Man with Hat Redo

Man with Hat – A shop Keeper in New York. 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

There are so many ways to create an oil painting – so many possibilities of expression. Although I redid this painting, I wouldn’t say it was bad before but I came not to enjoy viewing it. That creates the perfect opportunity alter the vision and to explore different techniques. If I still don’t enjoy it, I can always sand down the painting and paint over it. Backgrounds are always challenging. They can be very simple with a solid color or they can be as complex as the painter desires and can visualize it. After repainting his face, which I prefer, I started to play with some rather abstract marks in the background. I decided they resembled tree branches – not really but kind of. I added some lighter warm tones in the spaces between the “branches as though warm light was coming through and that was that. The background is likely to be painted again in the future. Time will tell. I have to look at things for a while. It could take weeks or months for me to decide. For sure, I would like the background better if I sanded it down a bit, making it fainter helping to move it further into the distance. In a month or so when it’s dryer, I will at least sand it. Below is the previous version of this painting. He’s shroud in darkness. That’s an acceptable style of painting but it was bothering me, so I changed it.

Initial painting

It was a worthwhile exercise. But I didn’t stop with portrait practice, I attempted a floral as well. After spending more than 15 hours on the painting below, I have already scraped the process and scrapped off the paint. My flowers are no more! I’m looking forward to my next floral attempt and this time I’ll use a reference. It was a freehand effort. I would have done much better if I had I been working from a photo or vase of flowers. What I do like is the brushwork and texture.

Orange Flowers Practice

I also enjoyed the behavior of the paint. It handled quite differently from paint straight from the tube. I made a safe mixture of calcium carbonate and oil to add to the paint which altered it’s handling properties. Overall, I played with colors, texture and paint handling. What fun! Mainly, I didn’t like the shape of the flowers.

It’s so cold here – unusually cold for us. It’s been in the low teens the last couple of days. I’m using more heat but otherwise fine. I hope you’re warm and comfortable wherever you are. Bye for now. Winifred

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Lady with Red Scarf

Lady With Red Scarf Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

Happy New Year everyone! It certainly *promises not to be boring. This is my first painting of the New Year. The same model as with the last two paintings. I enjoy this portrait. I rarely use such vivid color in my portrait paintings and love the loose energetic strokes in the scarf.

I keep thinking I’d like to paint a floral still life. We’ll see. I’ve also been taking some prior portraits to the studio to make changes. Some things one sees more correctly over time. Sometimes I’m just veering toward adding more detail because that’s who I am. I feel that I’m “correcting” it, whereas in fact I’m just adding more detail and should leave it alone. This is an ongoing struggle for me.

Wishing you health and happiness amidst the chaos. Winifred

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Woman with Cape and Hood

Dominican Woman with Cape and Hood 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I hope you’re having joyous holidays, or quiet and peaceful ones as you choose.The New Year is upon us and as I said before, I wish only for Peace on Earth. Oil painting will of course continue to play a huge role in my life – ever striving to deepen my skills and allowing for increased flow of creativity.

The reference image for this painting was created in the same photo session as in my last post. I draped her for this photo to add interest. I like the traditional looking period style of it. I’m currently painting another photo from her shoot but I remained troubled when viewing it – meaning more work to do. It’s good to take a good break. Hopefully, it will be my next post.

Happy New Year! I sincerely wish you the best year ever. Winifred

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Feathers Around Her Neck

Feathers Around Her Neck Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

A soft yet dramatic portrait – I created the feathered look from what was actually ruffles. I wanted to bring a bit of energy to the quiet look. This portrait was challenging, as is always the case, taking days to paint. But then I allowed myself to have the fun – stepped in vivid color and avoiding detail I was able to quickly paint the floral sketch below.

Rose Bouquet Oil Painting Sketch by Winifred

I call it a sketch because it is quite unfinished but that didn’t matter. I do love the fact that in this sketch I am able to convey a “bouquet of ROSES” with very few petals apparent. They say in painting “less is more”. That’s a hard lesson for a detailed oriented painter as I am – though struggling to overcome. In fact, I still thought I should add a second layer of paint when this initial layer dried a bit, just to add some details – but then I thought NO! Leave it! It was just fun and I did enjoy quickly putting down loose shapes of color, light and dark, and have it turn out not too bad – though the shadow is not very good.

Well have a warm and happy holiday and safe travels. I want these wars to be over. That’s my holiday wish. Winifred

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Portrait Study and Vase Redo

Woman in Window Light 9×12 Oil Painting Head Study by Winifred

I create my paint sketched freehand with a paint brush. I must have told you by now, how hard it is to do this and to actually achieve an accurate resemblance. It is really hard. There are a few tricks though, to assist you. I used a couple. One is to turn both the reference image and the painting upside down. It helps immensely when you really get stuck and are not seeing some feature correctly. You can see the error of your seeing immediately because when upside down a lip or an eye or any shape becomes an abstract shape and the concept of eye of lip goes away. It turns your brain off a bit but increases your vision. It’s a pretty amazing tool.

They say the eyes are the window of the soul but the mouth creates the likeness. Honestly I spent hours trying to see her mouth correctly. Each tiny curve and tonal value has to be correct for it to properly appear as the reference mouth. If it’s not correct, you have a painting of some unknown person. I spent hour working on/painting her mouth and in the end is is finally correct. Brushstrokes throughout the painting appear a bit choppy particularly in the shadows of this digital file – far less so on the painting itself. I didn’t particularly concern with smoothing brushstrokes. myself with that. I wanted the features to be correct.There are many ways to make portrait painting easier, I could use a grid, there are even ways to copy an image onto the canvas. However, I want to sketch and paint freehand and to strengthen my eye for this capacity. Therefore, I must endure the pain of the process. I don’t mind a bit of suffering to get there. Below: A redo.

Red Vase Pink Roses 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Do you recall the pink roses in the green vase last week? Well, this is it. I gave it a redo. The red rose in the red vase painting quickly had a new home and I missed the red vase in particular. I also kept envisioning gold tones in the background rather than the more cool neutral tones I used before, so in this redo, gold it is. Original below and I do like the original roses. It’s all fun. I’m already thinking about what I’ll do next and I’ve pretty much decided.

Three Red Roses 2 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Have a great weekend. Winifred

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Green Gold

Dominican Lady in Green Gold

She was wearing red at the time of the photo shoot but I had a different vision. I wanted a more harmonious and painterly look. It would allow her face and the waves of her hair to be the star. Of course I have more work to do but I’m not embarrassed to show at this stage. I have another painting of her as well and I love the style of painting of her face in that one but I have not been able to work out the background. If I do, Ill show you next week. If I don’t, Ill remind myself to figure out the background before I begin. I have one, of course but it just doesn’t work and I saw that all the while. I do enjoy these colors. New for me.

Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for looking. Winifred

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Bold Strokes

Lady with Bowed Head 5×7 Oil Painting on Canvas – By Winifred Whitfield

I’m “busting loose” with these 3 paintings. I remember watching painters on YouTube as they confidently placed individual brush strokes to create form color and texture. Really, they place one brushstroke then step back 6 to 10 feet to observe, then walk back to the easel to place another. They didn’t smooth, or “lick the paint” it is called, when dabbing at the paint un-assuredly, to try achieve a form. I so wanted to be able to do achieve that. Well, I must say I’m getting closer. These paintings were really fun. The idea is that at a point in time, decide your objective – perhaps to add a shadow under the chin – then put down a stroke and leave it alone. Then place another discrete stroke. Don’t keep dabbing at it trying to fix it or make it “pretty”. Don’t blend the color – allow the paint to be paint. Show the brushstrokes. I love the juicy paint texture. Well, that’s what I did with these paintings anyway. I find them exciting and energetic. I didn’t step back 6 feet after a single brushstroke but I may try that. I also found that by the time I got to the third painting I found myself trying to refine too much, I was being drawn back into concern to create a likeness, when that was not my original objective. It has actually been a longer learning journey to paint in this fashion than to paint in a super realistic fashion. After all, If I want the likeness of a person in a photograph, I have most of the information right in front of me. These paintings require an abstracted interpretation of the photo, and a level of confidence in each abstract brushstroke. I’ll be trying more in the future – and larger – after I finish a more traditional portrait which I’ve almost finished.

Whatever you chose to celebrate, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL. Winifred

Lady with Long Braids 5×7 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield
Lady with Black Scarf 5×7 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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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

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My Red Purse

Strolling With My Red Purse – Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I painted her face from imagination which was not easy – I even turned her head to look in a different direction from the reference – challenging! Overall my painting gives the little girl a different look from what you’d expect in our modern culture. The coat/dress and shoes in this painting were inspired by attire I saw in a film clip.The little girl in the film clip was Eastern European with traditional clothing and headdress from her country. Though inspired, I wanted to make sure my painting deviated significantly from my reference. I altered her coat/dress, face of course and gave her a little red purse and ribbon.

Unfortunately, photos of my paintings which are painted on highly textured surfaces – such as this linen, don’t photograph very well and they are further degraded by the internet compression process. It looks a bit rough. I regret this but there is little that I can do about it – I’m not going to blur it or add filters. I love the look of this linen surface in real life.

Have a super weekend. Winifred

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Yellow Rose In Her Hair

Yellow Rose in Her Hair 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Sometimes paintings just don’t go where you want them to go – don’t emote what you want them to emote. But the fact is, that so long as I’m moving my brushes, making decisions about color harmony, shapes, values and texture – it’s all very worth while. True master painters always say that a painting should never be considered so “precious” that you can’t toss your painting and just start over. I tend to get stuck thinking, it’s only paint – I can correct it. It’s hard for me to discard a painting for that reason. I always think I should determine the problem and correct it. I do love the mixture of the warm and cool colors and the brushwork in this painting. It’s growing on me already. She has a heart shaped face if ever I saw one – though this has nothing to do with my painting it.

The heat and sunshine has been miserable this week – but then I think there are people who enjoy heat and sunshine. For me, I hope we’ll be back to our unseasonably cool temperatures and wetness pretty soon. Have a peaceful weekend. Winifred

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