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!!
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.
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.
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
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
Not a single floral this time! At some point, and very soon, I will post the entire collection of my paintings from Venice – I have many favorites. The image above has been posted before, I am posting it now because I am sure many have not seen it, and because I don’t have a new painting ready this week. I’ve been working on 2 paintings simultaneously – and neither is complete. I’ve been slow because I wanted each layer to dry before continuing to paint and because it has been a very busy week with other matters. Below, however, you can see what I’ve started. Hopefully, I’ll get them finished next week – not sure, both have a long way to go.
There are many painters who could get to this stage rather quickly, because they paint fast – which I don’t, or they may trace a photo onto a panel, or use a projector to project an image onto a canvas to trace or even print images on canvas with a printer. I only recently learned about this. The most I use as an external aid, is to create a 9 section grid on my photo and then loosely the same grid spacing on my panel, to help me accurately place the content of my reference. Before I create the grid on the photo, I often spend a substantial amount of time creating the actual reference I want to paint. I manipulate the photo substantially to alter or adjust the photo content as I want it to appear. I adjust the location of photo elements, the size, perspective, color. Ultimately my reference photo is not the photo I start with. It is very handy to determine these things before I begin painting rather than blundering along using the original unaltered photo trying to make changes to it “on the fly”.
Below, is the sketch painting phase of my first Gondola and driver with passengers. Hopefully the reason for this choice will become clear when complete.
There are many short cuts artist can use these days in the painting process which speed them alone to galleries or clients, but I tend to stick with the long and time consuming way of doing things. It’s just my way and sometimes it is tedious. I could even add more squares to my grid, to aid in capturing the proper placement of the reference image but I prefer the practice of increasing my ability of doing this from site. You’d be surprised how challenging it is. Some day, I may speed up my processes. Bye for now. Winifred
The painting was completely from imagination – except for the cat! I couldn’t sufficiently visualize cat anatomy in the curled sleeping position. I found a photo and loosely sketched it’s form and then painted it. The flowers didn’t start out as tulips. My sketch had bulbous shapes at the end of a stem. That would have been fine also, but I began to see tulips, so tulips they became.
This still life painting was as much fun to paint as it appears. I made a sketch from imagination and then painted it. My surface is a very textured panel I created, then painted with a thin rich yellow underpainting. I mixed my other paint colors with a medium I made to thicken and strengthen the paint layer I would apply. This product would also isolate the paint layers to keep addition paint application from readily mixing thereby keeping the paint colors very rich. I could brush various colors over the underpainting and the new paint would attach only to the peaks of the panel texture – depending on brush pressure.
Another thing different about this painting is the brushes I used to create addition texture variability. Notice the kitty and the fringed rug the kitty is lying on. Normal brushes don’t easily make marks like those. I took otherwise perfectly good bristle brushes and cut/chopped the bristles to create irregular configurations. This made a big difference in brush marks throughout. I have created a whole set of these strange brushes in varying sizes and shapes. I don’t normally spend so much time talking about my paintings on my blog but I’ve done so because I find this to be such a fun joyful painting with a different kind of look. Hope you enjoy!
Roses are beautiful but complex to paint. It’s been a few months now, that I focused on painting roses. I started by painting single roses which I enjoy, but I also wanted to paint rose bouquets and to paint roses abstractly without a visual reference. This required that I understand the flower structure and be able to visualize the petals/flowers and lighting as the flower is turned.
I love the vintage tray the vase is sitting on. I purchase most of my still life elements at Goodwill or at Poulsbo Antiques. On this one occasion, I walked into Goodwill and immediately spotted this tray – actually a removable table top. You can’t see much of the tray in this painting, but it really is beautiful. It was $175.00. I had no place to use it as a table and it was far too expensive to use as an occasional still life prop – so I walked away – reluctantly. The next time I was there it was $75.00. “WOW”, I thought, but I still walked away. The next time, I was there it was $15.00!!! This item had been in the floor so long that the cashier further reduced it to $11.00. We all love a good deal!! Hope you enjoy this painting. Next week I will post a very different style of painting – for me, and painted completely from imagination – no roses involved.
I place a high value on taking chances. In fact, I don’t really believe taking chances is a risk, I believe the risk occurs if you don’t. If I choose a safe path, one I believe will keep me from “messing up my painting, for sure this will inhibit my growth. I’m thinking now about thoughts which went through my mind with these two paintings – both of which presented me with opportunities to “mess up” – but I took a chance anyway.
I don’t find it particularly difficult “to paint what I see” from a reference photo or from a still life I set up. For the most part, however, my interest is not realistic paintings – except portraits. I’m interested in “interpreting” or abstracting away from realistic visual references. This is much more interesting and exciting for me.
I find this more challenging because it means, I have to “make up things that aren’t there”. I have to eliminate part of the content which is there. I have to create elements, colors, textures which are not present. I have to make up brushstrokes which alter the surface of my reference. I might “mess up” – I often think as I commence some of my more abstracted or elaborate processes! This thought regularly enters my mind and I have to pause to “talk” to my mind about it. “You can’t mess up” – I tell my mind. In fact, I tell my mind that imagining/abstracting new content – new ways to express the elements being observed “ is its only job” – and the only way to build new skills, confidence and creativity – no matter the outcome!
I want to have ideas – receive ideas but to try not to tightly control the process expression. By doing this with each painting – even in small steps, I know my creativity and confidence grows. I believe both of the above paintings are examples of being a bit “out of control”. It doesn’t even matter whether they’re good paintings or not. The only thing that really matters to me is that I tried something new which caused some discomfort and I did it anyway. I hope to continue this practice throughout this new year.
I think the saying is – “feel the fear and do it anyway! 2020!!
I admit, this is not an image reflective of the Holidays. I thought I would have time to paint a holiday image – but I didn’t.
My painting reference is a photo I took in a Mexican restaurant in Ajijic, Mexico. I was struck by the foliage, that large leaf lit by a streak of sunlight. The chairs and tables were actually very colorful. There was a beautiful mural on the wall. Other than the mural, however, the walls were off white.
I wish you the merry and healthy holiday season, and get some rest, 2020 promises to challenge our PEACE! Winifred
I enjoy painting fruit. I don’t find it difficult at all – unlike flowers, which are far more challenging. I particularly love to paint grapes and it brought a smile when I decided at add an extra grape escaping the scene! Hope you enjoy.