Above, for the most part, I focus on tones and contrast and expression in my portraits. I use very little color. That surprises me but as I look at any group of my portraits paintings that is what I see and I’m fine with that.
Below: On rare occasions, color takes over.
It’s more so the color of my imagination rather than from the reference. This photo image by Daphne and Art Carlyle. It’s fun to paint little figurative images like this, as opposed to “serious” portraits because I feel comfortable in focusing less on accuracy and details. I enjoyed creating the color and loose textured brush strokes.
Yesterday and today it snowed – just enough to be pretty! Very little is left. The scene below was taken about midnight from my balcony.
As she posed for an outdoor portrait, there occurred a gentle breeze which wrapped her hair and some of it’s fine strands about her face. I liked it and clicked the shutter, having no idea that years later it would become the oil portrait you are viewing. The wind was my friend.
I have a room in my house where I can pull back a sliver of a “black out curtain” and in this otherwise darkened room, the light acts like an intense spot light. I love to use this effect in creating dramatically lit portraits. Whether in photography or paintings the effect is called Chiaroscura. “Chiaro” meaning “clear or bright”, “Scura” meaning “dark or to obscure”. Both DaVinci and Carravaggio made this single light effect famous as a way to create great depth and dimension in their art which was most often monotone. The term has become diluted to generally mean artwork with great contrast. I modified my single light effect by turning on, what by contrast was a dim ceiling light. This added warm highlights to part of her hair and the side of her face – an image otherwise lit by cool daylight.
Well, the next painting will be very different, very colorful with an impressionist twist to it. Stay tuned. Have a great week. 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
It’s been years since I photographed this beautiful and dramatic ballerina in my garden. I love the animated and graceful hands, and the tilt of the head. I always saw her as a butterfly and the words I used to title this come to me whenever I see this image. I worked with very limited range of colors in this painting, as opposed to the reference image colors of intense greens in the garden and the red of her attire and garden flowers in the background. These colors are subdued and unusual for me but prevent the distraction of colors too bright and saturated when I wanted to express delicacy.
Below: There is Greek Mythology that speaks to half man/half horse. I know nothing about it actually, but that doesn’t keep me from making an effort toward the artistic concept.
I took a photo of a friend. It was one of those perfect photos in its emotion, lighting, design, impact – everything. I didn’t feel I could improve on it by painting it in a conservative way, so I decided to just play and experiment; I proceeded.
I selected a panel to paint on which already had a painting on it. The colors were intense – turquoise, deep yellows, orange – you get the drift. I sanded it to smooth it a bit. Selecting a panel with a prior painting on it positions that painting to be an underlying paint layer. This allows that color to come through from time to time, creating color variation which otherwise would not occur. This can work well, creating some nice color surprises. I started by painting his eyes. They are distinctive and very emotional eyes – much like puppy dog eyes. Then I started to apply animated and colorful brushstrokes. Even with all the crazy brushwork and color applied, I noticed that the eyes remained dominant. When I finally stopped, I felt uncertain. I sat it aside and looked at it from time to time. It grew on me. It is colorful, energetic and unusual. The figure is recognizable to its owners and they love it. It’s those eyes! The painted image made me think of the Greek Mythology images of half man/half horse, which we’ve all seen – referred to as Centaurs and Chiron.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed creating both paintings. It’s pretty apparent I enjoy painting in wildly diverse manners. These are pretty much complete opposites.
I wish you and your family a HEALTHY holiday season. I hope you’re vaccinated and wearing a mask. Happy Holidays, Winifred
I’ve had an eye on this image to paint for quite a few years now. It’s a full body photo with lots of outdoor space around her and cold gray skies. I hadn’t decided how I wanted to handle the design or painting of the environment. Finally I decided to just crop it. That’s where the story is anyway and the crop made the painting stronger. It was my fasted portrait painting ever. I would like to think it was so much faster because I’m so much better, but the truth is that when there are no eyes to paint no ears to paint, and overall very little in the way of a face to paint – the painting is so much easier to complete.
You might wonder why I am showing the painting in such a skewed manner. I didn’t really want to but I’ve been affected by something that happened recently. Essentially, I was contacted by a woman in Philadelphia – across the country from where I live, who let me know that she saw one of my images framed and on the wall of a restaurant in a town near her and was interested in this print. My name was on it she said and she searched for me. I was confused. I had not sold any such painting or print to anyone on the East coast. In fact, I don’t sell prints. Ultimately, I came to understand that someone took a posted image printed it, framed it and put it in the restaurant. It’s pretty hard to keep this from happening. I thought that if I skew my images a bit, that might dissuade a few people from stealing, but probably not. I knew you could still see and appreciate the painting even posted in this distorted fashion. Please let me know if that is not the case.
Below is the image that ended up on the restaurant wall. I like it also. They are so cute! It’s one of my very first oil paintings 4 1/2 years ago. I remember so well taking the photo reference while in Italy. Perhaps I should have skewed it in this post!
Well, that’s my story. Have a great weekend. Winifred
I’ve shied away from the complexity of painting the brick wall and netting she is draped in for long enough. It was actually challenging but interesting to do. Now I can stop looking at that photo and wondering if I would ever paint it. I took the photo of this model more than 10 years ago. It’s also interesting that I described the complexity of painting the background elements and attire before even thinking about the models face. I call that progress!
Not sure where you are but it’s now dark at 5p.m where I live in Poulsbo, WA. We’ve had a rainy week and a tornado watch as well. I’m so glad I love painting. I’m never at a loss as to how to spend my day. Hope your life goes well wherever you are. Winifred
Have you seen her before? The last time you saw this lovely lady she had her hands covering her face. No wonder you don’t recognize her!
With her bone structure and the way light graces her face, I thought I should uncover it for this painting. Throughout the summer at a certain time of the morning, I would often observe light coming through a certain window and think ” I must capture a portrait in this light”. On a certain day, I had that opportunity. One only has to “see” the light and recognize it’s potential. I had no idea what an important role my dramatic portrait photography would play in my portrait paintings. It’s also a good thing I enjoy costume design via paint. She was wearing a little black tee with sunflowers but I decided to create her as more regal.
Below, is the previous portrait I posted – her hands covering her face. I really like the painting but wanted to show her face as well. Hope you enjoy both. Winifred
I thought this lovely lady and my dragon bench would look splendid together. I featured a photo this bench in my recent “home gallery” post but I’ve never painted it before. I would often look at this bench and would think “not today” even if had been captured in a reference image. It was actually less stressful to paint than I imagined. Her portrait, on the other hand, posed the usual portrait painting challenge. In every painting there is something to be learned and I enjoy each new experience. Hope you enjoy. Winifred