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Monday, May 31, 2010

Old Favorites - Sunflowers

Left, 5x5" Oil on canvas - Sunflower bowing left
Center, 5 x 7" Oil on canvas- Sunflower in repose
Right, 5x5" Oil on canvas - Sunflower leaning right

Discounted when purchased as a group - please click here

These 3 are small, but continue to be some of my favorites!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The weekend in review

Student Art Show 2010

Every year our school has a student exhibit. Hundreds of pieces of work are on display for a weekend. This past weekend was that event! Its a great showing of work - but for art teachers, it is a LOT of work to get it put together. We use the school library - which has to be radically rearranged. First, our classes take all the furniture out of the library and move it into storage. For a school our size, this means about 50 tables and several hundred chairs. The book stacks remain, but that's all that stays put. Then we erect many peg board pieces that will hold the art. This necessitates moving those from storage at the other end of the school with all the hardware that is necessary. Once those are set up, everything is draped in black sheeting and then the hanging begins. Each piece must be matted, clipped, and hung with the appropriate hardware. Students help with this, but need a lot of direction for hanging with some balance and so that it is 'readable' to the viewer with an interesting flow of color or genre. Creating visual impact is something most students do not innately possess!

Once the show is hung, the judging occurs. This is done by outside judges - but as a teacher - ribbons must be hung (many of them!) That all precedes the reception that is often held and the open to the public hours for parents, friends, and community members. These open hours must be supervised. Some of those hours are during school so that fellow students may visit. Some of those hours are in the evening and on Saturday.

After all this, during which time the regular library function does not occur, we disassemble everything from 7:15 to 11:00 am on the next Monday morning - taking all evidence of an art exhibit down and return the library to its original function!

It is a lot of work ~ but one in which our students enthusiastically participate! The photo above only shows 1 directional view. There was much to the left and right of this photo and many pieces displayed behind. This doesn't give the full sense of how much was there to be seen! Besides 2-D works, our students also displayed their work with ceramics and metal smithing. Some of our architecture students also put their 3-D models on display.

All in all, it was a resounding success! But, for those of us who pull it together every year - rest and recuperation is the next order of business!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Worship II

Worship II, Presence - 15 x 20" Oil pastel and acrylic on paper
©Helen Read

This is another in my series on worship. Again, I'm using abstraction to express an abstract notion. As I created this, its form began to emerge! I love working this way, because even as the artist I find that my outcomes are as big a surprise to me as they would be to anyone viewing the work! I love being surprised while I work! (Actually, that happens rather regularly to artists!) It began to speak to me in the process of its creation as how the presence of God flows and moves and wraps and reaches. To me, that is a very comforting thought ~ as the Psalms so often remind us - Where can I go where the Spirit of God is not there?

To see more of this series, check out my website. Please click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Marigolds Repeated

Marigold Magnified, 5x7" Oil on canvas
©2008, Helen Read
Ready to frame
Please click here for more information on this painting

In honor of summer and this prolific flower that decorates so many gardens, I painted this a few years ago. I am now planting my garden again, so this seemed appropriate!
The intensity of the color and its distinctive smell are reminders of the
hot weather that will come!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I will worship

Worship I, from the series
©Helen Read
acrylic and mixed media

This piece is a complete abstraction - showing a completely abstract concept.... worship. My idea here was to start with no preconceived idea - but let my hands and the media be an act of worship in a completely non-verbal language.

I believe that the Lord God is the master artist.... just look at the world in which we live! Look at the sky, the arrangement of clouds, color, stars, and moon! Look at a field bursting forth with life at the end of the winter. Look at the clothing of burning autumn color on trees and bushes that were very recently a hundred tones of green! Not only is creation visually a work of art - it is also a work of art systematically and conceptually. From His hands have flowed all of creation and from His hands all is sustained! From the mysterious gravitational pull in our universe down to the forces that keep the tiniest atomic structure in place. From His hands the colors of light are painted across the sky and dappled across my front lawn. From His hands each dew drop clings to the blades of grass and sparkles in the sunlight - containing a tiny reflection of the world around it, when one looks closely. When we look deeply and take time to consider the world we take for granted - it is far greater than amazing!

My offering of worship is comparably very small - and yet, it is acceptable. That's the great thing about the Lord; He is a God of great and unmeasurable love, and he accepts our worship when we put it forth with a sincere heart.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Spring Arrives, 10 x 8" Acrylic on canvas
©Helen Read, 2010
Ready to Frame
I've been a little technologically hampered this week. Because of switching my phone service to which my internet service has been tied, everything is not working! Its been days, and many phone calls, and hours of working with the provider via cell phone.... all to very little avail!
Nevertheless, I press on!! And, hope springs eternal .... I continue to hope my internet will be working today or tomorrow. You may wonder how I've been able to post with this problem - and to that I say, "necessity is the mother of invention". I'm carrying flash drives between my home computer and another computer to make posts - but it is VERY cumbersome!
Enough about that .... this little abstract painting may take you by surprise, if you watch the genre of my work on any regular basis. However, abstraction is not a new genre for me. Some things are much better expressed this way! Abstraction is not an easy way to express one's thoughts - even though the work is not organized into a realistic or even, perhaps, recognizable format, still - the work must contain a combination of the elements and principles of art, done well. This is always a quest for me - and it makes me into a more thoughtful and intentional artist.
This work is a celebration of the arrival of spring! It is an outflow of my emotions after a long, and almost interminable winter season! It is meant to be an explosion of color and if you look deeply, you will see layer upon layer of color and shape and repetition.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Green Fringe

Green Fringe, 8 x 5" mixed media on paper
©2010, Helen Read
ready to mat and frame

For information on this small artwork,
please visit this link.

This small painting, is about the only one I was able to get out of my studio this month! This small flower (quite green) was given to me in a larger bouquet.

The month of April had some unexpected events ~ the older I get, the more uncertainty I notice in life. On April 1st, I got a phone call from my parents who live about 1100 miles away. My dad spoke to me, telling me he had had a heart attack during the night before. He was calling me from the hospital. Though this was serious news, he sounded strong and positive. Of course, I kept in touch by phone, and it sounded as if he was improving and in fact, he was released to return home on Easter Sunday. That evening, he had a similar, although worse heart attack in the night, again being hospitalized. At that time it became evident that I needed to go to TX. I made my reservations, and then though there was no real worsening of his condition, a day later I changed my reservations to go the next day. This meant frantic work on my end, writing lesson plans for a week and arranging a substitute teacher, and getting things ready to go at home.
Unexpectedly, during that night before I got there, he had a final heart attack and passed away very peacefully.

Thus began the month of April and an unexpected trip to TX in the spring time, a gathering of dear family and friends, and saying a final, earthly good bye to my dad. In spite of the reasons for being together, it was a wonderful time of celebration, really. Remembering my dad and his funny personality, recalling the many ways he touched the lives of those around him, and the piece that spoke the most reassurance, celebrating his strong and certain faith in Jesus Christ, his Savior. His was a full and rich life - from being a WW2 veteran, to his life career working in various capacities with young people as a leader and educator, to working in various capacities of leadership in his church. But, its not a life about all the things he did that gives us a sense of peace and hope - it is that he placed his simple trust in Jesus as his Savior. That's something that takes no special talent - only a heart that believes.

So as we said good bye, there were tears - of course - but more that that, there was joy. For those of us who have believed the words of the Bible, that Jesus is our redeemer and the lover of our souls, we will be reunited beyond this temporal life. That is a reason for more joy than sorrow.
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