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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A work just begun ~ first few steps

A new painting!  There are numerous steps to prepare for a new painting. 

1. Concept --- what captures my attention?  What do I find interesting, beautiful, intriguing?  What speaks to me and causes me to want to interpret it, explore it, and use it as a vehicle to learn and speak of something?

2. Arrangement & Editing -  how will I best arrange the elements to make visual sense?  Will I remove certain things, reposition certain things, simplify?  How can the arrangement of the components draw the eye of the viewer into the painting?

3. Evaluation - What values are shown?  Are these realistic values and how can I make notations so that when I mix my paint I have the proper values.  (You can probably see some of my notations in the top thumbnail and value study)

4. Create an underpainting - lay in thin washes of neutral colors to establish the composition and values. 

This is what you see in the lower image - which is a partial underpainting before I ran out of time this evening.

Next steps will be
1.  Finish the underpainting
2.  Establish the color harmony that I want to use. 
3.  Mix paint  for for proper color temperatures, mixtures, and values
4.  Begin to paint in thin layers, building up my painting.

Of course, throughout all this process I will be evaluating as I go to be sure I'm on target. 

This landscape will be 9x12" when finished and just in the first 4 steps at the top, a good amount of work and time has already been invested.  As the artist, I only have an idea of where this is going to end up - some of it will be determined along the way as the painting begins to speak to me! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset,  8x10" Oil on canvas panel
©2016  Helen Read
Ready to frame
(Please add $20 shipping in the US,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Aerial Drama!  This is a view from my backyard last week!  Such beauty!  And that word falls short of what it truly is ... breathtaking beauty!   Painting this was indeed a challenge.  The shapes of the clouds, the lights and darks of them, the colors of them, the streaks of light!   I hope I captured even a fraction of it!  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sunflower ~ tattoo drawing

It's always a surprise when someone finds my work and has a special request!   A week or so ago, someone got in touch with me from England to ask for a design that they wanted to have made into a tattoo.  So, with a little bit of email discussion back and forth to find out exactly what was wanted - this is was the final design, sent off this evening.

It's an honor to have someone want to wear your art!   And, what a pretty tattoo this will be!   This is the 2nd tattoo design I've done for someone ...  both of them from England! 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Prayers from the Field - Landscape Exhibit

A new exhibit -
Prayers from the Field

A collection of 11 landscape paintings of God's beautiful physical world
with an artist's response. 
The Landscape Speaks to the Artist’s Heart

This series of paintings, accomplished over a period of several years, is meant to capture the beauty and wonder of the created world with its ever changing properties; the play of light, the depth of shadow, its changing colors as they brighten and fade, its proper clothing for the various seasons.

As I paint, I have also found that the landscape and all of creation, speak to me of the vastness, the beauty, the wisdom of our God who created it all.   I see His joy in what He has crafted, from expansive vistas to the close up view.  I see His intimacy and attention to the smallest details.

In response, my heart is called to prayer as I observe His lovely world. I am reminded of the faithfulness, the goodness
~ the GLORY~

of our beautiful God as He invites us to enter into it.

Winter Twilight ,  comes early in February.  It descends quietly.  The birds cease their wintry song and the gentle peace of evening falls with a final wash of setting sun on the horizon. 

“Oh Lord, Your goodness – Your beauty – is cast across Your creation, even in the bleakness of winter.  The final light of the evening bears witness of Your presence as a cold night falls.”

Winter Twilight,
24x36” Oil on stretched canvas,  Helen Read - 2016

The Thaw ~ those last days of winter before spring has yet to arrive.  The earth is shrouded in its waiting.  The dried leaves and traces of snow leave a broken path toward what will be.  And so, patience becomes the instructor.

“I live in a hurried world; a frenetic world.  Yet, I am reminded by observing Your world, Lord, that patience is a virtue.  You are patient and kind in Your tender care over my hurried life.  You never fail, and my lessons in waiting are never futile.”

The Thaw, 9x12” Oil on Gesso Board    Helen Read - 2015

Tall Oaks - standing upright, towering above the others in the
field - these 3 are strong, with spreading branches; beautiful sentinels that speak silently of their Maker. 

“Lord of Heaven – righteous and holy – let me find all my contentedness in You.  Strengthen me to stand firmly where You have planted me.”

Tall Oaks, 20x16” Oil on canvas panel, Helen Read – 2016

Spring Awakens,  Listen!  These new spring days are filled with joyful song… the birds have returned, the first leaves of green are emerging where once - not long ago - snow blanketed the earth.  Today, Life Rejoices!

“My spirit soars, Lord, as I breathe in the celebration that ushers in spring.  You are faithful in all Your ways.  You nurture Your creation.  You accept her glad praise!

Spring Awakens, 12x9” Oil on Linen Panel   Helen Read - 2016

Lincoln Marsh Pathway, it winds right and then left – it splits off and rejoins.  What winding uncertainty!  What lies ahead?  A destination not fully known.

“Oh, Faithful Lord, forgive my many doubts when I can’t see far ahead.  When I look back, You have always known the true path and held my hand, showing me the way.  Why would I doubt You now?”

Lincoln Marsh Pathway, 12x9” Oil on Linen Panel  Helen Read - 2016

Arbor Pathway.  Sunlight and shadow;  they always go hand in hand.  But without one, there is no other.  Both enhance and define the vista.

“You remind me, Lord, through observing Your world, that where there are shadows, there is the promise of Your light.  There is not one without the other.  And yes, they both give definition – they both are
the story of my path.”

Arbor Pathway, 16 x 12” Oil on Stretched Canvas,  Helen Read - 2015

Quiet Water.  If you listen, you will hear the sound of full summer – a very gentle breeze, the hum of cicadas, the ripples of water as it laps along the edge.   All this abundance clad in green.  Creation breathes peace to the soul.

“How could I not be reminded of these lines of David’s psalm,  ‘…He leads me beside still water, he restores my soul…’   You are the great restorer, Lord. You are the source of peace, and You give it gladly.”

Quiet Water, 12x9” Oil on Linen Panel    Helen Read - 2015

Moving Waters , rushing, churning, whirling, stirring… troubled water.  In this great force, one sees both power and that which sustains.   There is no quiet reflection here, but a streambed that is pulled upward toward the surface.  There are times when life itself has this turbulence… uncertainty, unexpected events, transitions.  

“In troubled times, Lord, I first see only the TROUBLE. It looms large and is overwhelming.  I easily forget to look beyond the forces of turbulence to see Your power is greater still and that Your hand is steady.  I  am slow to comprehend that perhaps You have allowed the rushing, churning, whirling of life around me
and will teach me of your goodness.
I find comfort in this - You have promised to sustain me.” 

Moving Waters, 8 x 10” Oil on Stretched Canvas   Helen Read - 2015

The Tunkhannock Viaduct.   It rises toward the sky and takes flight above a world of tangled green.  Through its arches and openings, the shimmering sunlight vibrates with life.  Even in man’s great constructions, the Creator’s touch gives a greater beauty.

“Yes, great feats of engineering and skill have been allowed to us in our humanity. But You, Lord, bless the works of our hands with Your touch of beauty and majesty.  Without Your touch, our greatest works are ordinary and temporal.  I need Your touch on everything I do!”

Tunkhannock Viaduct, 9x12” Oil on Stretched Canvas   Helen Read - 2013

Golden October,  Oh Color… Golden Color -  clothing for the autumn season…Magnificence that merely echoes the glory of God! How can we comprehend this otherworldly beauty?

“As I gaze at Your unbridled extravagance of color, Lord, it speaks of Your joy!  You spare nothing in the way of glorious, beautiful color.  You feed our souls with just a hint of Your glory!”

Golden October, 12x9” Oil on Linen Panel   Helen Read - 2016

Autumn at Herrick Lake, is a study of reflections and all that lies beyond.   Look deeply, beyond the shadows, beyond the carpet of floating leaves. There is the mystery of eternity here, nearly hidden.

“Beyond all I can see, beyond my ability to imagine… You are there, Lord, with a vast and unmeasured beyond.  What I can see is all that I imagine to exist, but You have treasures that I have never contemplated and an eternity in which to reveal them.” 

Autumn at Herrick Lake,  10 x 8” Oil on Linen Panel    Helen Read - 2015

Exhibit may be viewed: 
Evangel Baptist Church
1900 Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL 

Paintings available - please email Helen or visit

Prices ~ framed and unframed 
8x10"    ~   $199 framed         $180 unframed
9x12"    ~   $274 framed        $245 unframed
12x16"   ~   $424 framed      $385 unframed
20x16"    ~  $759 framed       $720 unframed 
24x36"    ~     unframed $1598 

Frames are solid wooden frames - photo can be provided.
Please add $20.00 shipping within the US.,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax.
International shipping quoted upon request.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Once again ~ coneflowers

(Throwback Thursday)

I've just returned home from a week out of town, so I'm posting a set of 3 paintings from a few summers ago.
These have been on a long term loan, but are now returning to my studio. 
They are still available! 
I love their bright color and the interesting array of the center ~  a sense of being on fire!  The seeds in the center of a coneflower actually follow the fibonacci sequence, which is nearly impossible to duplicate in paint - but you do get a sense of the order in these paintings.

The top one, Front and Center, measures 8x8" oil, on a gallery wrapped canvas   $100.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)

The lower left one, Center Flame, measures 7x5" oil on canvas   $80.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
and the lower right one, Coneflower, measures 5x7" oil on canvas  $80.00(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)

They may be sold separately, but them make a strong impact as a group of 3. 
(15% discount on purchase of all 3)  - $221(Please see note below about shipping and IL sales tax)
(Please add $12.00 ea postage if mailed separately in the US.  International shipping is additional,
if mailing all 3 to the same address, please add $20 shipping in the US. 
IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)

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