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.

The Beginning of Fall Color

Hydrangeas in Fall Oil Painting 16×20 – by Winifred Whitfield

I cut these hydrangeas from a large bush last week in a friends yard in Seattle. The flower heads were huge and most were beginning to dry on the bush. Hydrangeas turn many beautiful colors in fall. I didn’t try to capture that color exactly, instead opting for the blues, purples and reds of early summer – mainly because I already had the several gradients of paint colors mixed that I need for blues, purples, greens and reds. I’ll do the other colors some other time.

Believe it or not, I still have more to do on my mom’s portrait. I saw a problem with her nose and I need to correct it. Overtime, something new might reveal itself to me, and I’ll keep making the corrections until I feel it’s all done. Have a wonderful week.

Another black man was killed in May around the same time as the George Floyd killing. The police lied, said death was due to a drug overdose. Now the video and documents reveal a major cover up by the entire police department and I believe the District Attorney as well. He had been suffocated. I want this to end.

I’ll miss Ruth Bader Ginsburg – a great lady – a great Supreme Court Judge.

Related Images:

Hydrangeas and More

Hydrangeas in Watering Can. Oil Painting 16×16 on Panel – by Winifred Whitfield

It’s cloudy and the air is harmful to breathe in my town of Poulsbo,WA and in the entire Seattle area. I awoke to a golden cloudy sky – not a good sign. I content myself with painting pretty flowers.

We’re headed out of summer, though summer in art never ends.

Mother’s Portrait

Mother – Oil Painting 16×20 on Linen Panel – by Winifred Whitfield

It was Mother’s Day 2014 when I took this last photo of my mom. She passed some months later. She holds the roses she’d received; she’s wearing the sly smile so familiar and the little diamond necklace, but otherwise the details have been altered. It was difficult to paint this portrait , to be able to look at it and to recognize and to “feel” the person, whom I loved and who loved me all my life.

She was a great lady. She taught first grade for 40 years and loved it. I was a child when she went away to school several summers completing a few courses each year, working toward, then completing a Masters Degree in Education. That prompted me to decide I would get 2 Masters Degrees – though not in education. I didn’t know at the time how fortunate I was. My parents always owned a home and two cars. Her parents always owned a home as well. I always knew I would be well supported and my education would be paid for. I took this security for granted. I thought at the time it normal to complete high school and then college as prerequisite to even thinking about a job. It’s funny, but actually a little sad that my first job was with a State Employment Security Division, Youth Opportunity Center, whose sole purpose was finding jobs for teenagers. I could not understand why the high school grads and drop outs were looking for work; they hadn’t finished college! I learned about lifestyles very different from mine. Within a year or so, I headed to grad school.

My mom provided me with unconditional love and support. Without limitation, I was told I could be anything I wanted to be. Race was not even discussed as a limitation. My self esteem has always been in tact. Without exception, I saw and still see segregationist and racist, as very ignorant people. I was born in the South but it doesn’t matter – racism is and always has been everywhere in this country. To judge by skin color really is pretty stupid. With my mom, I always felt I had a safety net.

I loved my mom. I miss her, but all that she did and all that she gave continues to live on.

Purple Cone Flowers

Purple Cone Flower 1 Oil Painting – 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

I started the seeds for these flowers last spring. They are called Purple Cone Flowers, and more formally, ECHINACEA. I bet you’ve heard of this flower. They are in the daisy family – wouldn’t you know! I was surprised when I looked on the back of the seed package and it said “time to bloom – 2 years”. That’s the moment I realized these were perennials and it was going to take awhile before I could enjoy them. So I cared for the small plants looking forward to the joy they would bring in the subsequent year. I planted some in several containers and they are blooming beautifully this summer. The painting above is the more “tight” and dramatic of the two paintings. I enjoy the shapes and the pattern of the light. I love them equally. They have different characteristics. I would not want to have to choose. Below is the painting with greater personality, in my opinion. It’s more flirty and free.

Purple Cone Flower 2 Oil Painting – 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

This last one was more fun to paint. It was the second of the paintings and I took the pressure off myself. I’m definitely finding value in painting and image more than once. I endeavor to play with some new product or technique, experimenting as I go and I loosen up. I think I’ll paint one more Ecninacea in a garden scene kind of way – without the vase. I’ve not created my reference photo for that yet.

Have a great day. Winifred Whitfield

Last Daisies of Summer

I decided to create one more daisy painting before I moved on and I’m glad I did. I was able to create an entirely different daisy painting style, one that gave me more color, more depth and softer more fluffy feeling flowers. It ‘s actually less realistic than actual daisies and my previous daisies (just scroll back one post to see). These are a bit more loose and artful. This doesn’t mean I like the others any less. I want to have a wide variety of tools and techniques at my disposal. Of course, the painting didn’t start out this way. I thought I had finished before I got to this stage. Below you see what I considered my initial finished painting – silly me!

I liked the fact that these daisies were so loose and fluffy. That was an accomplishment within itself. The values were good – (lights and darks) I was done with painting – so I thought. Fortunately, I had a problem loading the images to my site – in fact my site wasn’t working at all. I contacted Jon Munson, intae@jntae.com who maintains my site – whom I would highly recommend if you have any problem with a website – really. It’s been 10 years and he has never failed me once! Well, he took care of the problem. In the interim, I had time to keep looking at the initial painting and my irritation grew. That’s how it happens with me. I can move from satisfaction to irritation in a fairly short time. I thought I would only work to add warm and cool colors in the highlight and shadow areas. I very much liked the texture of the flowers. Without explaining in detail, you can see the result. A lot happened. It’s been a few days now and I remain ok with it. It’s a good sign when I don’t want to go back and “fix” something. In one of my last post, I returned to the painting and removed the strawberries!

I’m very close to finishing my mom’s portrait. Only the dress color remains unresolved. Sometimes I like it other times not. I hope to share it with you soon.

The police continue to shoot Black men. Seven bullets in the back!!!

Painting Daisies in Oil

Daisies in Vase on Table cloth – Oil Painting 9×12 – by Winifred Whitfield

I think daisies are taken for granted. You plant them and they grow. They might even show up voluntarily and still grow and thrive. They grow along the side of the road. I’ve always liked them. They feel like a “smile” when I see them. I picked some from my garden, selected a few different vases and photographed them. I decided to give them some overdue attention – from a painting perspective. In the above painting, it also gave me the opportunity to show off a recently acquired vase from my tenant, the Poulsbo Antique Shop, which specializes in antique glassware primarily.

Daisies with Strawberries and Fallen Flower – Oil Painting – 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

My primary objective in creating these paintings was to show depth in the flowers and overall depth in the bouquet. Ultimately I think I was successful and I like the above painting as much as I do the very top painting. Daisies have virtually no foliage along the upper flower stem, hence, if I want to embedded them in green, I would have to find foliage to place with the flowers – or create it from imagination.

Practice 2 – Daisy painting. Practice 1 I deleted!!

I took the imagination route, which also provided an opportunity for more foliage variation and lively brushstrokes. It’s a bit scary doing this because it is random and you aren’t sure exactly what you’re going to get, though relieved if it works well. I didn’t want to stick to realism. To be effective however, I would have to be comfortable with varying colors, light and shadow consistent with creating the depth and dimension I wanted to achieve. It was actually fun and challenging to take garden white daisies and give them so much color and variation in this process.

The process has been interesting. I learned a lot. I tried different processes and techniques in each. Now I want to create painting which incorporates what I learned overall.

Since Last time I posted, my garden has become beautiful – my neighbors all tell me so – though primarily constructed with containers. In the middle of my garden I placed a new BLACK LIVES MATTER sign. Actually. I have one on the front balcony as well. I’m the only African American in the homeowners association where I live, but another women has a sign in her front yard as well. She was told by an HOA board member she should take it down, people might think she is against the president. I told her I am completely against the president but that has nothing to do with my sign. I indicated to her that I’m pretty sure no one is going to request that I remove my sign and I wouldn’t anyway – she didn’t either.

During my absence, the past month and ahalf, I’ve also attempted to complete an oil portrait of my mom, who is no longer with us. It’s a 3/4 portrait which includes hands and a dozen roses, chair arms and more. The reference is from a photo taken on mothers day perhaps 6 years ago. I have’ve not yet succeeded in capturing the expression I remembered and felt. I needed to take a break from the portrait but I will soon continue. I’m happy with most of it – even with her hands – but not yet wit her face and sly smile – which I had to force out of her!

Bye for now, wear a mask and distance when possible. This country under the current leadership and policy direction is still “growing infections” in the population. Far less developed countries are doing SOOOOO much better. So sad.

Lady on a Bench in Brooklyn

Masked Woman on Red Bench – Oil Painting 9×12 – by Winifred

I created the photo reference for this painting some years ago when in New York. It was photographed from my 3rd story studio apartment window, across the street from Prospect Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – who also designed Central Park. I was bi-coastal at the time – I lived in Poulsbo, WA as well. On this day, this lady sat on the dark green bench, partly shaded by a big tree. I was intrigued. There she sat, with her hands folded in her lap – at a bus stop, with her luggage next to her. She sat and she waited.

I decided to make this image more current. I now portray her waiting for a bus, during the time of still high number of infections and number of deaths from Corvid 19. She also has a flyer in her hand for a protest in New York. You can see a date on the edge of the bench 5.25.20. This date intersects Covid 19 and the time of massive protest against police brutality in 50 states and many countries in the world. The painting included elements of a great little story, which I almost made up to accompany the painting – but I decided not to. So many questions: Where is she going with her luggage? Is she going or returning? How/what is she feeling? Will she attend the protest? We can create our own answers, our minds enjoy filling these blanks.

I hope you’ve had a good week and weekend. It’s wonderful that finally, we’re building a multi cultural and multi racial coalition to bring the phrase “life and liberty for all” to fruition. It’s a change which must include, structural and economy change. I hope you will participate in expanded consciousness, in words and in deed. I wish you well. Winifred

Rest In Peace George Floyd

Rest In Peace George Floyd

Rest In Peace now George Floyd. Rest In Peace in the Arms of Your Loving Mother. The world heard the cries from your suffering and torture, witnessed your murder and we won’t let them get away with it.  Know now that your death will not be in vain, as through our anger and pain, a new generation has arisen to experience the power of protest against injustice, indignity, exploitation and racism. Rest In Peace George Floyd.  You’ve inspired renewed struggle and resolve. Rest In Peace George Floyd, you may join your Mother – your work is done. You will live in our hearts and memories forever. We mourn. Date of this Police Killing, May 25, 2020. There are so many more!! 

Please NO comment about the painting. You may comment about the state of racism in this country and the world if you so desire. I have known and/or experienced racism, directly and indirectly in this country all my life. I always considered prejudiced or racist people stupid people and I never listened to their attempts to demean or to limit me – but always sought to claim my best life. I have been fortunate in education, finances, family and self esteem. I can honestly say, however, that as a Black person in this country, I have never felt so targeted as unworthy and inferior as under the Trump administration. He must be removed! He is an embarrassment, a liar, immoral and dangerous.

We cannot be silent! To be silent is to be complicit. I don’t plan to turn this into a political forum. I wanted this to be a place to share my painting journey – but, this week – “my cup runneth over”. So many tears – so much sadness and pain. Winifred Whitfield

Pandemic Losses – Going Home

Pandemic Losses Going Home 12×16 Oil Painting – by Winifred

I felt compelled to create a painting which reflected some aspect of the pandemic which largely dominates our lives. I chose to focus on the loss of life. The elements of this painting were born in my imagination – scary huh!! I have never painted a story from imagination before. It’s a visual story which you may describe in any way you want. It has to stand on it’s on. I’m discovering more about my mind all the time. I’m pleased. There may be those who are horrified. That’s okay too. I have flowers for you. In the above painting, I am particularly pleased with the movement, design and flow, the color palette and the mood established. Painting this was quite an experience. My objective is not just to do pretty or happy paintings.

Roses Not Fully Open – 11×14 Oil Painting – By Winifred

I make products to mix with my oil paints to give texture to my paintings, when that’s what I want. For this floral painting, I used a mixture I’ve not used before and I like the results. The vase is so luminous. There will be more.

Well my containers are growing well – lots of strawberries, kale – and for the first time cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, parsley, mustard greens, and more – easy stuff. Of course there are lots of flowers also. I hope you’re having a good week, it whatever form it takes. Nothing is like it use to be. My biggest news is I returned my worms to the worm farmer I got them from. She was happy to have them back. Vermicomposting was a great experience. I found myself sad the following day – I missed my red wigglers.

Colorful Abstract Floral

I hope this painting brings you a bit of cheer today!

Colorful Abstract Floral 12×12 Impasto Oil Painting by Winifred

My paintings have a life of their own, no matter what I have in mind – but I love the process of getting wherever I’m going. This was fun and I certainly enjoy the color, the shapes and the texture. I can also find fault with this painting. I pointed out to a friend who saw it, that there might be too much difference between the painting style of the flowers and that of the very modern and abstract style of the remainder of the painting. Fortunately, she disagreed. She thinks it’s perfect!! I was considering scraping off the vase and painting a more traditional vase. I reserve the right to do so in the future if it REALLY starts to bother me. You might think, why not just change the style of the flowers? Well, the flowers are far more complex to paint than a vase – that’s why!

I recently made quite a bit of the product I mixed with my paint to get this texture. I have 3 different formulas left to try – though you likely wouldn’t notice the difference in them. So, you’ll likely see lots of impasto in the near future.

I’m planning on painting something very bazaar this week. I’ve done a loose sketch. We’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile have a great week. Winifred