Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pink Poinsettia

Pink Poinsettias, 8 5/8 x 12 3/4" Watercolor/acrylic on 300# paper
©2009, Helen Read
Ready to mat and frame


It is hard to believe that 2009 is on its way out today! It has been a year of continued artistic growth for me.... That's a good thing. No growth equals stagnation. Stagnation has no place in the life of an artist. This year I've focused a little more on landscapes than in previous years, which has been enjoyable. Of course, I've continued working with botanical subjects as well.
The one above is such an example.

What lies in the year ahead? We can only guess. But for me - continued artistic growth is important as well as reaching out to those who stumble across my work and those who watch it regularly. I hope, if you haven't done so yet - you will join my mailing list! There you receive monthly (or so) updates from me with interesting tidbits about the world of art. And when I offer freebies you are the first to know! The sign up box is on the right side of my blog!
(your information is kept perfectly secure!)

On a personal level in 2010 there is much I want to press on toward. Of highest importance, really, is my ability to see the hand of God working in my life more clearly, depend on him more fully, and learn to communicate with him more deeply. That, however, is not a 1 year goal... it is a goal for a lifetime. I have learned (and continue to learn) that He is our only and real source of security! I hope in the year ahead, you may find this to be true as well!
Happy New Year, friends near and far! May 2010 be a year you take great happiness in!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More of the Year in Review

One of the highlights of my year (2009) was the solo exhibit I did for my church's 50th anniversary. It focused on botanicals as its subject matter - but included artist's notes. The title of the exhibit was Lessons from Matthew 6, and my goal was to show how God, who cares for the lilies of the field, is also dependable to take care of his much greater creation - his children!

To see these paintings more individually, please visit my website!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More of the Year in Review

Old Oak, 6x8" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
Ready to frame

Click here for more information on this painting.

Many times this year, I found myself exploring landscapes... sometimes more distant, as seen in some earlier works I've posted, and sometimes much more close up. Trees are always an interesting subject matter... because, I think, of their uniqueness and often their very sculptural qualities. Some of them just have very noticeable "personalities" which almost need a portraiture approach!

This particular tree is very indicative of my southwestern roots - roots that still grow very deep in my heart, even though I live in the northern mid-west at present!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Inspiration and Results!

In August, my daughter and I took a trip to Indiana. It was uneventful until the drive home that evening. We were greeted just around the bottom of Lake Michigan with a rather treacherous thunderstorm, the magnitude of which we didn't really see until after we'd passed through it and could look at the unbelievable clouds which reached into the heights of the sky! Quite dramatic during the storm, and equally dramatic after the storm! As I snapped reference photos, I thought that capturing the drama of the storm clouds would make wonderful subject matter!

After the Storm, 11 x 14" Oil on Canvas
©2009, Helen Read
for more information on this painting, please email me:

As you can see - the storm was the inspiration, and the reference photo helped me to capture much of it, but changes were made! Painting clouds - even white clouds, requires very little plain white paint - many glazes of the undertones of color are added. And, in this one, I combined some other reference photos to get the landscape.

It was an amazing sight! One not ever to be fully captured in paint or held past the moment ~ except in the mind's eye of the beholder. For me, it is a powerful testament to the awesome power of God, whose display of grandeur can be seen in so many "everyday" things around us - and yet, who protects us!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More of the Year in Review

Curbside Profusion, 8x10" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
This one is now in a private collection.

Falling Leaves, 5 x 5" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
Please click here for more information on this painting.

Two kinds of things, both showing the profusion of creation. One in its prime, one in beautiful clothing as it subsides. Both of these offered their own particular types of challenge.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The progression of expression...

2 Media - but the Same Composition:

This progression shows how my thought process developed for this painting. I started with an oil pastel version - working out the colors and ideas for the composition. It is much smaller, but I liked the idea and how it was coming together.

Snowy Bank, 6x8" Oil pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read

Click here for more information on this small painting

You can see the effect of built up layers of oil pastel as it lays on the paper in this particular rendition. I was intrigued by the mixture of colors in the shadows. It seemed that there was more to explore here in the media of oil, so that was the next generation!

Icy Riverbank, 11 x 14" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read

You may see this and other landscapes from my studio at my website.
or email me for more information:

The media of oil makes a difference in the overall effect. While the composition is essentially the same, and the color scheme is also much the same - the overall effect is a little different. Both have their individual appeal!

Either way, these are quite representative of our northern Illinois winter! And, as I write, we are getting yet another layer of white covering... its quite beautiful and rather peaceful.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Oil Pastel Landscapes

The Space Between, 6x8" Oil pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read
Ready to mat and frame
Please click here for a convenient purchase link

Streak of Orange, 6x8 " Oil Pastel on paper
©2009, Helen Read
Ready to mat and frame
Please click here for a convenient purchase link

As I review the year - it has been fun to pick up an old media that I haven't used in awhile and also explore older subject matter. Both of these are in that area of exploration. I love the tranquility of landscapes, though that is not to say they cannot express drama! And, it is a way to express a sense of melancholy for some of the vanishing open lands and farms in this part of the mid-west.

For more information about my work or my studio,

Please visit my website

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Small Landscapes

Small Landscapes
©2009, Helen Read

One of my summer goals was to work with landscapes again. I was very interested in working with atmospheric effects and depth of space, as well as color. Most of these are oil pastel on paper, which was another area of experimentation. I've worked with oil pastel before, but found my more intensive work this summer with that medium to increase my fluency with it and to help me find some expressive ways of using it.

Most of these paintings above are oil pastel on paper, and a few of them are oil on canvas. You can see all of them more individually at my website. And if you click on the image when you go to my website, you will find out specific information on each painting.

It was good to get back to get back to speaking the language of landscape painting!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More of the Year in Review

The Edge of the Woods, 6x8" Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
For more information on the availability of this painting, please click here.

Pink Gerbera Daisy Triptych, overall: 24 x 8" (3 panels each measure 8x8")
Oil on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
For more information on the availability of this triptych painting, please click here.

Dill-icious, 6x6" Acrylic on canvas
©2009, Helen Read
For more information on the availability of this painting, please click here.


This year I was drawn again and again to the beauty of botanical subject matter, both in the form of magnified paintings that almost take on an element of abstraction and in landscapes as well.
The obvious truth is that creation in all its glory and profusion just attracts my attention and holds it! Perhaps that is because I lived most of my formative years in the beauty of the southwestern countryside ... or, perhaps it is just a subject matter that has so many possibilities that it is difficult to exhaust one's investigation! Either way, I love the beauty of our natural world - the work of our wonderful creator's hands.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More of the Year in Review

This year I also experimented a little bit with some pen and ink bird drawings that were light hearted and fun. I was also experimenting with a new medium - ink pencils. These were whimiscal and fun to do! And eventually they inspired some note cards.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Year in Review - part I

A set of 8 notecards (2 of each design) + envelopes
measuring 5.5 x 4.25" each
(shipping is additional - IL residents, please add 8.25% sales tax)

The year started out with some pen and ink drawings of botanicals. Each of these flowers is
beautiful, sculptural and colorful in various ways. As they were completed, it seemed right to create a note card set of them. They've sold quite well this year!

What a great stocking stuffer (yes! there is still time to receive a set for Christmas), or wonderful thank you notes for after the holiday!

Please note - for multiple prints going to the same address,
shipping cost adjustments will be made in the form of a refund based on actual costs of shipping.