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]
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
Once again we celebrate our respective holidays – gatherings of family, joy, peace – or not! And once again, I’ve reworked this painting! I’ve been at it off and on for 4 years now. Recently, I even sanded down much of the bottom and lower right. I sanded back to the white of the panel. Notice how lustrous those grapes look on the right side. Painting layers of transparent color over a white board gives you the brightest most intense and reflective translucent color. Applying opaque colors is beautiful also – it just depends on the look you want to achieve. I added the bit of cloth and fringe. The bit of white livens the painting over all. I wanted to leave the foliage loose and abstract, though it received a touch up as well.
I can still remember the moment I photographed the lady in the window. She saw me looking at her. I motioned to the camera and looked back up at her – my way of asking permission. I remember that moment of connection with her. She nodded yes, gave me a warm smile – even waved. I wanted “the wave” in the painting but her arm and hand were positioned so awkwardly – I couldn’t make it work.
Below: This is a first time I painted a barn, trees, a field of grass. It was fun. I enjoyed it so much in fact, I painted it twice!
I didn’t like the trees I painted initially so I sanded down that part of my painting. I used an electric sanding machine rather than a sanding block – I was aggressive. I was pleasantly surprised when my trees were were immediately simplified and had a level of abstraction. Artist frequently say that removing paint is as important as putting it on. This is an example and I need to employ this as a technique more often rather than as a last resort. In 2022, my only resolution will be to sand off more paint.
I wishing you the best during this holiday season. Winifred
I’ve had this kitten doorstop for so many years. I thought perhaps it might be used in a still life but I couldn’t imagine how. I haven’t had the little bird as long. It was purchased specifically to be used in a still life but it actually spent most of it’s years, hidden accidentally in a corner under one of my studio tables. Now they are both stars. It’s a painting that makes me smile. I love the expression of the kitten and the sense of connection with the adoring little bird. Anyway, that’s the way it feels to me. And yes there is platter of fruit. They’ll have no problem nibbling. Again, my drop cloth plays an important roll in the design and framing of the painting. This painting is a bit unusual. I’m OK with that. What do you think. Winifred
Did you know that planting seeds of any apple will never give you the same apple. It’s like children – each child born will be different in some way – from what I’ve seen – even twins. If you plant sunflower seeds and most other seeds and you’ll get the same plant. To get the same apple, you have to clone the plant – graft the branch of the fruit you want onto the root stock of another tree. When sufficiently mature, it will bear identical fruit type as that from the tree the branch came from. What has this got to do with my painting – absolutely nothing, but interesting and this was discussed in a recent video on Cezanne I saw on YouTube.
Cezanne created so many paintings of apples – a couple hundred or more. Sometimes he included a few other fruit, but mostly he painted apples. They were foundational to his still lifes. He decided to make his mark with “apples”. Still lifes, at that time the lowest oil painting genre of them all. But he cared not. He wanted to astonish Paris with apples – and so he did. Proving again that boldness has genius! It was not just the apple subject matter that won him such acclaim however, it was his design, perspective, brushstrokes and color. Most painters were using smooth blended paint strokes at the time. As you see below, he was often painting with thick paint. I love this thick juicy paint. Many will think it looks messy. I find it amazing!
I’ve always also taken note of the bold deeply folded white cloth/s Cezanne frequently uses in his still lifes, which I mentioned is the reason my new drop cloth is so exciting to me. I’ve used it again in this painting as well as the next I’m working on presently. I’ll enjoy painting apples and other fruit for a while before … who knows? Have a wonderful day! Winifred
Drop cloths covered furniture to protect it while I prepared new panels for paintings. The drop cloths have an interesting character which allow it to hold folds and planes as opposed to soft gathers or draping effects. I felt strongly it would make a great background for my still life box set up. It would only require that I cut my drop cloth which I was reluctant to do. After I dismantled my protective use of the drop cloths, I folded them, each 9×12 feet, and put them away. However, my inner voice kept nagging me. It too knew I needed a piece of that drop cloth for use in my studio. I returned to their storage place, unfolded one of the drop cloths and made a 30 inch by 9 ft cut. I then cut that in half such that I now have two. Excitedly, I took one of my 2 halves to my studio and virtually tossed it across the back of my still life setup. Because of the stiffness of the backdrop, As I thought, it id easy and interesting to manipulate. I reminds me of the appearance of white table cloths in Cezanne’s paintings – though this is not what he used. I can also paint one side a different color. In fact I can have each of 4 sides a different color. So the fact is – I love it. I had recently pulled a white goblet from my cabinet. It was just there – nearby, waiting to be put away. I placed the goblet on the new background drop cloth. I turned my new spot light on. WOW! I thought it was so sculptural, so interesting. I took a quick I phone photo to isolate the image. It was good so I took 10 more photos – thinking I could go one better. The fact is, I like that first shot best and that’s what I painted.
Now you see why this painting is black and white only. There was a strong pull to add a spot of color – one red strawberry perhaps, but decided it was fine just as it is. I did use lots of juicy thick paint which is giving me great texture. A fun painting inspired by a painter drop cloth. That doesn’t happen everyday for sure. Hope you enjoy. Winifred
Thick paint and vivid colors make me happy, though there’s still a little work to be done. These sunflowers, also featured in my last painting, were the last two left from the bouquet. They were still good but coming to an end. The petals of these flowers were unusual. Rather than “pointy” they were ovals and many had completely rounded ends. I’m not sure I have ever seen such before. For sure. I’ve never grown any which look like this. I’ll have to ask Trader Joe where they come from. I could have saved seeds but this is only occurring to me at this very moment.
I have a new light in the studio which offers a wide range of lighting styles for still life set ups, which is likely why you feel a sense of spot light on these flowers – because it is. Hope you enjoy and have a great week. Winifred
I haven’t done a palette knife impasto painting in quite a long while. You can probably look at this and imagine the fun. I’m sure there’s some rule about not mixing impasto with smooth shiny and realistic elements, as I did by including the painting style of the grapes but I did it anyway. The purple grapes in particular look absolutely edible and I was not going to change that for consistency sake. I’m a proponent for not being consistent anyway. It’s too boring a concept. I’ve noticed over time that when I paint still lifes which include flowers and fruit, my favorite part of the painting is the lower half. I do love painting fruit. I think it’s the variety of shapes colors and textures in close proximity. As well I enjoy painting vases. I painted the vase texture from imagination. No doubt, there will soon be a still life painting with no flowers! Hope you enjoy! Winifred
It started when shopping for fruits and veggies. I saw a bunch of large tangerines in the center of the fruit display. They had large gnarly green leaves attached. I would include them as they would add a special touch to the bowl of fruit I’d create. I tilted the bottom of my support to change the point of view just a little to add additional interest. Primarily, I used a palette knife but not for everything. Always a challenge but I enjoyed creating this colorful energetic painting.