About Winifred Whitfield

I'm an oil painter and a digital painter. Portrait painting is my speciality. I love painting still lifes as well. I'm also a professional portrait photographer.

Man from Guatemala Reading

Guatemalan Man Reading Oil Painting 16×20 by Winifred Whitfield

In the not to distant future I’ll show you why I’ve been so distracted from my post, but I did manage to finish this painting which I like quite a lot. I forgot to photograph this painting before framing it but that’s okay. This ends or at lease puts a pause in my Guatemalan series of paintings. It was fun. Thanks to Daphne and Art Carlyle for the reference photos. Hope everyone is enjoying their Spring/Summer. I certainly am. Winifred

Rays of Light

Golden Rays of Light 16×20 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I had hoped to have my “Guatemalan Man” painting completed to post today but I’ve been so busy framing a large number of paintings to finally hang on my walls. Actually, friends who are good at that kind of thing are coming over to help – in fact, coming over to lead the effort. That’s why I’ve not finished the “man’s” painting. I want to, I really like it quite a lot. I’ll post it soon.

I think this this floral has good energy in it’s expressive petal strokes. I like the way it “feels”and looks. I hope you enjoy it. It’s framed in a 5 inch wide antique frame I purchased at an estate sale recently which gives it lots of presence. There was a wonderful beveled glass mirror in the frame which I removed. It’s just perfect. I don’t intend to begin a new still life for awhile.

Figurative and Abstraction

Lady Carrying Load – Guatemala 16×12 Oil Painting by Winifred

There was no abstraction in the photo reference. It was a normal street scene with a building in the background, a door, a window, a street and a curb. Originally I painted this. The photo was interesting, but in the painting those street/building elements were not working design wise as I had painted them. I decided it would be a better choice to eliminate them. I wiped those elements from my panel, leaving some rough drying brush marks and the color changes I’d made to the background. It turned out the removed elements had not been essential to my focus – the woman carrying the load on her head. I added some additional brushstrokes to enhance the abstraction, the painting was was done and I liked it. Quite by accident I’d created an urban street scene abstraction or what might remind me sadly of war torn Gaza as a background. (Photo reference by Daphne and Art Carlyle).

There will be one more painting from a Guatemalan photo reference and I’ll be done with that series. It will be a man.

Phone Conversation

Guatemalan Woman Having a Phone Conversation 16×20 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Another enjoyable painting. I particularly enjoyed interpreting the reference photo I used. It’s fun to work out new patterns and colors or lack thereof. That’s the challenge and creativity for me – not painting what I see – looking at a photo and painting something different. Most often, I don’t share the reference but on this occasion – for no particular reason, I will. Initially I painted the large bag with stripes. That was good but I kept seeing RED – so I painted out the stripes and gave her a large red bag. I’m not sure a Guatemalan woman would ever use a solid colored cloth. I have never seen such in a photo.

One of the things I most like about the reference image is the shape of her body and the bag within the space. It’s pretty much a diamond shape with the point of her hat and the point of her feet. I also found the window bars interesting. I kept them but chose to soften their impact overall and enhance the impact of the little phone since that’s the story.

Starting with photography, then digital art, portraits are my foundation. 6 months into oil painting I was creating client portraits. Those are seriously hard work. Currently, I’m working to be more casual and loose in style and loving that. It’s particularly fun when I don’t have to create a likeness.

Well, we’re beginning to peel off the mask. YEAH! Have a great weekend. Don’t forget, comments are off but all emails and messages are welcome. Winifred

Guatemalan Woman at Market

Guatemalan Woman at Market Reading with Flowers and Apples 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I enjoyed creating this painting – even re imagining various of from the photo. I loved the photo also, however. It was taken in 2014 by Art and Daphne Carlye during their travel. I have used their photos before but I feel that I’m just getting started. The original photo included 3 Guatemalan women at a flower market – no apples – the basket was empty and there was an empty blue bucket as well, and a different arrangement of the flowers. Initially, I thought I might paint all three women in the same painting and some day I might. At this time, that was just more painting than I wanted to do.

Before I did the figurative painting above, I painted the pears below – just to push and pull some paint around in a certain way with my paint brush. Can you see it?

Three Cool Pears Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

There are so many ways to “make marks” on a canvas and it is important to pay attention to and to master a wide range of possibilities which allows my painting to be versatile.

There are too frequently weeks when I certainly I paint, but emotionally I cannot post because it feels so trivial to talk about painting in the midst of all the acts of hate, violence and racism which we all see constantly. I feel so inundated by it. Some day, I will create art which speaks back and at that time I will feel my art has a meaningful purpose. Right now, I’m just building skills.

BLOG COMMENTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. I love hearing from you and receiving your encouragement. So, please feel free to contact me by email anytime you like. Unfortunately BLOG COMMENTS were eliminated during a technical restructuring of this blog recently. Have a great week – until next time.

Murano Italy – Round the Corner

Around the Corner in Murano 9×12 Oil painting by Winifred Whitfield

So far I’ve created no paintings from Italy without rain and umbrellas. Umbrellas simply add something a little special – a bit of color often and an interesting shape. Raincoats also tend to be bright and colorful such as the teal blue my friend Betsy is wearing. Place this against the beautiful color and texture of buildings and pavers and it’s enticing to paint.

The Kitten and the Baby Bird

Kitten and Baby Bird Oil Painting 16×20 by Winifred Whitfield

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

The Wonder of Apples

Big Juicy Apples Oil Painting 16×12 by Winifred Whitfield

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!

Sugar Bowl, Pears, and Blue Cup by Paul Cezanne, circa 1866.

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

The Goblet and the Drop Cloth

Goblet and Drop Cloth 16×12 BW Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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

Sunflowers against Blue

Two Sunflowers on Blue Oil Painting 12×16 by 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