Mysterious Woman

Mysterious Woman in Red 14×18 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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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