Going Forward

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah  to all!!

I realize this post should lead with a pretty holiday themed painting – but alas! NO!!  I think such paintings are pretty, but best left to others to paint. I’ve always been that way.  I actually feel a little badly about it. However, I just wait out those guilty feelings and soon the holiday is over and all is well again.

In addition to the linen covered panels, I told you, Ive been making, I’ve now also made my own hand made oil paints. It’s pretty exciting to grind oil and pigment powder to make paint.

Still Life by Winifred Whitfield with First Handmade Oil Paints

This gives me full control over what’s in my paint and it’s consistency. To test my new paints, I did this quick little painting with paints I made. “Two Vases and a Grape”.  It is a little odd looking, isn’t it.The scale of things seem a bit off – but it’s really what I set up. I like the fact that you can’t really tell what’s going on. What is the vase on, and what’s beneath that and why is the other partial vase sitting off to to right – and one grape!  If any of these questions arose when this came into view. – I was successful. I also find the shapes and values interesting.

But that’s not all I’ve been doing!  On my stove – even as we speak – there is a large quantity of oil boiling, which I’m refining to use with my oils when painting and to use when making handmade paints.  I did not know I was this kind of person.  I’ve spent 4 hours today so far, almost literally watching a liter of oil boil in 8 liters of water, sand and salt.  After this cleaning process is complete – which it is not yet, I will oxygenate the oil further for several days with a little aquarium pump. The idea is to produce a thicker, cleaner, less yellowing, faster drying linseed oil for my oil painting – in the style of the “old masters”. Such oil can not be found commercially today in art stores, though some version may soon be introduced.

Even though there is not a card, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a  Happy Chanukah!

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Bowl Twig Pecans

8×10 Oil Painting on Custom Oil Primed Linen/Tempered Hardboard

I am increasing becoming involved in what I paint on. During the past several weeks, guided by Ted Spurgeon’s October 2017, 11th edition book “Living Craft”, I’ve been upping the complexity of my painting supports. The painting below, however, is painted on a new surface I made – oil primed linen on tempered board  Previously, it took a few hours to prepare 30 boards fully.  Now the process for preparing a few linen panel can take a week.  I do this because I love this highly textured appearance it gives me. I actually purchased 3 different textures of linen.  I am most excited about the rougher one. One can purchase primed linen, ready to adhere  from art supply stores – but not like mine. In the two paintings below, you see the texture of the linen panel, and the texture of the brush work thereby creating exciting surfaces. Please let me know what you think of this look. It is very different from the polished reflective surfaces I showed you last week. Thank you. Winifred

Still Life of Bowl,Twig and Pecans, by Winifred Whitfield

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My Mother’s Store

My Mother’s Store – 12×16 Oil on Gessoed Board

Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

On this particular day, I took a ferry to Seattle and climbed the hill to 1st Avenue.  As I started walking North, I spotted a little store with some great looking boots in the window. I went in.seated with her mother, I immediately saw this adorable little girl in her very pretty attire holding her teddy.  I ask her mother if I could take a couple of photos and I did.  I love the way little children pose. They just stand there – no posing in fact, no pretense – just “here I am”. 

This is the first time I have attempted a full environmental portrait. I love the idea of it but  and wanted to tell the story in a rather realistic figurative manner, but what work!!   The size of this canvas is  12×16, not really small, but still the face is only about 1 inch wide. It’s very challenging to paint facial likeness at that scale but I did it – but I hope never again.  I will  simply paint on a much larger canvas if I want to paint a room interior.

I did purchase a great pair of leather boots – my absolute favorites.  The store was going to of business – there was a big sale.

This is not a finished finished portrait.  I will make more refinements  as I continue to look at it, but the elements and concept is pretty clear.  Hope you enjoy

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Ménage à Trois – YAMS!


10×8 Oil Painting on Canvas Board

Ménage à Trois – YAMS! Oil Painting by Winifred

Early in June, I set up and photographed many still lifes,  I would later reference to paint.  I even photographed three large yams on a rich velvet background. Since that time, whenever I’ve scrolled through that collection of images, I would stop at the yams thinking “they looked so very weird”!  I thought I would never paint “that one”.  Wrong again.  I came to like the fact that the photo was  so unusual, so organic with the rich complementary colors and interesting shapes. It brings a smile. So, here it is!!

Below,  I  initially created an oil sketch and a light grid to be sure to get accurate placement, referencing the photo. I then chose my background color and painted loosely around the yam sketch.

Oil sketch with grid visible.

Below, I create my mid-tones, highlights and shadows.

Blocking in values as underpainting.

As usual, I like the  brushstroke looseness  of the stage above.

By the way, I wiped down and cleaned off my Hydrangea oil sketches from last week.  I will paint it  pretty soon and of course show it to you when I do. Til then, Winifred Whitfield


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Blue Hydrangeas Progression

Blue Hydrangea – 8×10 Oil on Canvas –  Preliminary Oil Painting Sketches

Hydrangeas – Preliminary – Progression

This is my first effort to develop a hydrangea painting. I explored a progression of considerations.  I could have painted clusters of perfect little petal flowers and a lovely blended background, or there are many other pretty styles. I know how to do that, but I would not find it interesting. In fact, I created many versions of this painting – more than you see here. They became less and less spontaneous. All paintings are not going to work, but if I am not pushing the creative envelop, experimenting with color and texture, detail or lack there of, I’m not moving forward. There are aspects of each image I like or don’t like.  I will leave it up to you to wonder through the images.  I will create a final painting  in the future starting with a blank canvas.  At that time, because of this efforts, I will better know how I want to develop it. Thank you and Bye for now. Winifred

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Diametrically Opposed

Oil Painting On Canvas 8×8

I set up these still lifes in my studio. Could any bouquets of flowers be  more different in painting style? I love loose painter strokes, but I also found it interesting to try my hand at some basic “one stroke” brush techniques in the image below.  Both were certainly very interesting to paint.


I found myself buried in details the painting below, but the results on this black canvas were vibrant and enjoyable to create.


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Italian Laundry Painting

Oil Painting – Laundry in Italy

Im not sure why we’re so fascinated with the many long cords laundry pinned to them we see in Italy. I love this visual also.  In fact, on any given street, if I saw hanging laundry, I photographed it.  It’s kind of like joyful colorful flags waving in the wind.  This is my first attempt to paint from such a photo.  The process was interesting.  

Laundry in Italy

Below you see the photo which inspired the painting.

The image below is in image of an earlier stage of the painting.  I like it quite a lot – perhaps even better than the finished painting with the laundry. I enjoy the strong shapes and  simple blocks of color. No Fuss. In the future, I just might create this as the painting.  At this point, I’m happy to have it as a digital file.

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Portrait Paintings – Italy

The Shop Keeper – Oils – Italy

I decided I was ready to try painting portraits with oils. Color mixing and blending edges has improved tremendously.  Both task are important to portrait painting. “The Shop Keeper is my most recent painting.  

This lady was so lovely and so willing to pose to display to the camera some of her goods.  I ate some of the fresh pick fruit from the fields. OMG!! So yummy!! The photo has been substantially reinterpreted. 

Reference Image for Painting Above



This portrait I also enjoy. It’s from my “Venice at Night” series which I photographed in the rain.  This portrait, I feel. I think she is very tired. It is the emotional content of this photo which inspired the painting.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to capture the painting in the photo of the painting. I am not pleased with it’s appearance.

In the distant past, artist, almost exclusively, mixed all of their colors from very few pigments.  For both of these paintings, like artist from the past, I used only black, white, yellow and red pigments to mix the other colors you see.  I’ve learned quite a bit about mixing pigments by doing this. I’ve not been able, however to get a decent blue, which I read would occur when mixing Ivory black with Titanium White. I’ve gotten a mixture a little warmer than grey but not exactly what I was after.   No doubt it is my paint and the quality of my pigments.  Of course, I could just use one of the  several blues I own – but I just didn’t choose to. It’s been a great exercise.

Reference Image for Painting Above


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Painting with Traditional Oils – Creating Still Life Paintings

Traditional Oil Still Life Paintings  

The Beginning!! You can watch me progress. I created these paintings during the past 3 weeks.  Really, oils out of tubes!!!  Some paintings have turned out better than others – no surprise!!  The first painting which you see was my first oil painting.  I  actually destroyed the canvas but kept this photo of it. Fortunately, I photograph various stages of a paintings development. This was a very early stage of  the oil painting.  I kept painting and painting until ultimately I ruined it. It was not worth the time to try to recover it – I just threw it out.  I’m glad I had such an early lesson on the detriment of overworking a painting.  

Above – My first oil painting 

Lighting is  one of the most important aspect of creating a still life,  Having a few fun items to paint is important as well. Almost anything can be interesting if well lit. I have used both daylight and artificial light as a source in my still life paintings.

Orange and Pear Simple Still Life

  I used daylight for the above painting of the orange and the pea abover.

I continue to enjoy lots of texture in my paintings, which I create allowing my brush to “dance” as I paint. Pretty fun.  Most of these paintings are 8×10.

 I paint almost everyday – stoping for a day only when I burnout,  before proceeding again.  

Above, Brass tea pot.  I will certainly create more.



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