About Winifred Whitfield

I'm a digital painter. Portrait painting is my speciality. I am a professional photographer portrait photographer. I love to paint. I can paint with or without the use of photographs - depending upon client needs. I create both portrait and fine art paintings.

Venice – Crescent Moon and Sparkling Lights

I found the dramatic patterns of light so beautiful – from the moon to the rippling reflections in the canal. Set against centuries old buildings with a dark silhouetted skyline – that for me is the whole story.

Crescent Moon and Sparkling Light Oil Painting 16×20 Linen Panel by Winifred Whitfield

Melting Flowers

Melting Flowers Oil Painting 12×16 on Panel – by Winifred Whitfield

Melting: It happened without thought. I wanted to soften the edges a bit. It started on the red flower side. When I got to the bottom I dragged the brush down just a little further and I liked it. I dragged it longer – even better. I was entering new territory. I decided to just go for it – wherever it would take me – it didn’t matter what would happen – and this was the result. Pretty fun.

I corrected several paintings this week. That felt good – they’ve been accumulating in my studio. It’s unsettling for me after I “see” more clearly to just leave a painting in this state. For one painting it was a 3rd iteration of correction but it is truly better now and it is a paining that I value, hence worth the effort.

In a couple days, I will post a new VENICE painting – perhaps 2. Hope you’re staying safe and finding a way to enjoy your increased “at home time”. Winifred

Daydreaming

“Daydreaming” Oil Painting 9×12 Oil on Linen – by Winifred Whitfield

I’ve loved this photo for a long time now and it was time for this painting. The photo reference was by photographers Art and Daphne Carlyle who travel and do many projects for Rotary International. They shared many of their photos with me and I appreciate being allowed to use them in paintings from time to time. Gradually, I’m getting some figurative work done. This is a little Guatemalan girl. I adore her seated position – especially her little left arm and hand tucked beneath her. I can just imagine it – such a kid thing to do.

In addition to the painting which takes place in my studio – I have 3 bins of composting worms – “red wigglers”, busy making what gardeners refer to as “black gold” which is worm poop! There is no unpleasant oder, in fact, it has a fresh smell – like the forest. I’m in the process of separating the worms from the castings. I would show you a photo but it would likely gross you out. I have several thousand worms in the 3 tote sized bins – the kind you find at Home Depot. They’re my pets. I’ve gone from camels to worms – and you thought my paintings were diverse!! See you in a few days. Winifred

A Bit of Cheer

A Bit of Cheer Oil Painting 9×12 Panel – by Winifred Whitfield

I decided it is a perfect time to post a cheerful floral. It’s such a strange time in out lives. This is a bit different style of painting for me, loose and simple. I think I’ll do more. One interesting side about this painting is that whereas in the painting, the vase is actually turquoise green – looking like the beautiful turquoise of the ocean in Hawaii for instance, it is not blue as shown here. I couldn’t capture the actual color with my camera where the color space is more limited – same with my computer monitor. The other colors are pretty accurate – just not the turquoise. I’m sure no one cares about this but me. SIGH! Have a great week and please stay safe. Winifred

Mainly Foliage

Foliage and Vines Oil Painting on 9×12 Panel – by Winifred

It’s been nearly 2 years since I created both the paintings I’m sharing today. I found this painting a bit odd and it probably is, hence I hesitated to share it. But for me it has stood the test of time and I have no desire to toss it and I toss paintings pretty easily if I cannot enjoy them. In the above painting, I enjoyed the process of creating the vine foliage form, dimension, texture, color and movement. I find it interesting to view. Still, It’s a bit unusual but I think it has merit. Below, I primarily painted foliage again:

Foliage in Brass Oil Painting on 9×12 Panel – by Winifred

For some reason I think I wrongly consider foliage insufficient as painting content – though in fact there are many other elements included in this still life. It’s just the mind attempting to undermine my efforts, as it does sometimes, but I held onto this painting because in fact, I know better.

I’ve been working on a new painting from a Venice reference. It’s 16×20 which takes more effort to paint and to resolve it’s issues. Perhaps I can share it next week. Please stay safe as we navigate through this Coronavirus event.

Little Girl with Her Rocks

Girl with Her Rocks Oil Painting 9×9 by Winifred

I’d prepared 16×20 linen panel to paint next. My subject matter would be a little girl at the edge of a lake sitting amongst rocks. I thought it might be a good idea to create a smaller painting to work out the colors and design. This is the initial painting for what will likely be a larger painting. This painting was created on a very textured panel which was great in some ways and challenging in others. A linen covered panel would give the painting a different look. Not positive the larger panel will ever happen – but maybe.

Below: While trying to include more portraits and figurative paintings back into my work – I just can’t leave my florals. I find them relaxing and expressive in a different way. Below, I explored a different color palette and painting style which evolved during the course of this painting.

Colorful Roses Oil on Panel 12×12 by Winifred

As usual, I didn’t know what this painting would become when I started. It was to be a quick playtime painting. It started very simply, using the shapes and flower placement from a photo.

Below: The next day, I rejected the flower design and I could only look at it and think “so what”. I took it back into the studio. I also didn’t care for the stack of three flowers, top to bottom on the right nor the squeezed in look of the small flower left/adjacent the 3 right stacked flowers. The foliage wasn’t what I wanted either. I might have toss or wipe down this painting panel but sometimes I challenge myself to resolve the problems.

Above: This is also a much paler looking painting than is normal for me. Though I find the color palette attractive, I am uncomfortable/bored – particularly with the light background .

Below: In my next draft. I altered the flower placement and added color and expressive strokes. I found the new colors interesting – I enjoyed the expressive strokes but not the color or strokes on the left. “What is that”? Still I’m in the playful and experimental mode – a very important place to spend time and effort. Overall, this draft remained unacceptable.

Below, the “maybe” final painting with many concerns resolved. I enjoy the background’s broken colors and impressionist strokes. There are small things I may still alter a bit but I can look at this painting now without “grimacing”. Hope you enjoyed this little journey. Winifred

Colorful Roses Oil on Panel 12×12 by Winifred

Beads in Her Hair

Beads in Her Hair – 12×16 oil on linen panel – by Winifred

It’s been a year and a half since I painted a portrait. I decided I needed to paint portraits again before I forgot how – though I’m not sure if there is such a thing. I actually think any kind of painting leads to the same place – a more practiced and competent painter – but just in case I decided it was time. I opened my “to paint folder” to make a photo selection. I encountered this little girl a couple years prior, sitting inside a large shopping cart as her mom pushed her about while grocery shopping. She was wearing a pink dress with sparkling white beads in her hair. I ask her mom if I could photograph her. I promised her mom I would send her a digital file of the photo I took and I did. I then put the file away, not sure I would ever paint it.

When I began the painting, I envisioned a simple head and shoulders portrait with a plain background. I knew the beads in her hair would give the painting a certain pop! Below is an earlier unfinished stage of the painting and it was the stopping place for day one.

Early unfinished phase 1 of the painting without even simple background complete.

The following day, I painted a simple golden toned background with a bit of color variation and a bit of texture – different from what you see above. I also formed her arms more correctly and changed from the stark white beads – a judgement call – to more painterly beads. I placed the completed phase 1 painting where I could look at it for a while and thought – I DON”T THINK SO! The slouch was awkward against the plain background and bothered me.

I decided to give her a red chair because people often slouch in a chair – this helped. At the end of that painting day, however, I still wasn’t satisfied. I decided the background had to change to something more colorful and interesting. I went through my files, found a simple floral pattern, and used it, generally, as a background reference.

Adding this color, tones and shapes gave me what I wanted. These changes occurred over several days as my vision of the portrait evolved. It’s so much easier and faster to complete a painting if I have all the information and elements in the reference photo from the beginning – but in this case it was a “shopping cart”. It’s a good exercise to work this way, however, as it is an exercise in expanding ones creativity.

Portraits are complex and can be very tedious. This portrait was complex but was actually enjoyable and I will be creating them more often.

Portrait of Despair

Portrait of a Woman in Despair – 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I painted this portrait a couple of years ago to reflect how I often feel in this political environment of the Trump Presidency which emboldens racism and sexism. In my opinion, this country is moving backwards. There is a lack of dignity in the office of the president, lack of humanity, lack of respect for people of color and lack of respect for other people who lack means and hope which includes many of his white followers – I find this appalling. I fluctuate between despair and rage! I wanted to create a portrait which reflected this. The next post will be a portrait of a young girl which I’m currently painting and flowers!!

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Venice Italy – Walking in the Rain

Three Men Three Umbrellas 12×16 Oil on Panel

I enjoyed taking photos of life in Venice – mostly, I loved images of people with their colorful umbrellas walking in the rain. I’ve created many paintings from them which no doubt will continue. The painting above is new. I I liked the varied focus and directions of the walkers, but all with umbrellas which unified the scene. The two paintings below were painted a few months ago but I was not happy with them.

As with relationships, some paintings become stronger over time, while others become weaker. I substantially altered the two paintings below after I looked at them for a while. I often post an image of a painting immediately after I first paint it – not a really good idea. I need to place a painting convenient to glance at it for a week or so before deciding if it’s really finished. It makes a HUGE difference to do this. Some paintings might require only minor adjustments, others major. There are other paintings I scrap completely and sand down the panels for in the future.

Two Ladies – One Red Umbrella 12×16 Oil on Panel by Winifred Whitfield

Often there is no rain actually visible in my reference photo. It is often only the reflections on the pavement and big umbrellas which signal there is rain. In the painting above, I decided to paint more visible indications of rain.

The reference photo for the painting below was very calm with the subject walking past a smooth pink building wall. I wanted to shift to a higher energy. I added the white drips to the big blue umbrella edge, kicked up raindrops in the pavement and added lots of texture and movement throughout. It’s much more colorful and fun.

Blue Umbrella in Murano Italy 12×16 Oil Painting – by Winifred Whitfield

Comments: Some of you make a comment about a painting. I always reply but I’ve recently been told that you can’t see my responses and do not receive notification of my reply. I was also asked how you can access the comment section of the blog. I will inform Jon about this to see how this might be managed. Thank you for your interest. Winifred

Venice Italy – Gondola Under Canal Bridge

Couple in Gondola Under Canal Bridge – 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

The reference image I took and used for this painting, I found to have a very different look from most Venice canal oil paintings. One reason is that it was taken of a gondola under a bridge – not out in open daylight on the canal. I looked at many other images online, there are thousands and thousands of them but I saw nothing like this one. Another reason I like it is that it has a portrait look to it – as well as looking rather stifly posed. It reminds me of Grant Wood’s portrait of the man and his daughter with the pitch fork – we all know it. My painting is actually not posed. I found the light and warm colors of the wood mooring pretty and loved the glow of outside light hitting the ceiling of the bridge – all of which give it a rather vintage look. These are the first water waves I’ve ever attempted. Not too bad! It’s my first Gondola painting also. I have many other canal images I can choose from for future paintings – many very nice images but nothing else quite like this one.

It’s not an excuse when I tell you that most often the digital files I post just don’t do the actual paintings justice at all – particularly when there are a great deal of texture/hence tiny detail in the panel and painting. The files looks more pixelated. Smooth paintings photograph and present much more accurately and attractively – but I love texture so I struggle with it. I’ve done the best here I can do. This painting represents a finished first draft. I have more work to do. I will wait a week and come back to it. At that time needed changes will just jump off the page. I also think I will give the driver an often seen sunhat and add stripes to his shirt. I’ll let you know if I make significant changes. Thanks for viewing. Winifred