Featured Artist Helen Vaughn

Artist Helen Vaughn presents a collection of her paintings that masterfully capture the landscape in different seasons. View more of her realistic oils on her website.

 

snowy wooded landscape by Helen Vaughn

“Looking for Red Riding Hood” oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

 

Recently, a friend visited my studio and asked, “How long did it take you to paint that?” She was looking at a large canvas that I had completed a few days earlier. “Forty-five years and three weeks.” I answered.

 

landscape painting of the Flint River by Helen Vaughn

“Early Morning on the Flint” oil on canvas, 24″ x 20″

 

I’ve been at this a long time! I have drawn and painted since I was a child growing up in a small town in south Alabama. Art became a serious pursuit when my own small children started school. They are now fifty-something.

 

landscape painting of the Flint River by Helen Vaughn

“Late Afternoon on the Flint” oil on canvas, 24″ x 20″

 

I work in a studio situated under the trees in my backyard where I paint three things—the landscape I live in, the objects I live with and my women friends. The works shown here are from my landscape portfolio.

 

landscape painting of a Maine woods by Helen Vaughn

“Moss Covered Mounds in Maine” oil on canvas, 30″ x 20″

 

What follows are tips that I’ve picked up along the way in my journey as a visual artist. None of these observations are original; rather, they have been gathered from years of working at my easel, reading and studying. Because I am a painter, the language reflects a painter’s vocabulary. However, these tips work no matter your discipline. They have lasted through the years because they work.

 

landscape of a creek by Helen Vaughn

“Creek near the Farm” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

Show up for work every day. There is no substitute for miles on the brush. You learn to paint by painting. After forty-five years, I’m still learning to paint.

 

snowy wooded landscape by Helen Vaughn

“Over the River and Through the Woods” oil on canvas, 32″ x 24″

 

Don’t limit your ideas. The creative process begins in the brain. What you can see in your mind, you can create on the canvas. While there may be a model, an engaging vista, or a still life set-up, your brain must solve creative problems. The painting you envision in your mind, your hands will try to accomplish. Remember, your brain will always be ahead of what your hands can do.

 

painting of a pond garden in summer by Helen Vaughn

“Pond Garden in Summer” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

Learn to enjoy the process of painting as much as the end results. Give yourself permission to fail, to experiment. You will get better in direct proportion to how much you practice.

 

painting of a pond garden in the fall by Helen Vaughn

“Pond Garden in Fall” oil on canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

You don’t know what you don’t know. I encourage you to study with different teachers, take workshops and watch videos. Take what works for you and your vision and leave the rest. There is no right or wrong way to paint—there are only results. Paintings either work or they don’t.

 

landscape painting of rowboats in Scotland by Helen Vaughn

“Rowboats in Scotland” oil on canvas, 24″ x 18″

 

Better quality materials will generally yield better quality results. Buy the best paint, brushes, and canvas that your budget allows. When you consider the time and thought you’ve invested in your work, you want it to last. Good materials make that more likely.

 

landscape painting of a forsythia by Helen Vaughn

“Forsythia in the Time of Corona” oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

I continue to be engaged, excited and invigorated with the process of painting. I wish you the best on your own journeys.

 

Artist Helen Vaughn invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. KAYE SALIKOF says

    These landscapes are stunning! Somehow the extraordinary realism takes second place to the senses evoked by the paintings.

  2. Suzanne Purtee says

    I love these works, and I love your notes. Such beauty and honesty. Thank you.

  3. These are all amazing. My favorite is the Forsythia one.

  4. Helen,
    I think your landscapes are great. They are so vibrant. I like your encouraging words to other artist. Sometimes we just need a boost.

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