Elegant Lady in Red

Elegant Lady in Red 11 x 14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

It’s always a challenge and a joy to paint a portrait. Of course you know my tendency is toward realism – and so it is. I enjoy her elegance in the red draped fabric – and the tiny hint of a smile.

Finally, it has begun to cool and to rain a little. I cannot ever remember such a warm and dry fall as we’ve had. It’s been really lovely. Watering plants has come to an end. The time will change in a week or so to Daylight Savings Time. I thought this had ended legislatively but I am obviously wrong. It will become dark very early – 5pm, even 4:30 by December. I’ll continue to tuck myself in my studio and paint. It’s a creative and restful time for me. I hope the same for you. Winifred

Mysterious Woman

Mysterious Woman in Red 14×18 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

It’s been a lengthy absence by my standards and I’ve had technical problems posting. Hope this works. I’ve been really really busy with so many activities. I even redid a couple paintings I previously posted but I have not yet replaced them. When I create a new painting and as I continue to observe it, I dislike it more and more – I do rework it if there are fundamental strengths. This happens fairly often.

This my most recent is a unusual and I do love it. I enjoyed working with this wonderful model. I’m very fortunate with my collection of growing models. I also love the fact that I have an excellent capacity to create dramatic lighting in my home just by pulling back the corner of a drape, which is otherwise dark. So essentially by pulling back the corner of my drape, I have a single spotlight. To add a little “fill” light I only have to pull back the corner of the other side of the other drape – of a two window bank which keeps the room from being completely dark – as though I turned on a flashlight. Is that confusing enough? Anyway, it really works. I don’t miss my studio. The amount of space maybe but I’m OK.

The wall was blank behind her. It’s a warm mid tone brown color with a burgundy ceiling. I can always make the wall even more neutral/cool in Photoshop if I like. So, there I had this lovely portrait of a young lady sitting on a stool against a light background – light when the sun hit it. In the scene, there was also part of a pulled back drape showing. Now, what would I do?

I could paint it as it was – yes I could, but no challenge there. Then I occurred to me to fill it with soft swirls of fabric and play with grayed colors to maintain her as the focus. The next idea which came to me was to repeat her eyes in the background. I started with lots of eyes, six on each side and kept eliminating them to 3 then 2. Then I started to enlarge them. I did so and I was finished with what would be my reference for the painting. This concept came together very quickly – just showed up – no reference for any of it. RARE – no struggle. I looked at my reference, the likes of which I have never painted before, and thought “how am I going to paint this”! There were so many slight color variations which created the forms. But I did. I have no idea where these ideas come from, I simply try to follow the instructions and to make room for them as they flow through me. I’m only a conduit I always say. This digital file does not reflect the photo well at all – but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day – The real discoverers of America. Have a great weekend. Winifred

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Opposites

Time for Play 9×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I wonder if it was shocking to see this painting pop up. Art experts suggest you not always attempt to make your paintings “precious”. You shouldn’t working so intensely as though trying to create the next greatest masterpiece. Such endeavor, they say, halts creativity and experimentation. This can cause burnout and it’s not so much fun. I’m am pretty intense when I paint. Soon, my back hurting and my eyes strained, trying to get those brushstrokes just right – it’s emotionally very stressful. In the above painting, I just had fun – fun colors, fun and funny brushstrokes, unfinished hands – it didn’t matter. The photo reference was taken in a nail salon years ago when I use to get acrylic nails. My nails were pretty but I felt it such a waste of my time. I don’t have fake nails any longer. It’s really pointless given my current preoccupation, though I gave it up long before I was painting. Below: A painting far more on the serious side – “a girl in a lace shawl dreaming”.

Girl Dreaming – Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

I like this painting, but I feel I’ve created so many pretty, dramatic and serious paintings – which “feel” quite similar. This painting is the opposite of the one above. I think I want to play a bit more – and work more with my painting knives. It’s easier on ones back!

Have a wonderful weekend. Winifred

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Pebble

Young Asian Indian Girl Holding a Pebble – Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I said I would present you with a non-human portrait this week but ultimately I didn’t like the photo reference I had in mind – so I chose as usual, a human portrait – a little girl. Yet another portrait look with lots of texture. I love the way children hold tiny things in their hands – the items appear to be so precious to them.

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Pin Up Girl

Pin Up Girl 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Known for their “pouty” red lips, big curls, wind blown up swept skirts, and long legs – I thought I’d give suchpainting a try – at least partially. Some years ago, I taught an entire online digital painting course focused on the great painters of pin up. I have many photo references taken more than 10 years ago while attending a photography competition in Nevada. A bunch of us hired a couple models and went into the desert to do a photo shoot. This is the first oil painting I’ve created from one of those references. I find all portrait paintings challenging, however, In this case, I was even challenged by the blouse! I completely repainted her blouse 6 times – not just changing it a little each time, but totally. I altered the style of brush strokes, style of texture,the shape of the blouse, the color – everything. Ultimately, the simpler I made it the better. Hope you enjoy my pin up. There is someone out there who very much reminds me of a pin up girl. The red dress you were wearing would have been perfect.

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Cutie Pie

Cutie Pie 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I’m finding that when I allow young children to pose themselves, they often do a remarkable job. I love his adorable pose. There aren’t words to instruct him to do this. The fact is, I was shooting a wedding 18 years ago, when I saw him. I ask him if I could photographed him. I saved this image in a special folder for that long – the folder is titled “portraits to be painted”.

Famous and brilliant artist Richard Schmidt said that one should always place a spot of red somewhere in a painting. That’s why, I added the little red label looking thing on his sleeve. I didn’t want to make it too red but the color spot does make a difference. Most of the time – I forget. Hope you enjoy. Have a wonderful weekend. Winifred

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The Weight of the World

The Weight of the World – Figurative Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

I painted this portrait during the time of the Tokyo Olympic Games. It portrays an emotion of the almost unbearable, whether it be sheer exhaustion, pain, sadness, defeat or even in the case of Simone Biles, “the twistees”. I’m sure this was an emotion that many of the athletes experienced at one time or another, as we all have in our lives.

As far as Simone Biles is concerned, I’m very proud of her decision to limit her performances in order to take care of mental and physical self. I hope we are all able to grow to to do the same.

I took many photos of this young lady with the intention of adding to my photo reference collection. I have many beautiful portraits of her. They are NORMAL beautiful portraits. Somehow, for reasons I cannot remember, I saw her hands go up to her face. It was not a pose I had created – not sure how it happened but I ask her immediately to repeat the action. I saw something special in it and more importantly I FELT something. Though I otherwise have some stunning photos of her, I immediately knew this was the pose I wanted to paint. It was so full of emotion. Hope you enjoy. Winifred

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Portrait Slight Smile

Slight Smile – Oil Painting 9×12 Traditional Oil on Panel

Slight Smile – Oil Painting Portrait by Winifred

Did I ever tell you how difficult it is to paint portraits with accuracy of image likeness. Well, it really is difficult. There are so many nuances of tonal values, of color, techniques designed to tell you what moves forward and what’s in back and how the planes of the face turn. Spending 40 to 50 hours on a portrait is the usual.  It is intricate and the detail can be tedious – if the portrait is in anyway realistic.  At the same time I marvel when one is complete and I know I have done my very best.  With each painting there is something I learn and can take into the next painting.  No matter how difficult, I always look forward to the next.

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