Study of John Singer Sargent Portrait of a Capri Girl

Study – Sargent “Portrait of a Capri Girl” 1878 – 9×12 Oil Painting

It’s difficult to even find this image on the internet because it’s such an early work painted by Sargent and no doubt it’s not one of his most popular paintings. However, I found it at some point in the past and saved it to a collection of his portraits I keep on my computer as possible references. She was one of his very first models. I have created another study of the other from his set of two paintings of the Capri Girl. It is nearly 16×20 and I enjoy it on my wall. At a point I just quit working on this one and decided that “near enough” was good enough”. After all, it was intended as a study, not a copy, and I felt I’d derived sufficient benefit from the process. I wasn’t sure what that was in this instance, but it’s always useful to attempt Sargent’s brushstrokes. I think, I’ll next attempt a still life. I have some new references. Have a wonderful weekend. Winifred

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Lady with Red Scarf

Lady With Red Scarf Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

Happy New Year everyone! It certainly *promises not to be boring. This is my first painting of the New Year. The same model as with the last two paintings. I enjoy this portrait. I rarely use such vivid color in my portrait paintings and love the loose energetic strokes in the scarf.

I keep thinking I’d like to paint a floral still life. We’ll see. I’ve also been taking some prior portraits to the studio to make changes. Some things one sees more correctly over time. Sometimes I’m just veering toward adding more detail because that’s who I am. I feel that I’m “correcting” it, whereas in fact I’m just adding more detail and should leave it alone. This is an ongoing struggle for me.

Wishing you health and happiness amidst the chaos. Winifred

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Amber Necklace

Lady Wearing Amber Necklace 11×14 Oil Painting by Winifred

Initially I created a painting without significant deviation from the reference photo. She was a lovely model. She wore an olive green velvet spaghetti strap dress. Her hair was cropped chin length. It was a flattering cut for her. The background was plain. Upon finishing this version of the painting, I looked at it and found it to be such an unimaginative painting. I had added nothing. I wasn’t sure what to do but this first version was unacceptable. Before starting a new version of the painting, I went into Photoshop and began to play with possible changes in colors, attire, background and even her hair style. I developed a new vision. I then went back to my easel. I don’t know just how to describe this style of painting, but for me it expresses more of what I want to see in my portraits. Modern portraits and photographic looking portraits really don’t appeal to me even when they’re colorful and full of energy and well done. I’m attracted to the Old Masters, their color palette and their techniques. This painting was pretty complex because ultimately, it’s pretty difficult to create a painting when I’ve decided NOT to follow the reference photo. I do enjoy this painting now.

I am so excited that I’ve figured out how to take a decent photo of my paintings with the iPhone. I have 13 Pro Max and it has Adobe Camera Raw. I can make my own adjustments and I have altered iPhones automatic settings to eliminate the sharpening and contrast the iPhone was imposing on my paintings. I should have figured this out long ago. What a difference it makes and you won’t have to hear me complain any longer.

The last thing I’ll say is that these wars cause me great pain. Truly. Hope you’re enjoying your holidays. Winifred

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Lady in Window Light

Lady in Window Light – Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I was introduced to this lady by the Master Gardener’s of Kitsap County Calendar Committee in 2006 when I photographed a calendar for the Master Gardeners as a fund raising activity. It was one of those “pretend to be nude” calendars – so long ago. One of the great things that occurred during the process is that the County, or perhaps the State governing body was less than pleased with this calendar concept and require a “BANNED” sticker to be placed on it. Boy, did that increase sales! We had so much fun and raised so much money. As we ended the project, I ask the calendar committee if they knew anyone who would like to have a beautiful portrait created. They all suggested this woman. They spoke of her beauty and elegance. It was true. The photo was 3/4 body length and had a wonderful background by virtue of using what was known as a Virtual Background Machine. I created a large photographic wall portrait for her. She was very pleased. I used only her head as my reference for my painting. I’ll see if I can’t find her to let her see it.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I have lots of smoked turkey left. I wish you health and happiness. Winifred

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John Singer Sargent Study

Sargent Study – Girl from Capri – Master Copy

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.

Have a wonderful weekend. Winifred

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Girl in Red

Girl in Red 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Winifred

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Sunny and Breezy Day Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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

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Hazel Eyes

Hazel Eyes Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

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.

Have a good weekend. Winifred

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Guitar Player

Guitar Player (Study) 9×12 oil on panel.

I’m posting this painting to view but I’m well aware this painting didn’t work very well. The energy and expression are flat and the composition is not particularly interesting. The value of this painting is practice, and the likeness is quite good. Many many hours go into practice but no doubt, some paintings are more successful than others. I do love the paint texture itself. The reason I’m getting such interesting paint texture is that I’ve modified a bunch of brushes. I’ve created a dozen brushes or so with jagged edges and missing hairs which gives me all the paint texture. As you see, it looks like paint! I do like that.

There is also an interesting back story to this image. More than 10 years ago there was a major mudslide in the town of OSO, Washington. About 47 homes slid down the hill as a result of clear cutting and days of rain. Sadly, many lives were lost. There was a fund raiser held for the affected community with the fire department task with the distribution of the funds raised. I attended. This man was part of the entertainment for the event. What I loved about the image is the dramatic light.

So far, our weather continues to be very wonderful – at least, it’s my preference. We have. cool nights, 60 and below and I don’t think we hit 80 this past week. Enjoy your weekend. Winifred

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The Shopkeeper and His Wife

The Shopkeeper – 12×16 Oil Painting on Panel by Winifred Whitfield
The Shopkeeper’s Wife – 11×14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I think it’s interesting to see the difference in the surfaces of these two paintings. The Shopkeeper’s painting has a softly pebbled and a semi absorbent surface creating significant soft surface texture.

The Shopkeeper’s Wife was painted in sunlight on a smooth and non absorbent surface which allows the paint greater movement. You can see they look entirely different. I made the panel as well as the product I applied to the surface. To create this surface product is quite a bit more time consuming than using conventional products but I’ve decided it’s worth it.

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