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Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 - What a Year!

A lot has happened in the last 12 months! 

Late December is a good time to look back and take stock of where you've been!   Quite helpful for charting a course for where you are going.... 
It's been a busy year!  Here are some of the 2018 highlights from my studio, and I'd love to invite you to visit my website to see more! 

Winter Light - Snowscape - 10x8" oil on linen panel

Click here for more info

Autumn Birches,  11x14" oil on canvas

click here for more info

Summer Shadows, 12x9" oil on canvas

Click here for more info

Coneflower Fields, 8x10" oil on linen panel

Click here for more info

Sunshine and Shadow, 9x6" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info 

Country Cottage, 12x9" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Perfect Beauty, Peony Bloom,  7x5" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Royal Purple, 9x12" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info

Winter Glow,  7x5" oil on gessoboard

Click here for more info
These are representative of this year's work, but not all of what happened in my studio. 
And now, I'm getting excited for what the new year will hold!   

I'd love to keep you up to date with what's happening each month... and give you all the exciting news of the next things coming!    You can be added to my friends list where you'll get fresh news in you inbox, as well as cool discounts, get to participate in free art give aways, get downloadable gifts each month and more!   
Just text the word Helen to 22828   or click the button below!  We all are encouraged and enriched by friendship, and I value yours! 


I'd love to join you!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Coming in January - A Give-away Contest

This little oil painting will be flying to someone special in January! 

Could it be You? 

Every few months, I paint a small painting on canvas and give it away!!  
It comes with a small wooden easel for display as well....

You may be wondering - how do you win it?  And what are the strings attached. 
Well, first - you will find out all the details in my January friends note... and no, there are no strings attached.  You will just email me that you want to participate, and  I'll be choosing randomly an entry and that's it.  
I'll mail the painting and the easel to you!  

This contest is only open to my list of friends... and it's not too late to join the fun!  
In the first week of each month you'll get a newsy note from me, with fun give-aways, discounts, and special offers... and you'll be among the first to see the latest work from my studio.    I try to include some of what is going on in my world too... All in all, its a great way to stay in touch!  

All you have to do to join the fun is text the word Helen to 22828 
hit the button below to join me and my friends. 

I love staying in touch and I say you can never have too many friends!  :) 

Yes!! Please include me!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Landscape Re-do ...

Redbuds in Bloom,  11x14" oil on canvas
©2018  Helen Read 

Ready to frame
Domestic shipping included - IL residents please add 8% sales tax

 It happens!   Sometimes, I'm just not satisfied with the outcome of my work.  This is a good example.   About 3 1/2 years ago, I painted this same scene - on this same canvas!   But, I've never been satisfied.  It seemed washed out. The colors didn't sing.  So, rather than destroy it completely - I repainted it.  I changed the mood of it from misty to a bright day.  And was much looser with the application of paint - giving it a highly textured surface.   

In a lot of ways it is more difficult to repaint on top of a finished painting.  I'd much rather start with a new canvas.  But, the outcome of this version has the beautiful colors of a day washed with sunshine, catching the lovely colors of the sky reflected in the water - and the profusion of lavender-pink redbud blossoms.   

I'm glad I took the time to work out this painting in a way that makes it far more interesting! 

Monday, November 26, 2018

How an artist can stay ahead of the busyness this season

'Tis the Season ... (for a lot of busyness) 

      This is the season of so much activity.  There are seasonal parties, family gatherings, shopping, wrapping, end of the year wrap ups, cooking, decorating, cleaning, and a million other things to get finished in the next few weeks.  There’s so little time to even catch one’s breath! 
      The artist often finds themselves overtaken, too. What happens to the creative flow in seasons of great activity? Often, creative work is put on hold and then it is difficult to pick up where we left off a few weeks later. I’m speaking from my own experience; a change in routine and pace can derail our work, which has the effect of lost motivation. 

       Read the 5 practical tips in the article on Linked In

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Black Friday is Pretty Colorful! a 5x7" sale!

Enjoy a 20% discount on these 5x7" original paintings - Friday 11/23 through Monday 11/26.
Framed in a simple elegant black wood frame, these small gems are ready to hang!  
Discount price includes free domestic shipping!   Just in time for holiday giving!  Get all the information in your inbox about this exclusive sale for my friends list! 

It's easy to join my friends - and I'd love staying in touch with friends!  
Hit the button below to join me

Yes Please! Add me!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What's so great about original art?

Why buy original art?  

It's a legitimate question - there are lots of pretty prints available. 
What makes hanging an original painting different?
Recently sold, Winter Glow, framed
With an original painting, you hold a something that cannot be captured in a print or a photograph:

           You hold the motion of the artist's hands
captured in the textured brushstrokes. 
Textured brushstrokes, each of which contain a mixture of color within the stroke.

You see color just as the artist intended you to see it
as the artist saw or perhaps imagined it. 
Beautiful colors juxtaposed together to create a visual sensation that brings the eye back again for more!
Colors that surprise and energize!

It's less tangible (but quite profound) -
you hold a bit of the artist's emotion in your keeping. 
The motion of stroke and the lively color resonate with JOY!
An emotion that is contagious!

A painting begins with an inspiration - whatever it may be  - and with color and texture and vibrancy, the artist translates a personal response into paint.  Emotion is seen in the way the strokes are applied and the way the colors are mixed and juxtaposed.    When viewing a print or a photograph these subtle tactile elements cannot be replicated.  In a sense,

when you hang an original painting, the artist is speaking intimately and timelessly to you without words...
a message that can only be truly conveyed in the actual painting.  

Original works bring beauty and pleasure, of course, but more than that; they whisper to the viewer's heart deeper the thoughts of the artist.   

Keep in touch with me!  I send out a great news note each month with new art, discounts, give-aways, and free gifts!  Its a great way to stay in touch and have some fun!  
Text the word Helen to 22828
and you'll be included! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Winter Light - snowscape,  10x8" oil on linen panel
© Helen Read 

(ready to frame)
Free domestic shipping - IL residents please add 8% sales tax. 

It's that time of year again.... our first snowfall is predicted for tonight. 
While I must admit that snow is beautiful - and especially the light on snow (like glittering diamonds) - the long length of time that we have snow on the ground where I live is ... well, long.  

This painting is highly textured.  It was painted primarily with a palette knife.  However, it evokes a sense of quiet serenity in it's subject matter.  The light is warm and bright, giving a sense of warm sunlight, while the shadows remind us that the air is wintery cold. 

Visit my website to see a full gallery of my work! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Joyful Colors of Fall

Autumn Joy,  7x5" oil on gesso board
©Helen Read 

(ready to frame)
Free domestic shipping  - IL residents please add 8% sales tax

The colors of fall are pure joy!   Yellow, Orange, Red, Coral, Green - it's as if the every color makes it's last flourish of the season before the long winter's rest.  These lovely colors are off set with the deep blue of a vase holding them all together.   The beauty of color brings it's joy year round in this small painting.  

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Artist's Mindset -- It Plays a Critical Role!

I’ll bet it happens to all of us in one way or another …. the games our creative minds play; they can be a such a roadblock.   I’m talking about those messages that come (unbidden) into the mind and find their way into the heart. You know, they are spoken in the tone of “you can’t do this”, “what you are doing has no real value”, “you should spend your time doing something that …”, “you are no expert!” ,  “Don’t try it, you will fail.”
  But, there's hope! Read the whole article here 

I don't know about you, but I need encouragement from time to time. If you do too, I'd love to be an encouragement - just hit this link and you'll get some great ideas and encouraging words a few times a month right in your inbox!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Autumn Birches

Autumn Birches  11x14" oil on canvas 
©2018 Helen Read
(ready to frame) 
(Free domestic shipping,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax)  


Oh, the beauty of fall... such wonderful color! 
This highly textured painting features the glorious colors of autumn - expressively painted with a palette knife. 
The birch trees with their white speckled bark stand out against the beautiful yellows, greens, and rust  - with hints of blue in the background.  An eye catching display! 
If you'd like to see more colorful paintings, please visit my website

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunflower Piracy

I just ran across this image on Pinterest and recognized it as my work immediately. 
It is my original art work which I created quite a few years ago. 
The use of this image for a single tattoo was sold in 2013.  But now I see that at least 1(maybe more) companies are selling this very same artwork (only flipped in a mirror image) as temporary tattoo art. 
Of course, I'm glad that it is well liked, but to reproduce someone else's art work without  permission or to sell it and profit by those sales is theft.
When an artist sells an original work, unless it is stated specifically - the artist retains the rights to reproduce that work if they so choose.  The buyer purchases the original work, but not the rights to reproduce it.  
In the case of this tattoo art that was sold, the original was not sold-I still own it.  But I did sell a high quality reproduced image for a one time use to the purchaser in England. 
I assume the image was taken from the internet by someone who liked it and has decided to try to profit from it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Peonies and so much more!


This delightful little painting is headed to it's new home in Florida! 

Did you know there are others like this one!?  
Colorful and  expressive - they make you smile!  

You can see a variety of them on my website!   Now is a great time to make a early purchase for the gift giving season.  With an original painting, you know that you are giving a one-of-a-kind gift! 

See a variety of ready- to-frame and ready-to-send paintings right here!
Domestic shipping is free!! 
(IL residents please add 8% sales tax)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Now's the time!

It's just about the time when I send out a note to my special friends! 
Once every month, I send out visual news....  a peek at the latest work I've been doing - but there's more!   

* Fun contests to enter for free art work every few months

* Discounts offered only to my friends (because they are special!) 
* Free downloads that are interactive and fun
* Newsy things from life and work 
* and an encouraging word that we all need from time to time. 

It's a great way to stay in touch in this busy world! 

It's easy to receive this once a month note in your inbox!  And there are 2 ways to do it!  
Text the word Helen to 22828 
hit the sign me up button below! 
(don't worry, your email is never shared and I use a secure and trusted email service) 

Yes! sign me up!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Summer Shadows

Summer Shadows,  12x9" Oil on Canvas
© 2018  Helen Read 
(ready to frame) 

(Domestic shipping included, IL residents please add 8% sales tax) 

Just off the easel and still drying!
Highly textured and full of colorful light, this painting captures the warmth of summer shadows.  You can almost hear the cicadas in the trees as the roadway invites exploration and adventure!  

To create that wonderful sense of texture, a palette knife was used as the painting tool. The colors blend with interesting striations, and a warm glow is cast from some of the under painting still showing through. 
It is ready to frame and hang!

See more  at my website!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Landscapes and Palette Knives

A couple posts back, I posted the beginning of this landscape - a roadway ... maybe the road less traveled?     It's only in progress here - but in order to keep this one loose and expressive, I'm using a palette knife to apply the paint.  The top picture shows how far I've progressed.  The bottom picture gives a detail of how texture and broken color creates the effect of trees along a road side - yet it is not precise... it leaves the eye to do color mixing and to imagine the scene.  


Monday, September 17, 2018

Fly Away Home

This little mini painting and its easel was my Give-Away in this month of September!
And it is headed to Mississippi! 
That's right ....  a free oil painting to one of my friends!  

So - who are these special friends? 
They are the ones who get my news note every month.

And YOU could be one of these special friends too! 
You will get a colorful fun message in your inbox during the first week of every month. 
In that note, you'll see 
  • the latest work from my studio, 
  • hear the latest news, 
  • find out about the contests for free paintings that I run every few months, and how to participate
  • get notice of special discounts (only available to my friends), 
  • and get a download that I make just for you 

It's fun, it's free ... and it's a great way to stay in touch. 
You've got nothing to lose - and you just might have something to gain! :)   

Hit the sign me up button below and you'll be added to my list! 
You can text the word  Helen  to 22828

Yes! Let's be friends!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Take Away - The subtractive approach

The subtractive approach.... For me it's a new way to start a landscape painting. 

I began this painting with transparent paint on a white canvas - covering most of it with broad strokes using a large brush. 

I very roughly added in some values - but no forms show at all yet.

And then, I began to subtract - in very general ways.  

Finally, a landscape idea is beginning to emerge ... but only beginning! 

The underpainting is done.  I'm most concerned about values at this stage - I want the under structure to be composed where values link together.  It's not quite a notan expression, but almost!  
Next steps will add color ~ and the landscape will continue to emerge. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Balancing Act - Life, work, and making art

It really is.... a balancing act!   I've been doing it for years! 

In the busyness of life - family, work, keeping a home and all those time intensive requirements, how does one find the time to  pursue and hone the artistic work that calls to the artist's spirit!?   Some of us don't have a choice because others are depending upon what we do.  Does that mean the artist within has to be pushed aside or put on hold?    No! But, it does take perseverance!  Keep reading for some do-able tips!   Read more here

Friday, August 31, 2018

Giving away a little gift .....

This little painting will be someone's gift in September!   

Maybe for you??? 

Every few months I paint a mini painting and have a contest for my friends to see who I send it too! 
It comes with a mini easel for display as well. 

It's completely free!!  

But you do have to enter the contest in order to be the possible recipient! 
If you are already on my friends list - and receive my monthly note - then you'll be getting all the details in a few days when September's note is sent.   If you aren't yet on my friends list, then ....  join me!!    Every month I send a note to my friends with little bits of news, an inside peek at what's going on in my studio - new paintings especially, and give-aways, contests, and free downloads.   It's visual and fun; a great way to stay in touch! 
Just text the word Helen to 22828  to be added, or 
just hit the button below! 

My next note will come to your inbox during the first week in September! 
And you'll find out how to enter this contest.

Yes! Include me too!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Capturing Beauty...

Just that moment in time ...  the artist captures it. 
Quickly it becomes something else. 

I speak as an artist - but I also speak as an art lover.  That moment in time is forever past - and yet, it remains.  
There's something quite special about that. 
From the eye, mind, and hand of the artist - that moment lives on to bring pleasure, intrigue, and thoughtful contemplation to many. 

I'd love to include you... 

Every month, I send out a short news note to my friends with previews of my latest work, glimpses of life as an artist and teacher, encouraging words to all of us who have a busy pace of life, free gifts, discounts, contests for free art, and more. 

If you haven't joined the fun yet - it's super easy to do so! 
You'll get a note from me in your inbox about once each month - it's a great way to stay in touch!  

Just text the word  Helen to 22828

or hit the button below!   

Yes! I want to join you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Need a Creative Boost?

We all need a shot of encouragement from time to time! 

I know I do!
From envisioning to planning, from sketching ideas and making thumbnail sketches - to bringing your vision into being, we can get stuck along the way. 
We can wonder if our ideas are any good - if anyone will see the idea as we do.  We wonder if we know how to bring our thoughts into it's final form.  We doubt ourselves all along the way - and sometimes that doubt causes creative paralysis. 
... discouragement
... fear.  

 Guess what!
You aren't alone! 

It is a common sidetrack for the creative mind.  But we don't have to stay stuck. I would love to send you a word of encouragement - artist to artist - every month.  This is different than my usual newsletter each month.  This is a short message geared more toward those who value encouragement and the motivation that can result from being cheered along.  
  It doesn't matter what type of creative work that you love, encouragement is for all of us! 

Hit the button below and you'll start receiving free encouragement along with ideas and tips to keep you motivated as a creative spirit!  (And who doesn't like free encouragement, after all!? ) 

Yes! Send encouragement!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Fields and fields of coneflowers!

Coneflower Fields, 8x10" oil on linen panel
©2018  Helen Read
(ready to frame)
$190.00 Domestic shipping included,  IL residents please add 8% sales tax 

 Just a few weeks ago, I was wandering down the dusty road that is the very scene you see above. 
I was visiting my family who now lives in Idaho - and this beautiful field of coneflowers was catching the evening light just before sunset.    It was beautiful - arresting with the golden light being cast across the field.
I knew that this would need to be remembered in a painting!   A quiet moment captured!

One more thing...  I love staying in touch with my friends who find me online. 
Every month I send out a visual note that has fun possibilities!  I include such things as discounts, give-away contests, free gifts and downloads.  It's easy to join up... Just click the button below and it will take you to an easy sign up page!  Join my group of friends - it's easy and fun!

Yes! I want to join you!

Friday, August 3, 2018

40% off on some of my favorite paintings!

Some of my favorite small paintings need a home - and I need to make room for new ones! :) 

So, for a few days - get 40% off! 

The only way you'd know about this is if you get my 1x a month news letter.  And it's so easy to start receiving it.
But, why would you want to? 
Every month you'll get something special! 
  • Colorful and cheerful art that you get to see each month. 
  • Discounts, free gifts, give-away contests, and such things just for you as a friend of mine! 
  • News about the latest that's happening here in my studio 
  • Encouraging words for artists and for all of us 
  • Staying connected, friend to friend
So... sign up now - you won't be inundated with lots of emails, but you will get to hear from me every month.
Once you sign up, you'll get this latest letter with the details of this month's discount and a FREE gift inside too!  

You join the fun 2 ways  -  text the word Helen to 22828

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Artist's Sketchbook

How do I find the time 
in a busy life of studio work, teaching, and - well, living ......  

The truth is.... I don't - not always.  But, I know the value of it! 
And I always come back to my resolve to take the time and be disciplined to record my creative thoughts and work.

Why I feel it is highly valuable: 
  • It is a personal roadmap of growth - both of ideas, of skills, of experimentation
  • It is a place to have the often necessary internal dialog of the artist ... to write out fears, roadblocks, motivations, etc  and to resolve the things that need resolution 
  • It can become the motivation needed at some point in the future
  • It is a portable place to work out visual ideas and difficulties 
  • It can be filled with color and beauty - a pleasure to make and to look at!
  • It can act as a record of work done - problems encountered and solutions that worked
  • And it stands as a record of my productivity - a type of accountability tool.

A Peek Inside My Sketchbook!  

I often use my camera to take a photo of something that I find inspiring.... making notes about what I'm seeing and why it inspires my thoughts.  That usually results in a sketch or a small watercolor sketch 

 This sketch was one of my thoughts on a commission -  working out proportions, ideas, colors, in colored pencil.
Then, I photographed the progress - as the painting took shape. 
When it was complete and in use, there was some printed material that I included.

 So many blooms were all at once making their appearance in full color in my garden!
So inspiring...  I sketched out an idea very roughly
And then photographed the completed painting  - making notes about the methods I used,
the outcome, what I liked about the method, etc. 

Sometimes, especially when I am away from my studio (traveling) - it becomes a portable studio.
Sketching should always be part of the artist's life - honing the practice of really seeing and recording that sight. 

As you can see, the beauty of nature ~ God's Creation ~ is a huge inspiration to my artist's eye...  I love to explore the shapes and lines, colors and values -  all of this is recorded in my sketchbook. 

Leave a comment below!  
How do you use your sketchbook?   Do you struggle with the discipline of keeping one?
Maybe you've found some great tips for keeping up with this practice - share your ideas!! 

Oh, by the way, I'm just starting a new way to keep in touch!!
A way for all of us to stay inspired and motivated!

Do you need regular inspiration like I do?
Do you enjoy seeing artist's tips and ideas?
Do you find creative and spiritual encouragement motivating? 

I'm sending out several short emails a month - which is a different email than my monthly newsletter - specifically to encourage others in their creative pursuits.
In the busyness of life (who isn't busy), finding balance can be difficult and often, our creative work gets pushed aside...  There has never been a time when beauty is more needed!  Inspiration and motivation should never be in short supply!   Hit the button below and get regular encouragement for your work!   

Yes! I want to join you!

Look for an email of encouragement in your inbox soon! 
(If you are already a news note friend, but would like to get these emails of inspiration and motivation, be sure to join with the button above.  This is a separate group!) 

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