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Monday, June 29, 2015

Moving Water - Klein Creek

Klein Creek, 8x10" oil on canvas 
©2015, Helen Read 
ready to frame
(please add $20.00 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax) 

This has been a very rainy spring and summer time!  In fact, I can't remember a year that rivals this one for rainfall!    Consequently, the streams and full and flowing fast!  This little creek that isn't too far from my home is now more like a small river, moving swiftly!    I was particularly interested in depicting the movement of water, and also how the light and shadows played upon it.  In some areas it was quiet water, in some areas it was moving with quite rapidly and with froth and foam.
The colors of the water changed as well, from a muddy brown in the sun to a cooler reflective color in the shade!  All so interesting to the eye and a challenge to capture!  

More water!!

Literally!!  Rain, rain, rain .... And paint, too! 

This is a still water painting - I'm still taking the painting class - which is not quite complete (foreground!)  it's a little larger - and getting this done with so much rain has been a challenge!  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Still water - working on reflections

I feel a little overwhelmed!  Light and reflections change constantly - and so do the values.  I'm working along on this - but I feel as if its 2 steps forward and 1 step back.  I guess that's slow progress!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adding Color

Many interruptions this week... Rain a lot of the week, and some urgent personal issues that have required attention.... But, I have managed to get out and work on painting - and start adding color to this from last week.  I have more to do - its only about half done - but it's a good start!  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Moving water

I'm about a week into my online painting class.  We have been learning a lot about optics and what we are seeing with reflections in still and moving water.  This is today's work.... An oil sketch really just recording values rather than color.  

This was a very fast stream - muddy, churning, bubbling! I stood on a bridge looking down upon it as it rushed underneath me.  Let me just say, painting water has proven to be quite a challenge, particularly moving water!  Perhaps I will put color to this - I think it has promise for something more than a sketch! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

The hard work of - seeing... The presence of Glory!

Some plein air drawings with notes from the last few days

Now that school is out - I get to be a student!  I started taking a class in painting water a few days ago - and we are working plein air (meaning working from observation, not photographs).  The first assignments have been to do drawings focusing on value changes that we see in the landscape and and in the reflections.  We've also been delving into a text which is more than 100 years old written by a Scottsman.  The first few chapters focus on the physics of reflected light.  It has been challenging, to say the least, and it has required quite a bit of re-reading and taking some notes to let it all soak in. 

So, I said that the act of seeing is hard work!  And it is.  Seeing what is happening in the surface of still water is challenging enough.  It's, after all, a fluid surface.  The way things reflect depend on the angle of view, the light, and the distance between the shore and where the distant object starts.  And the value and color are somewhat altered in the water too.  Understanding the laws of optics and observing them in real life make for much more complete understanding.  And capturing that on paper is work!  It requires diligence and persistence.... its hard work!   The way things are reflected in moving water is even more challenging!  What you see one moment will be different the next.  The way light is reflected is much more complicated, the way objects are reflected is also more complicated.  The work of observing and recording that is more intense and more exhausting! 
I'm not complaining - just reporting on the origins of these little drawings (which are really only very rough value studies to see what happens with watery reflections). 

But all of that has also led me to another observation; this one of a spiritual nature. The beauty of the natural world is also a reflection.  It is a reflection of the absolute glory of the Creator!  One does not sit in silence while observing nature --- far from it!  What I am taking great joy in as I observe carefully is the background chorus of birdsong, the jump of a fish, the extending ring of ripples, the feel of a light, cooling breeze, the smell of water, the scent of blooming trees, the variety of colors, the cast of moving light...  It is all of creation exuberantly participating in God's world.  And being there, myself, observing - recording - enjoying is also participation, and it brings me to celebrate His worth!   
                                                                    Ps. 24:1 --  The earth is the Lord's and everything in it! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Arbor Path

Arbor Path, 16 x 12" Oil on canvas
© 2015 Helen Read 
Ready to frame 
(please add $20.00 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8.25% sales tax)

Finally, this is complete.  Its taken awhile, as I had to finish this school semester and close up my classrooms in the middle of it's progress.  It has been a journey in some ways.  I've learned a lot along the way.  This one presented an intense amount of work with the color green, of which there are countless possibilities of this 1 color!   Also, it required working with the idea of shadows and sunlight and working with bright patches of sun and less bright light spots.

I continue to work on my understanding of landscapes and how to depict the beauty of God's creation with accuracy and also with a sense of poetry.   I learn something new with every painting I do.  I sense that there is always more to learn - that we, as artists, never learn everything there is to learn! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Working Through Shadow and Light

I think I'm on the home stretch here!  I have a few more small adjustments, but most of this is in it's final form. 

I've learned a lot as I've worked on this one.  Mostly, I've learned about creating an interesting array of greens in various values. I've also explored the differences between value and chroma (saturation).  I've thought about composition and placement of components. I have also considered the under structure created by values.  

I still have much to think about as I self-critique. I'll post the final version in the next few days! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mixed Greens!

It's been a few days since the last peek at this - and I've been adjusting some values and working on the foreground a little more.  I've mixed many varieties of green for this one!! ( I think the photo looks a little too violet in the background - its far less noticeable in reality. )

Also, summer vacation has begun!  My last final exam has been graded and grades have been submitted - I'm looking forward to some rest!  

I hope this will be completed in the next few days. More adjustments may be needed, though.  This is definitely a painting that has required that I work slowly and "listen" to what it's telling me as I go. I hope I've been hearing correctly! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Working with the Greens

It's been a evening of green tonite... Lots of green!  I've been studying trees and their values and making studies of various mixes of green.  

Progress is slow - but I'm learning a lot along the way!  That's it for tonite!  It's time to let this rest for awhile! 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2 steps forward and 1 step back... Slow progress.

It would be just great if every painting somehow just flowed from the brush.... Alas, that almost never happens! And it isn't happening with this one either! Sigh...  So I undid just about everything I did earlier this evening.  

The values need adjustment. And working with the color green can be - shall we say - intense!  It's very easy for greens to become acidic on the one hand or insipid on the other. I've been shooting progress pictures and converting them to black and white to try to see where adjustments are needed. 

I will have to return to these questions and probably more tomorrow. It's time to clean brushes and get ready for a day of final exams and grading tomorrow.  
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