Friday, August 18, 2017

Let's Be Friends!

In another week or so, I'll be sending out my September mailing
and Guess What!  

There's going to be a little contest for an original little painting give away!
You never know... you might be the winner!

So, all you have to do is sign up below.  Not only will you be included in all the future fun stuff I send  (about once a month), but you will be able to participate in the September contest and you'll get a "welcome gift" that I think you'll enjoy. 
 Its completely free.... so you have nothing to lose, but its only available to my friends who receive my email news. 

Here's the sign up!
Oh, and if you include your birthday I'll send you something special that month! 
(Your year remains your secret!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Finches and Flowers

Finch on a Flower, 6x6" oil on gesso board 
© 2017  Helen Read 
Ready to Frame! 
(Please add $10 domestic shipping, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

Just a few days ago, as I stood in my kitchen looking out the window, this is what I saw!
From my little finch feeder, a small finch darted down to a coneflower and sat perched on top.

It was not much bigger than the flower itself
and apparently was weightless

because the flower didn't seem to even notice it was there; still standing tall, graceful and unwavering.
Such colorful beauty - all framed in the deep greenery of the rest of the garden.
 It deserved, I thought as I watched, to become a little composition to share!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Brushstrokes, etc. is 10 years old!

Kolrabi, 7x5" oil on canvas  2007

In 2007,  I began working on a much more consistent basis.   My effort was to paint a little bit every day, which I believed was possible even with a family and working full time as a high school teacher. 

Knee High, Snowy Egret, 7x11.5" watercolor and acrylic on paper  2010

What a valuable exercise and commitment!   My work has been varied and has led me down roads of new explorations.  Often I've brought my travels into my work 
Coastal Road, 5x7" oil on canvas   2011

 Painting became another voice.... a way of bringing delightful things into the realm of the visual to share with others.  I've always loved landscapes - which is a reflection of my love of the natural world.  And I've always loved looking deeply into the "ordinary" to find what surprises might be seen!

Jewel Weed,  8.5x7" watercolor/acrylic on paper   2012

Herrick Lake,  8x10" oil on gesso board   2015

As I devoted more time and effort - the results of my commitment have taken flight.  I've been able to communicate the beauty of creation all the more clearly.   And one enduring truth has come clear:  We never stop learning...
there is always more to learn, new ways to grow, and new ways to express that inner voice.
Tall Oaks, 20x16" oil on canvas   2016
 I've had the wonderful opportunity to paint the beauty I see and share my work in local exhibits.  And, it's a wonderful honor to send original work to customers across the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia. 

Lovely Lavender,  6x9" oil on gesso board   2017
Yes, a lot has happened in the last 10 years.  I hope a succession of growth is obvious from top to bottom of these paintings.  Now, I anticipate the next years!   I am excited to think how this journey of visual
expression will develop!   This endeavor is not always easy.  I still work full time, I still have a family (though they are no longer young and in my home, they are nearby and time with them is a high priority - helping, loving, nurturing a new generation),  and of course, just the daily tasks of life!  But, my calling as an artist cannot be ignored, so I follow the path - into joyful color, beautiful shape and form, textures and values. 

What I have learned through these last years is
• Perseverance is vital
• Committing myself to growth is necessary ~ learning is a life long journey
• I must commit to spending the necessary time to see, to be intrigued, to enjoy, and
then to express visually 
• I have little to say if I do not share my work!
• I need the accountability of friends (you!) which motivates me to persevere!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Who Doesn't Love ....

A Great Offer? 

Summer Scents -  7x5" Oil on gesso board
©2017, Helen Read 
If you are a member of my Studio Friends eMail List, you will get a newsletter at the beginning of the month that has a great offer - or maybe more than one great offer!   Maybe you already are a member, and if you read my last email just a few days ago, you know that I'm stepping it up!  

I have a lot of 
new ideas to make your participation a lot more 

Here are some things you'll be seeing (but only if you are on my list!)
a monthly newsletter full of visual images of new work and other newsworthy things going on in my world!
(in my August newsletter, I shared my latest studio work and some big family news with pictures... oh, and in the next newsletter, I'll have even more family news to share!) 
A special offer at a very special price for that month with free domestic shipping! (Hard to beat that!)
(see the above painting which is the August offer at about 40% off it's regular pricing) 
If you send me your birthday month, you will get a special birthday email with a birthday give away!
From time to time, you'll get special discounts or coupons - just for my list members. 
There's a free gift for new members who sign up and a gift for those who refer their friends who become new members of my list.
Look for periodic freebies that you can download - just for fun ( something you'd enjoy doing, seeing, participating in, or find inspiring) 
On various months, I'll run contests and drawings that will offer fun give-aways!  

And who knows!  I'm always on the look out for more ideas!   

My aim is to create something fun, be interesting & informative, and bring value to my friends.
One thing I want you to know ~  it's something that I dislike - therefore, it's something I won't ever do - is share your address and information with anyone else!  
 That is why I use a safe email server that protects your information and only sends you the emails that I create. 

So!  What's holding you back!?  
It's easy to sign up!  
 Use the box below - and I'll send you my August newsletter as well as a gift from me to you!
You'll automatically receive future newsletters with all the benefits I've mentioned above!   I look forward to the beginning of a beautiful friendship!  

Just a reminder that the reason I've asked for your birthday is so that I can send you a little birthday greeting.  (please notice I have not asked for the year!  It's never polite to ask someone's age! )    Once you've signed up, you can expect to receive my August newsletter that went out last week - and a little thank you gift too! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem, Chicago Flower Market
8x10" oil on gesso board
©2017  Helen Read 
( Please add $12 domestic shipping) 
(IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Wandering through a flower market (even if quite small) is such an experience for the senses!
There is no end of the colors and variations of colors.  From greens in every possible shade to reds, yellows, purples, oranges, and whites!  It is a will riot of colors and shapes and sizes, of smells and textures... all of it speaking of diversity and beauty!  A testimony of God's creativity!

This little glimpse of the market place is almost dry and will be ready to send soon!

Join my email newsletter list and immediately save your shipping costs!  It's easy and you'll get monthly newsy emails from me with a variety of special offers.  Just click the invite button below!

Friend invite! Join me!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sunflower Basket

 Sunflower Basket, 10x8" Oil on gessoboard
© 2017 Helen Read 

(Please add $12 domestic shipping)
(IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)

You've probably guessed it!  Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers to draw and paint.  They are big and bold and they radiate a lot of color!   Aptly named for the sun, don't you think!

Bring some cheer into your home - all it needs is a frame and it's ready to hang!

* Includes domestic shipping - US Priority Mail.  International shipping costs will be quoted by location and additional shipping charge will be applied.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How I got from here to there.... my process


Its always kind of interesting to see a process, don't you think? 
This week, I've been working on a new painting - which is not quite dry yet ...  not quite ready to post in it's final form.  But I took pictures of it along it's journey from first strokes of paint to its near finish.    You'll see I did not start with a drawing - I just began laying in layers of transparent color where they should occur within the painting.

Then in the wet paint, I "drew in" where I wanted the basic shapes to be.
With both transparent and opaque paint, I began to lay in color and form, shadows and light to bring this painting to life.  It's a little different approach than I have typically used - but it gives the final painting a lot of freedom in the way paint is applied and the way color mixes.  

Here's a little better view of the end.... I'll be posting this one soon!  (It will be looking for it's new home!) 

Star of Bethlehem, (Chicago Flower Market), 8x10" - Oil on gesso board
©2017  Helen Read

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Abundance and Diversity

Chicago Flower Market, 5x7 oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 

This little painting is going to its new home in North Carolina! 
This spring, I painted this from a visit I made to a small but delightful flower market in Chicago. There was every color and size of flowers in complete abundance. There was every iteration of green and so many textures in the foliage! Abundance and diversity - hallmarks of God's creative hand!

It's easy to bring home a colorful, vibrant and original work of art!  
You can visit my website to see much of what is available, or scroll down through this blog.  
The wonderful thing for the artist about creating art is that we get to share  our vision - what we see in our own unique way - with others.  Hopefully, this artistic vision bring joy, beauty, and delight to it's new home! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Framed! The final touch!

The value of framing!  

A painting always feels more finished - more presentable when the right frame is found, 
the painting is secured in it, and finally it is displayed. 
The wrong frame, however, can have the opposite effect. 

What makes the frame the right one? 

A lot depends on the picture being framed as well as the taste of the one who will display it. 
But, here are a few things to keep in mind: 
1.  You do not want the frame to "speak" more loudly than the painting. 
Simplicity is a good rule of thumb. 
2.  Consider the colors in the painting.  What kind of frame enhances them best? 
In this case a simple black frame.  
3.  Consider the style of the painting.  This painting is more contemporary in style, so 
a very sleek black frame seemed to work better than a natural wood colored one. 
4.  Finally, consider the subject matter in the painting.  Depending on the subject, you may have a type of frame that is more appropriate than another.

Personal taste is also a factor, but the considerations above are perhaps more important guidelines. 

Enjoy the process of choosing the right frame!  The right frame makes a world of difference and puts that finishing touch on a lovely work of art!  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lovely Lavender

Lovely Lavender, 6x9" Oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
Includes domestic shipping.  (International shipping will be quoted by location)
(IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

It's almost magical - a whole field of lavender!  Not only is lavender beautiful and it has a lovely old fashioned scent, did you know that it has been used for centuries as an insect repellent!?   But - back to the painting! 
In this scene, you see rows and rows of it's beautiful color with little peeks of green showing through.  The shadows are also quite interesting and full of color.  All of this within the view of distant hills and trees. 
Delightful display of color! 

This one is still drying, but will be ready to send within a short time.  
It is ready to frame and will look stunning on any wall!  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A 4th of July Celebration - $49!

Yes, the 4th of July is just around the corner.... summer is well underway!   
And it is time to CELEBRATE!!  

Just for a few days - now until July 7th - I'm offering these 6 small gems at a very celebratory price! 
$49.00 which includes domestic shipping!  (IL residents please add 8% sales tax)
 Each of these small colorful gems is ready to frame. 
Sold - Sunflowers in Cobalt
Sold - Chicago Flower Market

I'm cleaning out my studio to make way for new work that will be coming soon, so now is a great opportunity to hang original work in your home!    

Just email me which one you'd like to have me send (1st email receives the painting), and I'll confirm it with you and let you know how to finish the details with Paypal so I can put it into Priority Mail to your home. 

Oh, and please join my email list!  When you are on the list, you receive the first word about such exciting offers as this one!  Just click the button below to be added, your email address is safe with me!! 

Yes, add me to your list!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Cheerful Good Morning!

Still drying!   This small gem - bright and colorful - seems to spread it's cheer. 
It is 7x5" oil on gesso board. 

A bright start to summer painting!  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A White Iris


White Iris,  7x5" watercolor on 300# paper
©2017  Helen Read 


This week I received a commission to do this lovely little watercolor painting.  The video shows it's progress from first ideas, through the final rendition.  
It's always fun to see how the painting unfolds and becomes itself, often dictating to me along the way what it needs and how I need to make alterations.    It still needs to be matted and framed, but this here you see it's final form.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Another Sunflower Tattoo!

Sunflower ©2017 Helen Read 

I'm always a little amazed at the way in which we are connected through the internet!   Just this week, I've sold my 3rd sunflower tattoo to people who have found me online.  Several of those have been to people in the UK, and this one will be worn state side.  Each of them is similar, but is also unique - something that will not be worn by anyone else!  It is an honor to have someone wear my art, and in some cases I get to help them honor someone who was important to them.    And sunflowers seem to be the image that is most requested!   

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Thoughts on Creativity from my Garden

I'm writing, dear Creative Friends, from my garden this morning, where important ideas sometimes show themselves more clearly.    I include myself as I write (maybe I'm mostly writing to myself!)  although I think there may be some of you who find yourself where I do, sometimes.... or often!  

 We, as creative souls, need encouragement and words of inspiration to keep picking up the pencil or the brush, to sit down again at the keyboard, or pick up an instrument, or to just form thoughts into words.   
Because creative expression
can be

That haunting voice sometimes asks, "Why am I doing this?  Is it worth my time? Who is interested?" ... 
I am acquainted with that voice, too. 
So, here are some thoughts I am embracing today...
Thoughts to motivate and propel, rather than to paralyze and stymie.  This is a little love note to me and to you about our creative pathway.  

"We have been entrusted with something uniquely ours"

It is important to step out and share that special thing for good.   For me, and maybe for you too, I see this as a unique, one-of-a-kind endowment.  No one else (through all of time) has ever had my experiences, perceptions, or my particular voice.  To suppress that, to minimize it, or to deny it is a loss ~ to myself and to others. 

My faith plays into this in a big way.  I am a Christ-follower, and I want to use whatever interests and skills He has created in me to the highest value.  So, even when I wonder  "is this worth anything at all?"  
I need to embrace these realizations:

  • I will be an active participant, not an idle bystander. 
  • I will trust that the creative spirit, which is part of my deepest self and a reflection of our Creator, matters! 
  • I will step out of my comfort zone, out of complacency or my own imprisonment of self-doubt.  
  • I will remember that even when I can't see exactly where I am going (which is most of the time, if I'm perfectly honest), that I am not finding my way alone
  • I will recognize that fear paralyzes and it destroys.  It harbors all that limits me.
    So, let me encourage YOU, my creative friend...   Don't give in!  Don't give up!  Don't believe for a second that your art  ~ in whatever form it takes ~ is not worth the effort, because it is!    It's what your soul hungers for , what others near you need.... what the world needs! 


"You are the only person in this world who can express in your voice, what you see, or hear, or imagine."

Someone needs to hear it!  This world needs the beauty you bring to it.   Pick up your brush, plant that flowering plant, take hold of that musical instrument, move to the music you hear!  The world is a better place for it!  

"So, let's not get tired in doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap
a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."  
                             (Galatians 6:9  NLT) 


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spring - again

Spring ends up being a very busy time of year in the life of a teacher.
In fact, there's hardly time to breathe as we finish the school year and get our graduates out the door and batten down the hatches for summer... 

So, I'm posting a couple of my favorites from Spring 2016! 
And I will be back in my studio producing Summer 2017 paintings very soon! 
Both of these, by the way, are still available!  

I don't know about you, but I never get tired of spring's arrival and the beauty it brings !
Spring Awakens, 12x9" oil on linen panel
Click here for more info

Lincoln Marsh Pathway, 12x9" oil on linen panel
Click here for more info


(Both of these are currently framed in a wooden frame, which can be included for an addition charge of $20.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Cat on the Wall

The Garden Wall, 6x9" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read 
Ready to Frame
Please add $12.00 shipping in the US, Il residents please add 8% sales tax)

Almost lost in the shadows, watchful eyes see all that happens in this shady garden!
Should a bird or butterfly happen by, there might be some drama ~ otherwise, all is quiet and peaceful! 

This summer scene is ready to frame and send to it's new home! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Summer Bouquet

Summer Scents (peonies),  7x5" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
(Ready to frame)

Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax.  

What speaks the lazy days of summer as much as a casual bouquet of peonies in an old fashioned mason jar?
These pink and white beauties are have such sweet aroma and that lovely pop of color, set against the beautiful blue of a country window and shutter.  I love the sense of calm serenity they give.

Perhaps that speak that kind of serenity to your heart.

This lovely little painting is almost dry ~ ready to find it's new home!  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Charm of Blue Doors

Street of Blue Doors,  6x6" oil on Clayboard
©2017, Helen Read 
(Ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

How charming!   A country village, a simple street made beautiful by the robin's egg blue of its doors and windows.    Further adornments are made by the lovely container gardens along by every window and doorway.
A small delight for the eyes.  A place of peace and a quieter pace.

This painting is ready to frame - it is done with oil on clayboard which gives it a matte finished.  The colors are reminiscent of what you might see in a quaint French village.  Maybe it is just the right pop of color for your home!  (Or the home of someone you know!)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Roses and Wine

Roses and Wine, 7x5" oil on gesso board 
©2017  Helen Read 

Another Small Gem!  The table is set!  Are you ready to be seated?
A little outdoor picnic on a warm spring day.  Roses casually set into a pitcher, wine glass and plates ready to be filled, laughter and conversation with family and friends.  Perfect! 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Small Gems

During these last few wintery months, I've been experimenting and trying some new things - and I've nicknamed these small, but brilliantly colorful little paintings "Small Gems".  They just remind me of gemstones, in a way; mostly because of their clear and brilliant color.  Sparkling!    They have been a lot of fun.  Colorful, and using a free and looser style than I've done in a long while.  Also, each of these is done on gesso board - which is a smooth, rigid surface and it allows for some very beautiful brushwork as layers are built up and the texture of the strokes shows through.

I'm interested to know what you think!  Do you like these bright and happy colors?  Do you like the looser style?  Leave a comment for me...finding out what you think is very important to me!

Some of these have already found their new home, but please scroll down and see the ones that are available.  Each is ready to ship and to frame.  (Of course, if you really like one that has found a home, a similar one can be created!)

French Peonies,  5x7" Oil on gesso panel 
©2017 Helen Read
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Spring Tulips, 12x9" Oil on gesso board 
©2017 Helen Read 
(ready to frame)
(Please add $20 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

Sunflowers in Cobalt, 7x5" Oil on Gesso Board
©2017 Helen Read


Poppies in Bloom, 6x12" Oil on gesso board 
©2017, Helen Read
(ready to frame) 
(Price includes shipping in the US.  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)

Lavender Fields, 5x7" Oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Chicago Flower Market, 7x5" oil on gesso board
©2017 Helen Read
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

French Peonies

French Peonies,  5x7" Oil on gesso panel 
©2017 Helen Read 
(ready to frame) 
(Please add $10 shipping in the US, IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Such beautiful color - like gemstones in bloom!   Beautiful restful colors of blue and pink.  You can almost smell their delicate scent.  A reminder that it is a wonderful thing to slow down, breathe deeply, and find delight in the colors of springtime.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Field in Bloom!

Poppies in Bloom, 6x12" Oil on gesso board 
©2017, Helen Read 

(ready to frame) 
(Price includes shipping in the US.  IL residents, please add 8% sales tax)

Late Spring brings about beautiful blooms.  And this small landscape boasts a field of red as poppies dance in the wind.  This painting is created in a long and thin format that lends that sense of wide open spaces. 
It is ready to send and will bring a bright spot of color with a touch of Old World charm.

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