Two Daisies

Two Daisies on Orange Oil Painting on Textured Panel

Years ago I created a highly textured panel. I toned it with a burnt orange color and then dripped a solvent on it – just playing and experimenting. I added some brushstrokes and ultimately ended up with something that looked like two fluffy orange peonies in a vase. I thought it pretty fun. Then one day while daisies were in bloom, I put a couple stems in a modern day champagne glass to paint them. Again, I chose a very textured panel to paint on. I decided the orange on orange painting would make a great background for the daisies. So, here we are with texture on texture. I enjoy the warmth and the light as well as painting daisies. I’m not sure why I haven’t painted tulips yet with so many currently blooming in my garden. I think it’s because I have a hard time cutting flowers in bloom.

As it sometimes turns out, I wasn’t very happy with my “2 Apples and 2 Bricks” painting I posted last week – but it’s not one I’ll continue to work on. I’ll never photograph items that have parallel lines with a camera phone again. One apple, however looked edible!

My power has gone off 3 times during the last 2 days. It’s the wind. This has greatly interrupted my work flow though my phone has kept me entertained. Have a wonderful week. Winifred

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2 Apples 2 Bricks and Grapes

2 Apples 2 Bricks and Grapes Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

In an interview last night I heard a portrait artist say “if you want to improve your portrait paintings, paint fruit”. I actually know this to be true. I would also include flowers as well. It is the practice of creating form, seeing shapes and capturing lights and shadows which is being practiced. My recent still lifes – seem to express a theme – apples and grapes. These grapes weren’t in the reference but I felt the bricks needed them and at this point I could paint them from imagination. I wanted them a bit loose, so it was best for me not to have a reference. You know what would happen – the grapes would have been tight and photographic. It is also helpful that I have learned the science of painting grapes. They are translucent and light passes through them.

There was a drape behind the still life but I didn’t care for it so I painted these swirly things paying some attention to the pattern of light but not the shapes. For some reason, it’s the kind of thing my hand likes to do without too much trouble.

This week, I’ll get back to portraits. I’ve continued to work on the girl from Kazakhstan. Still not quite done. You’ve only seen the first two iterations. There will be more. I should start all of my post with “this is the first draft of…”. I have NEVER posted a painting which I did not substantial change in the following days or weeks. There is a reason for this and it is true for all painters. One has to get some time and distance from a painting and see it freshly in order to see really see it. Our eyes get use to seeing what we’re painting and very quickly we no longer view it’s colors, shapes and relationships correctly. It can conceivably become a “finished” painting in a few days, a few weeks, sometimes months until one looks at the work and doesn’t want to change anything. It’s a nice feeling when that happens. I just finished this painting tonight. I wonder what I will want to change on it in a couple days. Have a wonderful week. Winifred

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Luscious Grapes and Luscious Color 9×12 oil painting by Winifred Whitfield

I so enjoyed painting this still life. Painting grapes is so different from painting eyes and the luscious colors were invigorating. Once done and pleased, I decided to paint a similar image in a different painting style. With the second painting I wouldn’t have to be careful. It is suggested that one not be too “precious” when painting anyhow. It subdues aliveness from ones brush strokes. Below, you can see that I in no way considered the painting precious – just fun.

Grapes Loosely Painted 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

The second painting was actually more difficult to paint than the first. I enjoy its lively brush strokes but it can be scary. For the first painting, I relied on the reference image for content. In the second painting I had to be more imaginative. I remember the moment I decided to circle the grapes with a vivid blue line and decided to add some random dots all over. I like the colors and the additional texture. I hesitated, but then thought I had nothing to lose – my “precious” painting was finished. I have to overcome fear with each irregular and expressive brushstroke.The underlying thought is constantly “I might mess up”. For sure, that is likely to be the case but it doesn’t matter. The inner dialogue can be exhausting. It slows me down but doesn’t stop me. I am sure you can imagine how difficult and stressful it must be to go through this when painting a portrait. Overall, it was a fun week of adventure in painting.

This coming week, I’ll be back to portraits. Have a great weekend. Winifred

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Three Red Roses

Three Red Roses Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

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.

Three Red Roses 2 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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]

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Venice – The Path

Venice – The Path 11×17 Oil Painting by Winifred

As I perused a friends blog reflecting their recent train tour of Italy – and environs, I saw a photo taken in Venice which stopped me in my tracks. There were many beautiful photos from their trip, but if you recall my paintings from my Venice photos, they all featured umbrellas, rain and the night. I immediately selected her daylight photo to paint. I thought it would be interesting to see if I would approach this painting differently. I enjoyed creating the color variation and texture on the walls, though there was texture on my canvas as well. I added plants and simplified many other aspects of her photo. Painting is about eliminating the non essential.

Recently, Venice presented some very exciting news to the world. During the past several years a $7 billion engineering project was developed to save Venice.

It’s fascinating. (The development and engineering of this system was created by a woman – just so you know.) If interested in learning about the project – view this short YouTube video in the link below and perhaps a few more.There is real hope for Venice.There’s just no other place like it in the world. I believe the system first launched a couple years ago. Saving Venice

I actually painted a portrait last week and though “correct” I found it completely boring and hence wouldn’t post it. Have a great weekend. Hope you have some flowers and veggies growing. I have plants, of course, but the primary food I grow is strawberries in containers. This year, I had to divide them and gave tons of plants to friends. YUM! Thank you for viewing my blog. Winifred

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Toll Both Attendant – New York

Tool Both Attendant New York by Winifred Whitfield Oil Painting 9×12.

While paused at the toll both in New York, not sure which bridge, I ask the attendant, wearing her orange uniform top, if I could take a snap. She had such a warm and friendly face. you can see she said yes. It wasn’t to be a glamorous shot, just a normal person at work. For a long time, I haven’t known how to approach a painting from the photo reference. This is what I decided on. I wish I could find her to allow her to see herself through my eyes. I think she might like it.

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Lady with Oil Lamp

Lady with Oil Lamp 14×19 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I remember vividly her portrait session. She wanted pretty and sexy photos to send to her husband away in the military. I always requested additional poses for my photo collection. I’ve been looking at this reference photo for a while now. In addition to the complexity of the face, It also featured both hands and the lamp. I decided I was ready to give it a try and I’m glad I did. I even very purposely left texture in the brush strokes of her skin. I didn’t want it to look like a photograph. When paintings are viewed at a distance, even 5 or 6 feet, a modest amount of brush texture mostly becomes invisible.

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Beside the Pond

Girl By The Pond 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Hope everyone is having a great New Year. I came upon the reference image for this painting recently and and knew I wound enjoy painting such a classic and somber pose. I particularly loved the curve of of her neck and body. I did exaggerate and alter colors a bit.

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Blue Bow

Blue Bow in Her Hair 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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:

Roses at Christmas – 2021 – 16×20 Still Life Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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

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Bold Strokes

Lady with Bowed Head 5×7 Oil Painting on Canvas – By Winifred Whitfield

I’m “busting loose” with these 3 paintings. I remember watching painters on YouTube as they confidently placed individual brush strokes to create form color and texture. Really, they place one brushstroke then step back 6 to 10 feet to observe, then walk back to the easel to place another. They didn’t smooth, or “lick the paint” it is called, when dabbing at the paint un-assuredly, to try achieve a form. I so wanted to be able to do achieve that. Well, I must say I’m getting closer. These paintings were really fun. The idea is that at a point in time, decide your objective – perhaps to add a shadow under the chin – then put down a stroke and leave it alone. Then place another discrete stroke. Don’t keep dabbing at it trying to fix it or make it “pretty”. Don’t blend the color – allow the paint to be paint. Show the brushstrokes. I love the juicy paint texture. Well, that’s what I did with these paintings anyway. I find them exciting and energetic. I didn’t step back 6 feet after a single brushstroke but I may try that. I also found that by the time I got to the third painting I found myself trying to refine too much, I was being drawn back into concern to create a likeness, when that was not my original objective. It has actually been a longer learning journey to paint in this fashion than to paint in a super realistic fashion. After all, If I want the likeness of a person in a photograph, I have most of the information right in front of me. These paintings require an abstracted interpretation of the photo, and a level of confidence in each abstract brushstroke. I’ll be trying more in the future – and larger – after I finish a more traditional portrait which I’ve almost finished.

Whatever you chose to celebrate, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL. Winifred

Lady with Long Braids 5×7 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield
Lady with Black Scarf 5×7 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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