Flutterby Butterfly

Flutterby Butterfly Oil Painting 16×16 by Winifred Whitfield

It’s been years since I photographed this beautiful and dramatic ballerina in my garden. I love the animated and graceful hands, and the tilt of the head. I always saw her as a butterfly and the words I used to title this come to me whenever I see this image. I worked with very limited range of colors in this painting, as opposed to the reference image colors of intense greens in the garden and the red of her attire and garden flowers in the background. These colors are subdued and unusual for me but prevent the distraction of colors too bright and saturated when I wanted to express delicacy.

Below: There is Greek Mythology that speaks to half man/half horse. I know nothing about it actually, but that doesn’t keep me from making an effort toward the artistic concept.

Half Man Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I took a photo of a friend. It was one of those perfect photos in its emotion, lighting, design, impact – everything. I didn’t feel I could improve on it by painting it in a conservative way, so I decided to just play and experiment; I proceeded.

I selected a panel to paint on which already had a painting on it. The colors were intense – turquoise, deep yellows, orange – you get the drift. I sanded it to smooth it a bit. Selecting a panel with a prior painting on it positions that painting to be an underlying paint layer. This allows that color to come through from time to time, creating color variation which otherwise would not occur. This can work well, creating some nice color surprises. I started by painting his eyes. They are distinctive and very emotional eyes – much like puppy dog eyes. Then I started to apply animated and colorful brushstrokes. Even with all the crazy brushwork and color applied, I noticed that the eyes remained dominant. When I finally stopped, I felt uncertain. I sat it aside and looked at it from time to time. It grew on me. It is colorful, energetic and unusual. The figure is recognizable to its owners and they love it. It’s those eyes! The painted image made me think of the Greek Mythology images of half man/half horse, which we’ve all seen – referred to as Centaurs and Chiron.

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed creating both paintings. It’s pretty apparent I enjoy painting in wildly diverse manners. These are pretty much complete opposites.

I wish you and your family a HEALTHY holiday season. I hope you’re vaccinated and wearing a mask. Happy Holidays, Winifred

4 thoughts on “Flutterby Butterfly

  1. I love your collection of paintings of women. It would make a great show, because of the variety of subjects, expressions and your style of painting for each piece. Bravo.

    The half man/half horse painting is very interesting and powerful. The eyes were the first thing I saw.

    I wish you a lovely holiday season.

  2. Lovely paintings, the both of them. I particularly like the brush strokes of the centaur. He is not so much frightful as he is doleful. But only a touch. You always do a beautiful job of capturing emotion.

  3. Thank you Betsy. I’m really enjoying painting this great variety of women. I hope you have a “house full” of holiday cheer. I know that will make you happy! I’ve never done a Holiday painting. I probably won’t this year either(:

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