damask - still life

Apples on Damask,  6 x 12" Oil on canvas
©2010, Helen Read 

I think this is at least in its final stages if not completed.  I'm still trying to decide if it needs a few more adjustments.  The most challenging thing was the damask tablecloth.  The white on white design and also getting the design to look as if it was laying flat and making the curve over the side of the table edge took a bit of work!  The apples are Braeburns - except for the 1 Granny Smith - and they have quite a few undertones of gold.    All in all, a challenge - but fun to finish! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Auction - ending ~ Fri. 12-10

A quick reminder!
Tomorrow ~ this auction is over!

Hi everyone,

I'm just sending a quick reminder that tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 10th) is the last day of this auction.  I've set the starting price quite low - and so far, its still quite low!  What a great opportunity!!   Should you know anyone else who might be interested, please feel free to forward this note! 

I would love to send this your way, just in time for Christmas! 
Please click the image to be taken to the auction site! 
Flowers in pink and blue
Flowers in Pink and Blue
   This painting is an original oil painting measuring 8x8" and is 1.5" deep.  Its painted around the sides, so no framing is needed. 

May you have a wonderful Christmas season!  And a great new year! 


Helen Read

Please visit my blog, Brushstrokes, etc. or  Visit my website! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Special Gift Ideas and Offers!

Dear Helen,

Can you believe it?  Christmas is on its way!   I know I have a lot to do before it arrives!  But, I do want to give you a few possibilities for stocking stuffers or gifts of fine art!   Check out my ideas below!    Of course, you will see many, many possibilities when you visit my website!
At Auction Right Now
Flowers in pink and blue
Flowers in Pink and Blue
Click the image to check the progress of this auction.  The starting price is a "steal"!  Maybe it would make the perfect gift!  I would love to send it off to you!

Auction now through Fri., Dec 10th.

Starting Price - $25.00
Great Stocking Stuffers!
Floral note cards
Floral Note Card Set
The perfect stocking stuffer!
A set of note cards featuring original art work!
Pictured above are floral note cards with envelopes, also available are Fruits of the Spirit, Whimsical cats, Comical birds, sea shells, and hearts. 
Please click the image to see all note card sets and find convenient purchase links.

Other Gift Ideas
Nest eggs
Nest Eggs Print
This lovely print is ready to frame! It is a print of one of my original oil paintings, and was recently featured in Wheaton Alumni magazine.
It measures 5 x7" and is in a matting with outside dimensions of 8 x 10"
Please click image for more information and a purchase link.

$ 25.00
plus shipping - $7.00
Please visit my auction, which is going on for the next 5 days, and stuff someone's stocking this year with note cards, or place a gift of fine art underneath the Christmas tree!   As an added gift to you, please note the contest below!
As always, if you know someone who would be interested in these ideas, please forward this email to them! 

And, as you know, I'm always trying to build my email list - please have your friends sign up! Its fun, its easy, and they will have the opportunity to participate in the offers I send out!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas,

Helen Read
The Studio Upstairs
Join Our Mailing List

Helen's Email
Visit Helen's blog, Brushstrokes, etc. to see the latest from her studio!
or  Visit Helen's website.

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Items will be shipped by USPS within 3 - 5 business days.
Free Gift Drawing!For each purchase made in the month of December, your name will be included in a drawing for a free gift from my studio!
Offer applies to December 2010 purchases. 
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The Studio Upstairs | PO Box 251 | Wheaton | IL | 60187

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What I'm working on .....

I haven't been idle - but I have been busy!   In the few moments here and there, I've been working on this painting which is oil and measures 6 x 12".  The challenge has been to render the damask tablecloth - which is white on white.  Now to work more on the apples and back ground.  Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Whimsical Cat Note Cards ~ great gift idea!

Cat Note Cards -  A great gift idea!  

Set of 8 (4 designs) w/envelopes
blank inside
($3.00 shipping in US - IL Residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Please note - for multiple prints going to the same address,
shipping cost adjustments will be made in the form of a refund based on actual costs of shipping.

Great idea for a stocking stuffer, or for that person on your list who enjoys the craziness of cats! 

To see other note cards from my studio, please click here. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Barely There

Barely There,  10 x 8" Oil on canvas 
©2009, Helen Read 

Good bye November ... and here is December!   This fall has been great ~ so much warmer than usual right into the late fall.  Now, though, the cold weather is upon us. 
Most of the trees look just as this one - only a couple leaves still clinging to the tree branches. 

Monday, November 22, 2010


There's a theme here.... it is soon becoming the time of year that my high school drawing students will do a still life and I usually choose the subject matter of  -  candy!   There aren't many protests to why they have to draw that... although there are plenty of challenges!   Here are a few of the examples I show them.  These are all done in colored pencil on black paper.  They get to work with ideas of composition, they learn how to portray the candies and mix colors as if they were doing a painting.  They also learn the value of shadows in a composition.   All in all, its a lot of fun - and I enjoy the challenge as well - teaching them to see what's really there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November Tree

November Tree, 8 x 6" Oil pastel on paper 
©2010, Helen Read 
matted in white and ready to frame
($10.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 

I love pastel.  The layering and the colors are always so intriguing! Here I've given a "feel" for the season.  Can you hear the rattling of the dried leavesin the wind?  Maybe you can hear the swish of the tall and dried grass as well. As things dry out and the weather turns cool, this is what we see in November!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Abstract ~ untitled

untitled abstract, 30 x 22" Acrylic on Paper 
©2010, Helen Read 

The work is finally finished on this abstract.  I made my last dots and circles tonight! 
 Because of its size, I wondered if I would ever finish the multiple layers of color and circles. 
My thoughts on this go back to the book of Genesis. 
One of the first verses speaks of the Spirit of God hovering over the earth which was dark, unformed, and void. I wonder, what would that beautiful, dancing Spirit look like, if in fact it could be depicted? 
It seems to me it would be full of light and color.  Full of energy and dynamic movement. 
Perhaps quite playful and whimsical.  Certainly full of beauty, dispelling the darkness ~
filling the void with breath, life, and even joy. 

What you cannot see readily from my photo is that I've used metallics and perlescent and interference paints along with the other colors.  I wanted to achieve a luminescence in what I painted. 
I wanted to give a sense of lyricism and poetry to this work.  Even in trying to portray these abstract thoughts, I'm quite sure I haven't come close!  Nevertheless - these are my thoughts behind the painting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fruits of the Spirit Note Cards

Set of 8 (4 designs) note cards with envelopes
©Helen Read 
A Great Gift Idea!
These cards measure 5.5 x 4.25" and feature the
Fruits of the Spirit from Scripture with the
A Tree is Known by its Fruit.
The fruit paintings are Helen's original art work.
($3.00 shipping in US - IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Please note - for multiple prints going to the same address,
shipping cost adjustments will be made in the form of a refund based on actual costs of shipping.

Please click here to see other notecards featuring my artwork,
including whimsical cats, whimsical birds, strawberries and hearts,
sea shells, and flowers!

For more information on my work, please visit my blog:

Helen Read - The Studio Upstairs
Wheaton, IL - United States

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The work continues......

My work has continued on this abstract.   It is nearing it finish, but not yet quite there.  This is a larger painting - approximately 32 x 22 -  so taking a photo of it to see it a little more clearly is a help.  As you can see, it is painted entirely with small dots in Golden acrylics.   The effect is interesting, I think.    Stay posted for more to come!  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

November Gathering,  8x8" Oil on canvas
©2007, Helen Read 

Happy November!  Its hard to believe we are at this point in autumn! 

For more information on this small painting, please click here. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Work in progress - abstract

After a week or so of a lot of internet problems - I'm finally able to get online and stay there for awhile (I think).  So - I'm posting the beginning of a larger abstract on which I'm working.  This is the bare beginning - it is acrylic on paper - and is composed of many many dots.    I will keep updating this as it progresses!   Its intriguing - and a times - it feels like it may never get finished!  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Free Gift with purchase of Kitchen Art - Oct & Nov

A selection of available small kitchen art paintings

For the months of October and November, with each purchase of a small kitchen art painting, receive a Free Gift!   That's right!  The free gift is a print (see below) of a bird's nest with 3 blue eggs.  It is matted and ready to frame, measuring 8x10" (outside dimension of the mat).  This free gift applies to any small painting that has the subject matter of food!  

Please visit my website to see which paintings are available!  

Nest Eggs, 5x7" print, matted in 8x10" mat, 
ready to frame.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Something New!! Silent Auction now through Oct 30, 2010

Hollyhock Stalks,  8x8" Oil on canvas
©2008, Helen Read 
Framing is optional - deep canvas is painted around the sides

Starting bid $20.00
 (Plus $12.00 shipping in the US, IL residents must add 8.25% to the final value for sales tax.)
 Here is how it works.  Email me your bid.   I will update the current bid everyday.  Check my blog or website daily where it will be easy to follow what the most current bid is.  Please update bidding in even dollar increments.  Bidding will be finished on 10/30/2010.  Payment will be accepted through Paypal and shipment will be made by USPS.  

Now is a great opportunity to own an original oil painting ~ a beautiful rendition of
an old fashioned flower - the hollyhock. 
Place your bid today!  Check back soon!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Small Watercolor Paintings - all under $20.00!

Here is a great opportunity to own an original watercolor/mixed media painting for
under  $20.00!
(plus small additional shipping charge)

Each of these is hand painted, dated and signed.
Each is ready to mat and frame and hang in your home! 
What a great gift idea ... for yourself or
for someone you know! 

For more information on each of these, please visit my Etsy shop

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unfolding ....

Unfolding,  8x8" graphite on clayboard
©2010, Helen Read 
Ready to mat and frame 

This is one of the things I've been working on in the last few weeks.  There is something so interesting in the way a rose is arranged ... and as it unfolds revealing more and more of itself, it is almost like a metaphor for life!      I enjoy working with graphite ~ in its time consuming way.  And I especially enjoy working with graphite on clayboard.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Old Favorites - Yellow Halo

Yellow Halo, 7.5 x 11" watercolor on paper
©2008, Helen C Read
$60.00 - ready to mat and frame
($7.00 shipping in US - IL Residents, please add 8.25% sales tax) 

Another busy, busy weekend has arrived ... so, since I have several things in progress, but new finished, I'm posting an old favorite!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Summer 2010 in the Studio - a retrospect

       Fall is here.  I can feel it in the air - its much cooler now, and the humidity is gone.  So, it seems a good time to look back and see what I accomplished this summer.   It might have been a lot more work, but balancing this with weeks out of town in various places of the country, and taking a graduate class, and spending important time with my family - this seems like a reasonable amount of work to have accomplished.    

     Now that fall is here, I hope to be able to work consistently - though it will be balanced with a full time job as a high school teacher, and staying busy with various things at my church, and friendships that have an important place in my life, and the daily-ness of life!   

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Brokenness, 5x5" Oil on canvas 
©2010, Helen Read 

For more information on this painting, please click here.

I've been wanting to do a still life in white ~ a personal challenge, I guess.   These egg shells had intriguing shapes, interesting shadows, and even some color within.  I'm not 100% happy with the outcome, but its interesting.  I think it would be good to do some more and work on a smoother surface, as you can see some of the texture of the canvas which seems to detract from the idea. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marigolds in a Bottle

Marigolds in a Bottle,  7 x 5" Oil on canvas 
©2010, Helen Read 
ready to frame 

For more information or purchase link for this painting, 
please click here.

I've grown some marigolds again this year in my small garden.   I always grow these hoping their strong smell will deter rabbits in the garden.   I'm not sure if that has happened (probably not), but they are quite pretty - especially in cobalt glass!

Helen's email

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Beginnings

New Beginnings - Hibiscus Buds,  8 x 10" graphite on clayboard
©2010, Helen Read
ready to frame 

For those who care to look back in the previous posts during August, you will see the creation of this drawing.   The reference picture was a little more complicated than this, with various leaves and stems going on underneath the buds.  So, it has been simplified.    

It was fun to do a drawing just for the sake of a drawing!  I haven't done that in awhile.  I was also trying the new (to me) surface of clayboard.  What a great surface to work on!  I highly recommend it. 
Next, I would like to try colored pencil on this surface.  But, that's another project!  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Summer Rerun -Green Grapes

Green Grapes,  5 x 7 " Oil on canvas
©2008, Helen Read 
ready to frame 

Still working along on some new paintings in the studio, 
so in the meantime, I'm posting a few older ones!  
This one was done a couple summers ago - but its rather timeless.
Green Grapes = summer!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Old Favorite - Old Tree

Old Tree, 8x8" Oil on canvas 
©2007, Helen Read 
(Private collection - Austin, TX) 

Just posting a few older ones as paint dries on some current works in my studio.  I really love the shady feel of this one.  It was sold very soon after painting it.  And now, it resides 1800 miles away from me!    But, it will always be a favorite  -  reminding me of the state where I was born and raised! 

Soon - new works will be featured here.  The semester is now underway, my summer travels are over,  and I'm working in my studio much more regularly again!   (:-))   I like that!   Check back soon! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Picking Tomaotes ~ Old favorite

 Tomatoes in a Basket, 6x6" oil on canvas
©2007, Helen Read 

This is what I have going on in my garden!   Tomatoes.... small ones!   Lots of them! 
Even with the lack of rain and crazy heat this summer, I have a lot of grape tomatoes, for which I'm grateful!  They have a flavor like no other!  

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Floral

Summer Floral,  8x8" Oil on canvas
©2010, Helen Read 

For more information on this particular painting, please click here.

This painting was inspired by some potted plants I saw at the grocery store, of all places!  They were striking in their texture and color.  The paint is rather thickly applied.  I loved the variety of color in the foliage as well.  

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm most honored!

I have been honored twice today!   I have been featured in an article in the Dallas Examiner. I hope you'll take a moment to read it!   The article speaks of art as a way of life and a way of communication.   It gives great perspective to art and life; finding balance while still continuing to create and explore!  

Also, a fellow artist who I've gotten to "know" from a distance through blogging has been kind enough to write about my work on her blog.  Please visit Julia's blog, read her comments and take a look at her inspiring work as well!

Thank you!  I'm quite honored!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drawing still in progress!!

My progress on this graphite drawing is continuing.  This week has been crazy with starting a new semester of school, learning approx. 120 new student names and faces, and doing all the other little things that are required at the beginning of a new school year!   But - in between things I've done a little more work here an there on this drawing.   Its coming along!   I continue to really like the clayboard as a support for drawing.   It takes the medium quite well, doesn't smear, is easy to erase, and is easy to work with because it is rigid.   This one is made by Ampersand. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Progress is slow, but it continues

Graphite drawings are time consuming when done in a photographic way ... there's really no getting around that fact!   But, they do have a special beauty all their own as well.  If you compare this image to the two images in my most previous post, you'll see that the progress is expanding!   Yet, there is more to be done!    

My assessment of pencil on clayboard is still very positive!   It give a very smooth and workable surface.  Its also quite rigid, which can be helpful as well.   I'm wondering out loud now, about how it would work with pen and inks, with colored pencil, etc.   My intellect tells me it would be great - but the artist in me wants to "see".      Perhaps I'll try that soon! 
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