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.

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope Oil Painting 12×16 by Winifred Whitfield

That’s what a friend said when she saw this painting. Perhaps she was referring to the light hitting the peony petals, but for me it has two meanings, as we hopefully we soon move toward the end of this election – and hopefully with Trump gone!

I created another peony painting this past week – below – but it no longer exist.

Three Peonies. Only digital file remains. By Winifred

I broke the panel and threw it away. I have a bit of regret, I must say. I think I should take a couple days at least before I do these impulsive things – but I won’t dwell on it. One really cannot SEE a painting clearly if it is completed in a day. One is far too close to it at that time. I couldn’t see fully the merits or the faults. It’s pretty amazing what one does see a couple days later – or perhaps a week later when you’ve moved a bit past the “touchup” and “fix it” mode. It’s a very different experience – but at the time – I felt the need to break something!! The peonies in this painting are actually pretty well done. So I will make this a rule for myself – WAIT.

Obviously flowers are my subject matter of choice. I didn’t know this would be the case when I began to paint. The fact is that flowers are colorful and joyful. Who doesn’t like to receive a bouquet of flowers! I’m painting happiness and given so many of the policies and practices in this country – I need it! Hope you’re having a good week. May MY candidates win!! Winifred

Finally Peonies

Peonies in the Sun – Oil Painting 12×12 by Winifred Whitfield

Peonies are so beautiful and have such an abundance of petals and complexity – they have long been an intimidating subject matter. But, I decided it was time to take the challenge. I started with the violet poppy, the last image on the page, because it has a similar shape and structure – but fewer petals. Next I painted the Peony you see just below this one. Each time I painted, the process became less arduous. I’m actually looking forward to the next. Practice and I understand the creation of “muscle” memory play a part in creating confident brushstrokes. For sure, I remember when I looked at some YouTube demos on painting peonies, and had no clue how the painter was forming the shapes and petals. At this time, I can hardly remember that feeling. It’s encouraging to know and to expect that if I do my job – I will move forward.

Peonies 1 – Oil Painting 12×12 by Winifred Whitfield
Violet Poppy Oil Painting 12×12 by Winifred

Dance of the Sunflowers

Dance of the Sunflowers 16×20 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I wonder if it’s apparent why I chose this name for the painting. If it’s not apparent, it doesn’t really matter. If it is apparent, it just adds a little delight. I don’t think I told you that I didn’t plant sunflowers this summer. I thought I’d skip a year given the massive plantings the two summers previously. Plus, it’s best for the soil. But wouldn’t you know it – in the container closest to the street, a volunteer appeared. It grew and grew. Then it began to bud. Not just one flower appeared but 20 at least, up and down the stem.

I’ve had sunflowers stalks with multiple flowers on the stem before, but nothing like this. It seemed to make up for the absence of all the others. It’s abundant show is over now and just a couple days ago, I removed its tall strong stem. This painting is my memory. It had grown in a pot containing strawberries which are featured in the painting as well. The apple played no part of my growing season, I just thought it was a nice element of design. I enjoyed the sunflower showing up like that – quite a surprise. It was the unplanned child! Hope you enjoy! Winifred

Potted Red Geranium with Bocopa

Potted Red Geranium with Bacopa Oil Painting – 11×14 by Winifred

I’ve seen so many paintings of potted geraniums. Most often the plant is in a clay pot with a watering can next to it, perhaps in front of an old shed. You’ve seen those. Now I’ve painted my version with a simple background. In addition to the bright red geraniums, I love the accent of the Bacopa with it’s tiny white cluster of petals. Many people don’t know this plant but it is a wonderful, profusely blooming water loving plant that does well in containers, hanging baskets and even as a ground cover. There’s always some growing in my containers and one always finds it in bloom. I skipped using a clay pot, though I do love them. It’s a classic image item. I decided to use a ceramic pot instead. I’ve had this pot for a while but couldn’t plant in it because it didn’t have a drainage hole. Finally I saw a YouTube video that showed how to drill holes in glass, ceramic or clay pots. I immediately purchased diamond drill bits and put holes in all kind of glass containers. Anyway, this allowed me to grow a geranium in my pot. By the way, I propagated 14 new geraniums, last fall and they’re are all currently in bloom. The geranium I propagated is a different kind of geranium from this one with a very different color and petals. You’ll see it at some point.

Have a wonderful week and I hope this brings you cheer. I know – it kind of feels like Christmas. Winifred

Related Images:

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.