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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Still Available at great prices - and More Added!

Earlier this month, I let you know that  I've cleaned out my studio and I've stocked my Etsy shop with some of my work that needs a new home!  
You'll find some lovely works and great prices. 

I'm making room for new work - so come one and come all to find something for your home!

Link to Helen's Etsy Shop

I'd love to send you something colorful and cheerful ---  Original, one-of-a-kind, signed by me!!  
Visit now and find just the right thing!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Start to finish - and finally finished! Winter Twilight

Winter Twilight, 24x36" Oil on canvas 
©2016 Helen Read
(Shipping within the US is included in this price,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

Please contact me by email for payment methods - I'm willing to devise a payment plan that works for you - and/or shipping methods. 

I've finally finished this larger landscape painting.  It has been months in the making with some stops and starts in between.  I am trying to keep much better notes on my paintings as I go - so, I'm including them below.  If you have interest in my process you may find these notes interesting!  

Artist's Notes on Winter Twilight  7-19-16

January  30, 2016  - Klein Creek Farm – afternoon about 4:00

The reference picture for this painting

This year, snow was about melted (not much snow this past winter).  It was cold, but warm enough to be outdoors.  There was not much in the way of bird song – the water was not frozen, but not running very quickly.  Quite a placid afternoon.  I was particularly struck by the reflections in the water and the western horizon that had just a was of yellow in it as the sun retreated behind the tree line. 

In preparation for painting, I took photos.  I did thumbnail sketches, I did full size sketches in charcoal and adding color.  I did value studies and worked with 4 values in markers.  I also did drawings – particularly of the large tree on the left as it hung over the water – it was not a typical shape – a waterside, scrubby tree.  But it did have an interesting personality!   All of this to try to understand the landscape I was intending to paint – to understand the various elements of the landscape – to understand the shadows and light – to understand the colors, subdued as they were.  In all of this, trying to internalize something of the physics of the world that God has made.  

 above - thumbnail sketch
and marker value study with notes on values using a value scale (1-10)

Above - A full size charcoal sketch on paper
Below - sketch with color added

 A 9x12" drawing of the tree on the left side of the painting - as a way to understand the structure of this tree.
This drawing has since been sold. 

With preliminary work done, canvas ready, the painting began.  I’d like to say it went easily -  it didn’t.   The size is large.  The painting has to be scaled to fit.  There’s a lot of acreage to cover with paint.  There were times of feeling stuck and needing to stop awhile and think.  Decide what to do about what issue along the way. 

 Above  -  lightly sketched on canvas
Below - neutrals added for sky and water

 Above - a light wash of yellow added to the sky

Below - the progression of the painting - from the underpainting to the almost finished work. 

The palette of colors I used for this painting

was rather simplified.  The winter colors are rather subdued and neutral.  So my palette of colors needed to be rather subdued and simplified as well.  My medium was Liquin. 

Ultramarine blue
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Chromatic Black
Transparent Earth Yellow
Portland Gray Light
Torrit Gray
Warm White
Hansa Yellow Medium
Yellow Ochre 

I have not kept close track of my hours of work – maybe that’s for the best!  It was many hours.  This painting was started in February 2016 (January, if you count the day I first encountered this landscape when I was out trekking through the mud and chill)  It was finished in July 2016, with a few breaks in its work along the way.  I think what captured my attention was the tranquility of this winter scene, the beauty of its starkness, the reflections as they tangled and wound toward me while the lay of the water receded away from me. 

            I have hoped to capture the winter starkness just as the warmth of the sun cast its last golden glow across the scene.  Winter is always a long endurance here, but there is a warmth here that seems to breathe hope! 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

.... and a little more is done!

This has seemed an endless painting! 
But I actually am on the home stretch! 
In fact, I think it will be done in the next few days.  I'm going slowly now because drying time is essential.  There's nothing more irritating than to drag my hand (accidentally) through some fine details I just added. 
(And I've done that quite a few times on this one!) 

So, I'm being patient - working consistently - waiting for things to dry - and then all over again!  


Monday, July 11, 2016

A little more done!

I must say,  it does seem to be taking forever!    I'm working along on this larger painting (2' x 3')  and I continue to make progress.  I often find that because of wet paint I can only work for a short period of time before I have to stop and let it dry.  Too many times, I've rested my hand in wet paint - and then a lot of clean up has to happen.  the tree in the foreground is not yet finished, the foreground ground has to be worked on.  And unfortunately the lighting for this is really not accurate.  When its finished, I'll photograph accurately. 

My goal is to have this done in the next few days so it can be put into an exhibit.   Yikes!   I have a lot of irons in the fire - time is going too fast!   I hope that I'll have its final form here to see in just a few more days!  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Celebrating My 9 Year Adventure!!

It was July 2007....  I made a commitment to get serious!
I started this blog - and planned to paint a little bit every day.  I knew it would take discipline and I knew it wouldn't be easy... I am a full time public school teacher.  At the time I started this, I was also a full time single mom.  The kids have now grown, gotten married, and started families of their own.
I didn't know if I was crazy to even think I could do this... 

I can't say that I have painted every single day in these last nine years, but I've painted MOST days!  
I've seen a lot of ups and downs - belief and doubt - fear and confidence...
I've painted a lot of paintings - I haven't counted exactly, but its in the hundreds!  Some small, some large.
I've sold a lot of paintings here in the US, in Europe, and in Asia right here from my humble blog.   I've seen my own work and vision take shape, improve, and become more focused! 
Its been an adventure - well worth the investment of time and paint!!  
Its exciting to look back over these last 9 years and now, to look forward to what is in store! 

Featured above are paintings from my beginning - July 2007 and a sample of what I was doing in July of every year since!   I hope you can see the progression too!

To see all my available works, please click here!   There are many works available that are looking for their home! 

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