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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Wonder of Christmas

Nativity engraving by Gustave Dore

I've been thinking a lot this season about how amazing that 1st Christmas really was!   This engraving done several centuries ago, captures the atmosphere.  Mary and Joseph were ordinary people - going about life in a pretty ordinary way.  A shocking announcement brought about a shift in their lives of epic proportions.  And for the next 9 months they waited to see the promise!  No doubt a long and difficult wait - with many unkind thoughts and assumptions by those around them.  The shepherds, not the political leaders, were the first to hear the angelic announcement in the middle of the night .... ordinary people going about life in an ordinary way.  Their lives also forever changed by what they witnessed in the skies and then in the manger.  All of this, rather suddenly - unexpectedly really, in the midst of ordinary lives - particularly amazing because God had been silent for 4 centuries.  Nothing new from above... the world was waiting ~ sort of... maybe a lot of people thought the promise would never come.  Maybe they even wondered if there had really ever been a promise. And then --  this announcement in the night! 

But what an amazing thing!  God - known to these people as Almighty, Very Great, Creator, a God of past miracles and difficult laws - now he is showing Himself as a God of Love.  His gift was his own Son - Almighty God coming to live among us - as one of us.  Vulnerable. Completely weak - helpless, as any new baby is.   His trust in this young couple is astounding!  He sent His Son from a heart of love and longing to be connected to his creation - face to face!  Something He desired from the beginning of time - yet - impossible because of the fact of evil which had infiltrated creation from the start.   It was an impossible abyss for people to bridge - it could only be done by God Himself.  So, Jesus came that night in the form of a small baby... human yes - yet also the Son of God!   What great mystery.  And, from scripture we know that it was also in Jesus heart to come.  It was not a begrudging chore - but His desire, out of deep love, to be our rescuer! 

Rescue was needed!  By the people of that day - by the people of today.  God's plan of rescue, the only plan of rescue, was to allow Jesus to be the bearer of all that is unGod-like because it is a price too great for any of us to pay for ourselves, but not too great for the Son of God!  His plan of rescue only requires trust - trust that He is enough - that his gift is enough to satisfy the requirement.  He paid the ransom.   So, Christmas is the beginning of this daring plan of rescue.   Quietly, unobtrusively, the Son of God enters the world as a little baby - on a mission for the next 33 years - to rescue anyone who would wish to be rescued from life apart from Him, which is a life missing all the good that He wants to bestow and a certain judgment.  And instead, He promises Life!   Fully and forever - forgiven and accepted.  

So,  Merry Christmas!
May the deepest meanings of this season find their way into your heart
and allow you to celebrate with great joy! 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Landscape Commission - last few brushstrokes!

Landscape Commission (still deciding on a title)
20 x 26" Oil on Canvas 
©2014 Helen Read 

Other than a few final touches, which I'll make in a week or so when this is dry - and I'll have a scan made.... this one is ready to ship!   It will be going to New York.  It was quite a lot of work.  There was no 1 reference photo. In fact, there were almost a dozen!  
Its nice to have it mostly finished. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Highlights from my studio

The Christmas Holiday is upon us... then, just afterward is the New Year.
Wow, where did 2014 go? 

 
From my studio, here are some of where my time was spent.  
Of course, I'm not full time in my studio ~ teaching high school is my full time job. But consistent and frequent studio time is very important (as well as time working on matting, framing, and marketing are also part of the mix!)

Changing Seasons, abstract - acrylic on paper (22 x 15")


The Red Door, small pen/ink/watercolor landscape

Three Sisters, watercolor on Yupo 

Descanso Iris, watercolor on paper  (prints available)

Greenhouse Blooms,  watercolor on Yupo

First Breath of Spring, Oil pastel on illustration board

Country Pathway,  oil pastel on illustration board

Cellular Abstract, 15 x 22" acrylic on paper

The Edge of the Garden, Oil on canvas

These 5 paintings were sold to NBC studios for sets on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD - TV series

Callas at Sunrise, Oil on canvas

Hibiscus Bloom, watercolor on paper

Swedish Birches, oil pastel on illustration board

Autumn Colors, watercolor on Yupo

Sunflower drawing -- sold as tattoo art to a blog reader in England!  

Some of these works have sold, some are still quite available!  To see all that may be available from my studio please visit this link

And of course, I've been working on a commission this fall, which is larger and rather complex.  Here is its current state of being.... very soon to be finished! 
 
 Oil on canvas

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! 


Monday, December 15, 2014

December - glitter and bows

colored pencil on black drawing paper
©Helen Read 

I'm sure I'm not alone!  December is extraordinarily busy!   I've been busy with all the typical December things - and getting my students ready for final exams and finalizing their last projects of the semester.  I've also been busy with the commission I've been diligently working on. 
And then, of course, family things - work events - celebrations....  
well... lots going on! 

But, what a wonderful time of year!  Celebration is in the air. 
I hope you take some time to reflect on the Reason we stop to celebrate! 
Merry Christmas! 


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Landscape commission


Its been awhile since I posted my progress on this painting.  It is coming along and nearing completion... The color, here, is a little too intense due to the artificial light and my limited photo capabilities tonight.  I should have it finished soon and will post again before shipping it across the country to its new home. 


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