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.
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.
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
It’s been really difficult for me to create post during the past few weeks in the midst of ongoing mass murders – so I didn’t. I had to just stop posting for a while. I painted because that’s soothing but creating post/adjusting images to look like the paintings is a different matter. I enjoyed creating the two versions of this painting. I love the color and elegance of the painting above. I enjoy the texture and energy of the painting below. The fact is I enjoy both very much. This lady is the mom of the little blonde curly head girl with the teddy bear I’ve painted recently a few times prior.
I am compelled to say, I am a gun owner but I think we need to ban AR 15’s and similar assault, mass murder, weapons of war – temporarily or otherwise. No one has been able to identify any other purpose for them other than for mass murder.
She’s very smart, creative and hopeful for an accomplished and exciting future, but will she be allowed to have one? It’s unfortunate that this innocent child must bear witness to yet another violent act of racism in this country – the slaughter of 10 Black people in Buffalo NY shopping in a grocery store. This act, he said, was encouraged by concept of “the replacement theory”, rhetoric espoused by many Republican leaders and particularly embraced by and fed to the public by media mogul Rupert Murdock’s puppet Tucker Carlson on Fox News. It’s so sad! What is this theory? It offers that Jews and other people of color, “who are more obedient” are seeking to replace white people, the rightful owners of this country, to become the majority population and dominant voting block. The “replacement theory” offers that the “seeking” population needs to be silenced, subjugated and eliminated. According the killer, and his manifesto, it is this concept he was supporting by murdering the 10 Black people. He said he did not want Black people to feel safe anywhere.
I hope this beautiful little girl can have a long and prosperous future.
This is my 4th attempt to create this painting as one I’m satisfied with. Really, three full repaintings. Hopefully this will be the last version. It was inspired on a tour of a major museum in Mexico. While walking the corridors, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a little Asian girl kneeling in the sand observing a small starfish. I excitedly thought “I have that photo”- not actually “that photo” – but a photo I took about 15 years ago of a different little girl squatting in the sand, observing a LARGE starfish. It was in fact so very large that I made it substantially smaller to create balance in the painting. This painting has gone through quite a few iterations. I hope it comes to rest in this version – though I do see a little something I might change!! Below – a different little girl.
So, we’ve gone from the museum in Mexico to the little Mexican girl who lives in Washington State. This was one of my first portrait oil paintings, painted about 4 years ago. I love the layers of color and texture and her pretty dark curls. She actually wore a red dress – hence my first layer of color. I remember how terrified she was when ask to stand apart from her parents for the photo. She is looking at them for reassurance.
Hope you enjoy the children – I don’t paint children nearly as often as I paint adults. Have a great weekend! Winifred
I love the light and her serene expression. Overall, I enjoy the warm and calm emotion of it. Reference image provided by Tim Ichien. Knowing myself, this painting is not finished but it is the completed part of the first phase of the painting. That’s just the way the painting process goes. It takes time over time.
Portrait Highlights Patterns – 9×12 Oil Painting on Linen Panel
Portrait Oil Painting by Winifred
When I noticed the patterns of highlights on her face, I was inspired to paint this face. I hesitated for a moment wondering if I could capture such an intricate design – but that’s why tiny brushes are made! It was quite unusual for me to set up lighting in my studio this way but I’m so glad I did.