Hope everyone is having a great New Year. I came upon the reference image for this painting recently and and knew I wound enjoy painting such a classic and somber pose. I particularly loved the curve of of her neck and body. I did exaggerate and alter colors a bit.
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:
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
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
Studies of Renior and Gauguin
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Elegant Lady in Red
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
It’s been a lengthy absence by my standards and I’ve had technical problems posting. Hope this works. I’ve been really really busy with so many activities. I even redid a couple paintings I previously posted but I have not yet replaced them. When I create a new painting and as I continue to observe it, I dislike it more and more – I do rework it if there are fundamental strengths. This happens fairly often.
This my most recent is a unusual and I do love it. I enjoyed working with this wonderful model. I’m very fortunate with my collection of growing models. I also love the fact that I have an excellent capacity to create dramatic lighting in my home just by pulling back the corner of a drape, which is otherwise dark. So essentially by pulling back the corner of my drape, I have a single spotlight. To add a little “fill” light I only have to pull back the corner of the other side of the other drape – of a two window bank which keeps the room from being completely dark – as though I turned on a flashlight. Is that confusing enough? Anyway, it really works. I don’t miss my studio. The amount of space maybe but I’m OK.
The wall was blank behind her. It’s a warm mid tone brown color with a burgundy ceiling. I can always make the wall even more neutral/cool in Photoshop if I like. So, there I had this lovely portrait of a young lady sitting on a stool against a light background – light when the sun hit it. In the scene, there was also part of a pulled back drape showing. Now, what would I do?
I could paint it as it was – yes I could, but no challenge there. Then I occurred to me to fill it with soft swirls of fabric and play with grayed colors to maintain her as the focus. The next idea which came to me was to repeat her eyes in the background. I started with lots of eyes, six on each side and kept eliminating them to 3 then 2. Then I started to enlarge them. I did so and I was finished with what would be my reference for the painting. This concept came together very quickly – just showed up – no reference for any of it. RARE – no struggle. I looked at my reference, the likes of which I have never painted before, and thought “how am I going to paint this”! There were so many slight color variations which created the forms. But I did. I have no idea where these ideas come from, I simply try to follow the instructions and to make room for them as they flow through me. I’m only a conduit I always say. This digital file does not reflect the photo well at all – but that’s how it goes sometimes.
Happy Indigenous Peoples Day – The real discoverers of America. Have a great weekend. Winifred
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Top Bun – New York
I often get such wonderful photographs when I visit New York. It was a gallery opening which brought me to New York on this occasion 10 years ago. Art Wolfe, an internationally known artist based in the Seattle, was showing an an amazing body of work. He had allowed me to work on the project a couple days, a participation I will never forget. I didn’t want to miss this ultimate show.
While moving about and chatting with many people I knew, I spotted a very interesting and attractive young woman. I ask her if I could photograph her. In New York most people like to be photographed. It’s a positive form of recognition. The desire to be an actor or model is very strong. Immediately she said “yes” and struck a pose. She wore an dress with only one sleeve. The other arm and shoulder were fully exposed and fully tattooed. Chains hung from her attire in many places. Her wore heavy eye make up. I knew these photos would be fun to work with some day. The “someday” is this portrait painting – I enjoyed re envisioning her. I hope you like it.
To get and idea about Art’s project and New York show click here: The Human Canvas You’ve never seen anything like it. I was so honored to play even a small role in the effort.
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Fall is just around the corner. Why is it that it will be 90 degrees here tomorrow. Fortunately, it will last only one day. Have a great weekend. Winifred
My Red Purse
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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