Canal through Murano Italy

“Canal in Murano” (9 x12 inch oil painting on gesso board)

Murano Italy is home of some of the most amazing glass factories in the WORLD!!! It is where Venetian glass was created. In this painting, I’ve attempted to capture a canal running through Murano. However, I find that I’ve buried myself in details. Particularly – so many pilings!! I deliberated but thought I had to add them.

I was afraid that if I didn’t do so, the boats would drift aimlessly into the canal, bumping into each other and float away – what a mess that would be.  

Before Pilings

I’m discovering I like bold blocks of color without lots of fuss.

Starting to add boats

  As you can tell, the above painting phase is not developed, as it could have been, but you can see that it reflects a different possibility from the finished painting which is filled with boats and pilings.

Below, a quick value sketch. Notice, no value for boats!! I love this kind of loose abstraction.

Value Sketch

Below – Adding Initial Color (I love this kind of looseness).

adding initial color

I hope you enjoy seeing how my paintings evolve.  Notice, I didn’t show you the reference photo. I did this on purpose. It is to prevent you from looking back and forth comparing my painting to the photo. However, it is not intended to be compared. This is simply my interpretation – though for sure the photo contained lots of boats and pilings! 

You may think my images are out of order but that the way I chose to present them – it’s the way my mind works. Thank you for visiting my blog and please subscribe if you have not.  Thanks, Winifred

Before Pilings

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Three Friends Walking – Traditional Oil Painting

This has been a fun and challenging week of Painting.  I have painted so much that I’ve gone through a couple tubes of oil paint at this point – but that’s what it will take. 

I took photos prolifically, while in Italy.  I thought it adorable when I saw these three ladies walking. Actually, there was a fourth, as you can see in the reference photo, but I found her distracting. I also found the wall/garage door, in front of them distracting also.  I knew I would have to to develop a more interesting and creative environment.  In my first attempt to do this, as you can see in the tonal sketch at the bottom, I painted a wall of square columns – somewhat replicating the right side of the photo.  That didn’t work. Ideally, the design of the painting would be determined in the initial sketch phase – certainly by the time the tonal sketch is done – but sometimes, I just haven’t figured it out – and keep going. This is not the best approach.

“Three Friends Walking”

Ultimately I decided on a textured side of a building and a curved doorway.  I went with that idea. Still, what to put in front of them.  I didn’t know for the longest.  I rather enjoyed the ethereal look of “space”.  Finally, I envisioned it as an open landscape – leaving it largely to your imagination.  I could play with interesting color for a sky and create just a hint of a horizon line.  I would allow the painting  to maintain these few and simple elements – resting on Interesting light, shadow and color. I’m making baby steps with my oil painting and so long as I do, I hope to progress.

Reference Photo ( hemmed in by their environment)

Tonal Value Sketch –  a great way to see what doesn’t work!

Thank you for visiting my Blog!  Another post will be coming  quickly – colorful buildings, boats and a canal in Murano, Italy – many many boats!!  I never painted so many boats before!  Winifred

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Italian Laundry Painting

Oil Painting – Laundry in Italy

Im not sure why we’re so fascinated with the many long cords laundry pinned to them we see in Italy. I love this visual also.  In fact, on any given street, if I saw hanging laundry, I photographed it.  It’s kind of like joyful colorful flags waving in the wind.  This is my first attempt to paint from such a photo.  The process was interesting.  

Laundry in Italy

Below you see the photo which inspired the painting.

The image below is in image of an earlier stage of the painting.  I like it quite a lot – perhaps even better than the finished painting with the laundry. I enjoy the strong shapes and  simple blocks of color. No Fuss. In the future, I just might create this as the painting.  At this point, I’m happy to have it as a digital file.

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Portrait Paintings – Italy

The Shop Keeper – Oils – Italy

I decided I was ready to try painting portraits with oils. Color mixing and blending edges has improved tremendously.  Both task are important to portrait painting. “The Shop Keeper is my most recent painting.  

This lady was so lovely and so willing to pose to display to the camera some of her goods.  I ate some of the fresh pick fruit from the fields. OMG!! So yummy!! The photo has been substantially reinterpreted. 

Reference Image for Painting Above



This portrait I also enjoy. It’s from my “Venice at Night” series which I photographed in the rain.  This portrait, I feel. I think she is very tired. It is the emotional content of this photo which inspired the painting.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to capture the painting in the photo of the painting. I am not pleased with it’s appearance.

In the distant past, artist, almost exclusively, mixed all of their colors from very few pigments.  For both of these paintings, like artist from the past, I used only black, white, yellow and red pigments to mix the other colors you see.  I’ve learned quite a bit about mixing pigments by doing this. I’ve not been able, however to get a decent blue, which I read would occur when mixing Ivory black with Titanium White. I’ve gotten a mixture a little warmer than grey but not exactly what I was after.   No doubt it is my paint and the quality of my pigments.  Of course, I could just use one of the  several blues I own – but I just didn’t choose to. It’s been a great exercise.

Reference Image for Painting Above


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Silver Coffee Pot

The Silver Coffee Pot –  8×10 Oil on Canvas


I love the abstract reflections which occur in metal. People think there is a special way of painting reflective metal surfaces.  There is really no secret to it.  If you simply paint what you see. Paint accurately the colors and tones you see.  In the end it will appear as the metal you’re painting.  No secret at all.

Painting with Traditional Oils – Creating Still Life Paintings

Traditional Oil Still Life Paintings  

The Beginning!! You can watch me progress. I created these paintings during the past 3 weeks.  Really, oils out of tubes!!!  Some paintings have turned out better than others – no surprise!!  The first painting which you see was my first oil painting.  I  actually destroyed the canvas but kept this photo of it. Fortunately, I photograph various stages of a paintings development. This was a very early stage of  the oil painting.  I kept painting and painting until ultimately I ruined it. It was not worth the time to try to recover it – I just threw it out.  I’m glad I had such an early lesson on the detriment of overworking a painting.  

Above – My first oil painting 

Lighting is  one of the most important aspect of creating a still life,  Having a few fun items to paint is important as well. Almost anything can be interesting if well lit. I have used both daylight and artificial light as a source in my still life paintings.

Orange and Pear Simple Still Life

  I used daylight for the above painting of the orange and the pea abover.

I continue to enjoy lots of texture in my paintings, which I create allowing my brush to “dance” as I paint. Pretty fun.  Most of these paintings are 8×10.

 I paint almost everyday – stoping for a day only when I burnout,  before proceeding again.  

Above, Brass tea pot.  I will certainly create more.



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