Toll Both Attendant – New York

Tool Both Attendant New York by Winifred Whitfield Oil Painting 9×12.

While paused at the toll both in New York, not sure which bridge, I ask the attendant, wearing her orange uniform top, if I could take a snap. She had such a warm and friendly face. you can see she said yes. It wasn’t to be a glamorous shot, just a normal person at work. For a long time, I haven’t known how to approach a painting from the photo reference. This is what I decided on. I wish I could find her to allow her to see herself through my eyes. I think she might like it.

Girl in Dramatic Light

Girl in Dramatic Light Oil Painting on Linen 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

I’m not sure what I did which sized the file smaller but since it’s her head only, It’s sufficiently visible. It’s been a while since I painted such a realistic portrait. I’m also not quite sure how these decisions get made but I do enjoy the versatility. I would become quite bored if these paintings were all the same style and I would not enjoy it if I actually had to figure out how I would paint a portrait ahead of time. As it is, I select a photo and and then go along for the ride. I do make input from time to time after the style is chosen. Portraits like this are very difficult and time consuming but that’s just fine. Below: I painted this little girl a couple months ago but hadn’t posted.

A Little Girl in her White Fur Coat Oil Painting 8×10 by Winifred Whitfield

above, low-key, this little girl high-key. Since the styles are similar, this is the perfect place for it. I hope you enjoy them both. I never painted fur before and I love her fur jacket and the little button. Thank you for viewing. Enjoy your weekend.

Lady Byron

Lady Byron 11×14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

You’ve seen paintings painted 100 years ago or even more. Typically there is a narrow color range, certain brush work, limited contrast, certain poses and even a certain expressions. That’s what I was attempting with this painting. Hence I named her Lady Byron.

The Poser

The Poser 1 by Winifred Whitfield 11×14 Oil Painting

we had the best time ever during her photo shoot. She told me she had been practicing poses for years while yearning for such an occasion. She went from one pose to another in rapid succession. Top Model never had is so good. I’m only giving you the simplified head shot version. Her actual hair was more like the color below – a red burgundy and she had plenty of it.

Below is a a second portrait painted from a reference image I really like. I like the image he because of its varied and interesting shapes and angles. I painted it fast and loose which was fun.

Head Bowed 2 11×13 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Lady with Oil Lamp

Lady with Oil Lamp 14×19 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I remember vividly her portrait session. She wanted pretty and sexy photos to send to her husband away in the military. I always requested additional poses for my photo collection. I’ve been looking at this reference photo for a while now. In addition to the complexity of the face, It also featured both hands and the lamp. I decided I was ready to give it a try and I’m glad I did. I even very purposely left texture in the brush strokes of her skin. I didn’t want it to look like a photograph. When paintings are viewed at a distance, even 5 or 6 feet, a modest amount of brush texture mostly becomes invisible.

Blue Bow

Blue Bow in Her Hair 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I promised you another “bold” stroke painting this week and I thought that would be the case, but as we’ve seen before, I had little control over my hands. The reference image for this painting was taken in my studio 10 years ago or more. She was a lovely model and fancily dressed. I added the bow to her hair and altered the detail trim of her dress to mimic the hair bow style – just to loosen things up a bit. She was from Eastern Europe and came with beautiful long dresses for her photo shoot. Below:

Roses at Christmas – 2021 – 16×20 Still Life Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I don’t have Poinsettias but decided a painting of red roses is an appropriate image for almost any holiday occasion. I wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a loving holiday season. Thank you so much for being part of my painting journey. You inspire me. Winifred

Studies of Renior and Gauguin

Master Study Gauguin’s Mother 11×14 Oil on Canvas

There are Rules for creating copies of a Master’s Paintings. Such paintings are referred to as “master copies or master studies”. I would refer to my work on this page as studies. I wouldn’t quite elevate them as “copies”. I didn’t actually make such an attempt. The rules, however are number one, not to make the study/copy the same size/dimensions as the original painting. That is flat out considered FRAUD! The other rule is to put on the front of the painting “After … and the artist name” as I did here. There is debate as to whether or not such paintings can then legitimately be sold, though there does not seem to be a big problem with that so long as the first two rules are followed. This is my first attempt at a master study.

In Europe, the first years of an art students study is primarily making master copies. If you’ve been to the the Louvre in Paris, you have do doubt seen students sitting if front of some of the great paintings of the ages attempting to make copies. I am told that after years of this kind of work, the students are allowed, only then, to make original paintings. It’s hard for me to imagine. I am also told that this kind of study is beginning to occur more and more in the USA. I guess I’m beginning to see the point. After my first two weeks of effort trying to paint from bad internet copies and book print copy – which is poor quality also, I would love to have an original work as a reference. There is value in observing and intensely studying the design, brushwork, color palette and values structure of great paintings.

Gauguin is one of my favorite painters. I love his colors and the design of his paintings. He primarily creates yellow and orange highlights and blue to purple shadows. He intermixes that with bright reds and vivid greens. He’s a genius colorist as was Van Gogh. I chose the painting above to paint, honestly, because it was simple! When Gauguin’s mother died, he was far far away in Tahiti. He had only this one photo of her taken when she was a girl and so that was his reference. His paintings are normally very complex with multiple people in the foreground and landscape scenes in the background. As a study, however, I can choose any part of his painting – not necessarily the whole thing.

Below: I also love Renoir’s portraits, though I certainly found this style of painting pretty hard to do.

After Renoir

There are no smooth areas of paint or color. The small brushstrokes are constantly changing in hue, value and direction. I made an effort toward some level of accuracy on her face, hair, body and dress, but not with the background. You can look her up (Renoir Portrait Painting of Jeanne Samary) if interested to judge how I did with my first impressionist portrait study. Don’t forget there are many different color versions of this painting due to the manner in which it is copied and displayed. So many times I gave myself permission to quit – after all, it was only a study. It’s funny, when I did so, this seems to give me the stamina to keep going a bit more. It will be interesting at some point to see if I can use these techniques on a reference photo which I have taken.

It’s also interesting that the two study references have opposite characteristics. Gauguin uses relatively large flat smooth paint areas whereas Renoir has constantly varying brushstrokes and textured surface areas. I love both.

Have a very wonderful day. Winifred

Related Images:

Blowing Hair

Woman with Blowing Hair 11×14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Above, for the most part, I focus on tones and contrast and expression in my portraits. I use very little color. That surprises me but as I look at any group of my portraits paintings that is what I see and I’m fine with that.

Below: On rare occasions, color takes over.

Woman on Steps in Guatemala 8×10 Oil painting by Winifred Whitfield

It’s more so the color of my imagination rather than from the reference. This photo image by Daphne and Art Carlyle. It’s fun to paint little figurative images like this, as opposed to “serious” portraits because I feel comfortable in focusing less on accuracy and details. I enjoyed creating the color and loose textured brush strokes.

Yesterday and today it snowed – just enough to be pretty! Very little is left. The scene below was taken about midnight from my balcony.

Snow Photo – from by Balcony – December 3, 2022

Abstract Realism

Strong in Spirit 11×14 Abstract Realism Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I hope to create many more paintings in this style. It feels a bit riskier than painting in a more traditional style but it is exciting to try. I think you can see why this style of painting receives the name Abstract Realism.

Below is an image painted in a traditional style. It’s just “Realism” and it’s primarily the style in which I paint. It was painted a couple weeks prior to the one above. Perhaps the painting surface is a bit too textured, though I like it nonetheless. The reference photo used was created by photographer Jim Lasala, during his trip to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake where there was major devastation left in it’s wake.

Haitian Girl with Red Beads in Her Hair 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Below: I thought it would also be fun for you to see the digital painting I created from the same image many years ago as she might have imagined herself in a dream.

Haitian Girl’s Dream, Digital Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Elegant Lady in Red

Elegant Lady in Red 11 x 14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

It’s always a challenge and a joy to paint a portrait. Of course you know my tendency is toward realism – and so it is. I enjoy her elegance in the red draped fabric – and the tiny hint of a smile.

Finally, it has begun to cool and to rain a little. I cannot ever remember such a warm and dry fall as we’ve had. It’s been really lovely. Watering plants has come to an end. The time will change in a week or so to Daylight Savings Time. I thought this had ended legislatively but I am obviously wrong. It will become dark very early – 5pm, even 4:30 by December. I’ll continue to tuck myself in my studio and paint. It’s a creative and restful time for me. I hope the same for you. Winifred