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.
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
She was married in my garden – more than15 years ago. She was lovely – in no way a “bridezilla”. I photographed her wedding and printed her each of the 50 photos chosen for her album. I would be printing her photos in black and white in my “chemical dark room”. It was the only time I ever did this but her images were stunning – I must say. Not many people want a black and white wedding album when photos were actually taken in a beautiful and colorful garden. She has very classic and sophisticated taste. Some years later I held a workshop to study studio lighting techniques and Photoshop. She was one of the models requested for the occasion. My reference image for this painting came from that photo shoot.
At one point during. this painting I took a painting tool tool and made some streaks around the edge of her head. The first one in particular resembled a butterfly. It’s on the upper right side of her head. I’m sure you can pick it out – hence the title. If this painting looks a bit different, that’s good. I’m exploring new techniques which is an ongoing effort.
I managed to get 200 bulbs planted in15 large pots yesterday. Carrying dirt and compost, lifting pots, I was in pain by the end of the day. Two Ibuprofen and an evening’s rest, I recovered. What a “bulb show” it will be in Spring. It will go dark in the Northwest in a few days. Even now the sun sets at 5:45. Soon it will be dark at 4:30. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the remaining light. Winifred
It was only moments ago that I looked at this image and saw “FALL”. That’s what can happen when one combines yellow, orange, red, burgundy brown and green as the palette colors.This is particularly the case when you view some of the brushstroke shapes I created in this portrait. Also, I think I’ve solved the problem of the over sharpening of my digital files and too much contrast. What a pain that’s been. increased contrast and sharpening is fine for photos but not so for paintings. It ruins them.
You’ll be seeing some new styles of portrait paintings in the future and I’m looking forward to the process. Have a wonderful weekend. 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.
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.
Its been a year or perhaps two since I’ve painted a floral still life and I it really hadn’t part of my plan. I was simply going through my images looking for the next portrait reference and a photo of three roses in a decorative vase (clearly out of place) was before me. I thought I’d do something quick as a diversion.
Actually it was the painting below and to the right which was the first I painted. When it was finished, I wanted to try a different style of painting as well. So, I’ve ended up with two quite different paintings from the same reference image. The image to the right is most like the reference in colors and proportions. The one above is much more of an interpretation.
Well, it’s time for me to get back to my portrait study. The portrait reference is from a tight head shot, which is not the kind of portrait I particularly enjoy painting, but it’s continuing practice in drawing, developing an eye for proportions. and painting features which is a process and practice which never ends.
Hope you enjoy the roses. I know you don’t particularly enjoy commenting, but I would love to hear your thoughts/preference regarding these two paintings, so I will leave the comments turned on – but no pressure. Winifred mailto:[email protected]
John Singer Sargent was an American expatriate artist and was considered the greatest portrait artist of his time (1856 – 1925). If you are not familiar with his paintings, I hope you will look him up and view his masterful works. He was painter of the rich and famous. I wanted to imagine his brushstrokes. This is my study of his study of Rosina Ferra whom he painted very early in his career at 22 years old. She was a frequent model for his sketched and finished paintings.
It is hard to know when working from internet images what the actual colors are in the actual painting and there were so many internet versions to choose from. Accurate and original color didn’t matter to me, as much as did form, values and accuracy of in the face. There was a substantial amount of violet in my painting and in my reference. None of this shows up in this internet conversion. I have little doubt that my version of her sweater falls short of his in many ways. The sweater was far more challenging than the face but I wanted to make an effort. I wanted some semblance of the abstraction of Sargent’s brush marks – marks which will remain uniquely his.The texture of his canvas would have also contributed significantly to the creation of the sweater and all aspects of the painting. Painting her face, was enjoyable and I think the color is in the ball park.
This painting began as a black and white photo, but I wanted to make it more than sepia tone. Painting it is color with it’s various color nuances was interesting. The lighting is dramatic and I can remember taking this photo in my studio years ago. I like it and I like the painting.
After I’ve worked for days on a very serious portrait as above, I most often select a photo to paint which easily allows me to PLAY – as was the case below. It creates a kind of balance within me. There’s the desire to just throw paint around. Any color, shape or brushstroke is almost acceptable, although I still attempt to achieve overall color harmony and composition. Lots of thick brush strokes are providing texture which of course does not photograph well. I did have fun! Hope you enjoy both. Hope you are very well. Winifred
Any combination of yellow, red and blue produces a lovely color harmony. There are artist who paint exclusively using this color combination. I don’t often use it but I like it. In this painting, I find the right shoulder offers too much contrast. Notice how your eye is drawn there. I must change that, but otherwise I will leave this painting as is.
It’s pretty photo realistic, I’m aware.. I didn’t intend this and I don’t prefer this as a painting style, as you are well aware by now. I’m a bit surprised it developed in this manner especially when I uses no aids or processes to go from photo to painting. There was no grid, projection or tracing. I looked at the photo, created a soft sketch and then painted. Sometimes it just happens. I think it’s the hair that plays the greatest role in the photographic look. I told you about the dozen brushes or so I modified. I didn’t have to create individual strokes to get the look of freshly combed hair. it’s the brushes I’ll blame. I have another great little brush which allows me to create the individual wispy hairs. It was actually fun – the whole thing.
The photo was taken in my garden when I owned my farm more than 10 years ago. I held a workshop, focused on both photographic shooting techniques and Photoshop editing techniques. It was well attended. This young lady was one of the 2 models hired. I’ve wanted to paint this for quite a while. It’s not often that one captures dramatic backlighting and adequate highlights and shadows in the face. Her shoulders were actually bare. I added a few painterly strokes to create a little shoulder drape just to add some looseness to the painting.Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy.
For sure, next week I will post a portrait painting that looks like a painting. Be well. Winifred
I liked her expression and the tilt of her head and I decided to focus solely on that aspect of the reference photo. As usual, it took three full rounds of painting her face and features to get to this point. Another round of painting might be merited but “over painting” most often takes the “life” from a painting. Imperfections can be a good thing. I liked the unfinished look of the hair and in addition added a couple touches of red – just because. I always worry about the color of the images in my my post because the color is never the same as the paintings. I struggle to get it as close as I can. Sometimes it’s close, other times not. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.