Portrait Paintings – Italy

The Shop Keeper – Oils – Italy

I decided I was ready to try painting portraits with oils. Color mixing and blending edges has improved tremendously.  Both task are important to portrait painting. “The Shop Keeper is my most recent painting.  

This lady was so lovely and so willing to pose to display to the camera some of her goods.  I ate some of the fresh pick fruit from the fields. OMG!! So yummy!! The photo has been substantially reinterpreted. 

Reference Image for Painting Above



This portrait I also enjoy. It’s from my “Venice at Night” series which I photographed in the rain.  This portrait, I feel. I think she is very tired. It is the emotional content of this photo which inspired the painting.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to capture the painting in the photo of the painting. I am not pleased with it’s appearance.

In the distant past, artist, almost exclusively, mixed all of their colors from very few pigments.  For both of these paintings, like artist from the past, I used only black, white, yellow and red pigments to mix the other colors you see.  I’ve learned quite a bit about mixing pigments by doing this. I’ve not been able, however to get a decent blue, which I read would occur when mixing Ivory black with Titanium White. I’ve gotten a mixture a little warmer than grey but not exactly what I was after.   No doubt it is my paint and the quality of my pigments.  Of course, I could just use one of the  several blues I own – but I just didn’t choose to. It’s been a great exercise.

Reference Image for Painting Above


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I Didn’t Want to Paint it!!

The Silver Coffee Pot

It’s been less than a month since I started my journey with oils.  I’ve learned so much with  there was so much more to know and I had questions.  I wanted assistance from a  live artist  – outside of YOUTUBE.  I contacted local artist extraordinaire Robin Weiss, a full time successful professional artist and ask if could provide some assistance. He’s a “plein air alla prima” painter. . I got to see and ask about everything. He’s been an artist for 35 years,  with a great deal of  experience and information. I purchased a studio workshop from Robin and two days later we were meeting in his studio. 


Many of my questions had not to do with putting brush to canvas, but learning how colors mix, what various paint mediums do. (Mediums are the various products available to give more spreadability, translucency, texture, thinness etc to the oil paint which is pretty dense.)  One has to learn about types of brushes available, how they perform and how to care for them.  There are various grounds to paint on, including canvas, masonite, wood etc,  including creating your own. I wanted to know his choices. 

The time I spent in our workshop was incredibly valuable.  We mixed colors – one of the single most important skills to master, we looked at the particulars of his studio setup, explored his choice of products for everything.  

On that first day, he chose to demo one of his favorite objects for this kind of practice.  He would create a demo painting, then I was to paint it.  As soon as he set up his shiny silver coffee pot, reflecting “everything in his studio”, I thought “I’m not doing this!!  He did not set up a reflective metal object with an apple or orange reflecting in it. He set the shiny silver object high in a way which reflected everything in the room!!  I said I would try it at home, but the fact is, I didn’t want to do it  – I was not inspired.  I took a few photos to take with me to try – maybe!! 

It’s not that it was too hard to paint – though certainly not easy – I just didn’t want to do it and when back home, I gave myself permission not to do this practice.  However, about 10:30 p.m. I thought I could a least do the tonal study underpainting – and reluctantly proceeded to do so.  45 minutes later, I thought “perhaps I could add a little color”……  That was the list of death.  At 1:30 a.m. I stopped painting.  It was not a final version you see here,  but the reflections, the hardest part were pretty much done. Since that time, I did completed my painting. I may make some changes to the background.

 The following day, his demo was a Seattle street scene, with several people about to cross the street. He  created a sketch, which he modified for his purpose, did an underpainting and full painting in less than 2 hours. Alas!!   I have a new assignment now, a street scene but I can relate to this and look forward to completing. Actually, I’ve decided to paint a portrait. We will see!

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Painting with Traditional Oils – Creating Still Life Paintings

Traditional Oil Still Life Paintings  

The Beginning!! You can watch me progress. I created these paintings during the past 3 weeks.  Really, oils out of tubes!!!  Some paintings have turned out better than others – no surprise!!  The first painting which you see was my first oil painting.  I  actually destroyed the canvas but kept this photo of it. Fortunately, I photograph various stages of a paintings development. This was a very early stage of  the oil painting.  I kept painting and painting until ultimately I ruined it. It was not worth the time to try to recover it – I just threw it out.  I’m glad I had such an early lesson on the detriment of overworking a painting.  

Above – My first oil painting  –  I can see plenty that’s off – but it is what it is!!

Lighting is  one of the most important aspect of creating a still life,  Having a few fun items to paint is important as well. Almost anything can be interesting if well lit. I have used both daylight and artificial light as a source. I plan to create a video showing  how I created a three sided and 4 sided “shadow box”.  It’s pretty much as easy as lying a box on it’s side and cutting out the top so light can come in – I build a shadow box which is  a bit more  substantial as well.  I then placed a light to one side of the box, so it can cast shadows for a dramatic light effect. Daylight can also serve as a beautiful light source.  I used daylight for the above painting of the orange and the pear.

I continue to enjoy lots of texture in my paintings, which I create allowing my brush to “dance” as I paint. Pretty fun. It’s all experimental at this point.  Most of these paintings are 8×10.

It also gave me practice in painting grapes. I paint almost everyday – stoping for a day only when I burnout,  before proceeding again.   It’s really difficult sometimes to get color accuracy photographing paintings – some more so than others. I enjoy the richness of the painting above – but this digital file does not reflect the color accurately.

Above – my first attempt to paint brass. I will certainly create more.


A bit muddy. Some paintings just don’t work out as you envision but one always learns something. I will post my progress regularly.

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Seasons Greetings from Winifred

Hello Fellow Artist!


Your art and creativity, makes the world a more beautiful and joyful place to live. I wish you a wonderful season of peace and reflection and the greatest of health and happiness in the New Year.  

Expand your creativity and your skills in 2017 by learning or increasing your ability to do freehand painting.  You’ve been thinking about doing so, but the idea of not having those photo pixels is a bit scary. You don’t have to give them up all at once.  You can start gradually by freehand painting only parts of the portrait – the hair or dress, for example.  You can practice altering a subjects appearance. With practice, you will gradually develop the confidence to paint a sketch or a trace of a photo or paint from imagination.  You will develop a painting style of your own.  


Above – Tutorial “Portrait Basics and Beyond”

 I enjoy allowing myself to be inspired by a variety of artist,and to create paintings in their style. but eventually, I simply return to my style of expression.  For instance, recently, I created several Alice Neel inspired portraits.  She uses a great deal of outlining in her paintings.  I practiced including this characteristic in several paintings. Personally however, I tend not to outline at all and ultimately I  returned to my personal style of painting.  You may also want to practice abstract portraits, images which are very expressive, free of features and detail, allowing for interpretation.  This is quite fun to do.  

 Developing freehand painting skills, in addition to skills you’ve already developed, will allow you to create even more creative images for your friends, family or clients.  Below are several freehand digital paintings I recently completed.

Please visit my store for Tutorials and Workshops which can assist you along your journey of creativity.  There are great sales on tutorials. Contact me if you want to purchase 3 or more for greater discounts. Workshops will be tailored  to your personal needs. 

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Painter 2017 – New Release

Interactive Gradient Tool/Express Paint

Painter 2017 is pretty great! Honestly!  I have to admit that the introduction of  Audio Technology was pretty wild when introduced in Painter 2016, and I used it not one time this past year!  I have not falling in love with Particle Brushes introduced in 2015 but they have formed the bases of some pretty great, more advanced technology – Dynamic Speckles Brushes, for example, so I cannot complain.

This new release, however, is just plain wonderful  and introduces so many new tools. It will change the way you work and support your many creative endeavors. You’re definitely going to want to explore it.  I would also suggest a “tour guide”.  Painter 2017 offers some amazing new features but they are complex on the front end. I will demonstrate some of these features over the next weeks and months. The new Palette Drawers are “to die for”!!

Also, there is a course being taught by Skip Allen at Digital Art Academy which will teach  Painter 2017 New Features “in order”.  I suggest that you take a look.  Our emphasis will be different, so there is no overlap.  The larger your pile of information, the better. Register NOW!

Did  I start at the beginning? Of course not. I start here by introducing you to my favorite – NEW FEATURE – at lease one of them. I hope you enjoy this 3 part tutorial series where I demonstrate the new Interactive Gradient Tool  used in combination with Express Paint.

Digital Pastel Painting from Observation

I’ve been enjoying painting digitally emulating traditional pastels. You’ve seem some of this work before. This time the subject matter is pretty wide. I painted baby birds, then fruits and veggies placed on a table next to my computer before transitioning to portraits using photo visual reference, even self portrait. Its been fun for sure. Below are some of the images I created.

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Winifred Whitfield Becomes Docent at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island

In Washington State, it is mandated that environmental education be provided to 4th and 5th graders – but it is not funded. When Paul Brainerd (who coined the term “desktop publishing”) sold Pagemaker to Adobe in 1996, he and his wife Debbie Brainerd used part of the proceeds to purchase a 255 acres undeveloped parcel, which with forethought in mission and detail, has become IslandWood, which opened on Bainbridge Island, WA in 2002. He also funded an endowment for scholarships and maintenance of grounds and facilities which maintains it’s pristine environment. (Wise man). The ongoing program is funded through private fundraising activities.

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I’m a proud new docent at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island WA. Along with 9 others (identified at page bottom), our eight 3 hour training sessions end March 23rd. IslandWood is an acclaimed environmental learning center which provides environmental education to approximately 4500 4th and 5th grade students each year, on its Bainbridge Island campus.

IslandWood 1Most of these students come from Kitsap County and the Seattle/King County area. IslandWood’s Student Overnight Program is a fun and learning filled 3 nights and 4 days of immersed experience designed to facilitate a consciousness and stewardship facilitating a greater interconnection to the natural and urban environment. Using the experience of observation, caring  and awareness of our interdependence, is a key theme?  Children are supported in their critical thinking to make this connection, no matter what environment they return home to.

The campus is private but public tours can be scheduled. I will be involved in conducting public and event tours. What a magnificent natural environment and amazing 70,000 sf of environmentally conscious facilities including a 16,000 s.f Welcome Center, dining hall, classrooms, dorm/overnight facilities and other structures.

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I am very please to be able to play a small roll in support of this program. The forest, bogs, pond, bird sanctuary, suspension bridge and canopy tower featured in these photos are but some of the features of the campus. The video link below provides additional info about the program.”

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Taking a lunch break – nutritious meals and snacks are served each day. Allergies and cultural food requirements are carefully managed.

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A backpack filled with outdoor essentials is provided by REI for the 3 night stay.

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There is a warm and inviting dining hall where all eat together family style. The food is delicious – I might add.

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There is abundant opportunity to explore and observe the natural forest environment – from the forest floor to the forest canopy. In addition to the forest, there is a bog, a swamp, a lake and streams – so many distinct eco systems and layers to the forest to learn about. 

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treehouse tallThis treehouse serves as an observation deck, looking out over a wetland.It is built around a tree which is 190 feet tall. You can see in the subsequent photo that it can still move and sway, even water comes through the treehouse so as not to create a dry area beneath it.

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The above photo  shows part of the interior. You can see that it is a large tree.`

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A pond teaming with water life.

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A 190 foot suspension bridge places you well above the forest floor. Click Here to see a  short video on the building of this bridge.

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Ascend the Canopy Tower to observe  the forest canopy – the equivalent of about an 11 story building – so many teaching moments here. Click here to learn more about the building of the Canopy Tower

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At the tower look out, Mary Meiser, (left), Volunteer Coordinator, shares information with docents about the forest canopy.

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Observe –  identify.

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Students in the this weeks School Overnight Program await their turn to ascend the  Canopy tower. They are very excited to do so.

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“A circle around a fire”  – but a bit more developed!!  Still, it’s a place where students meet each night  with their instructors and chaperones to sing, hear stories and reflect upon the day. Adults also use this area during scheduled events.

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Other Docents in the 2016 class, in no particular order, include: Noelle Hart, Lana Fuller. Andy Hicks, Janie, Joyce Popendorf, Bret Black, Frank Gremse, William Popendorf. Mary Meiser is the Volunteer Coordinator.

Click here to Visit the IslandWood website

Click here to watch 23 minute presentation to parents and children – what to expect at SOP – Student Overnight Program


Creative Portraits Class by Winifred

Creative Portrait Class is now open at Digital Art Academy. I am instructor for this class. It will be available for registration and enrollment through May 2016. To see a video overview of this course click hereThis promises to be a class you will love and value. Work within your skill level but explore the many creative techniques you can bring to your portrait painting. Class includes reference photos, textures, bushes, and video  tutorials you will need.  No matter your level of portrait painting experience or your portrait painting style, you will become a stronger and more creative painter.

WW Creative Portrait_001You may create a simple blender painting or a more complex freehand embellished work of art. You will become more proficient with your blending but we will also spend significant time exploring many other techniques to enhance your portrait and background.

This includes an option to practice easy but artistically painted hairstyles. You may want to paint simple sheer attire and using a layer mask add decorative elements to portrait and/or background. Images and textures are included for this process. These techniques may be used on simple blender paintings or cloned paintings. There will also be fun but instructive warm up exercises to get your creative juices flowing.

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Image below was not demonstrated in class tutorials though many of the techniques used are demonstrated.  Chair and face and all clothing embellishments  were freehand painted.


Pastel Painting and Happy New Year!

First of all, I wish you Merry Christmas or the happiest of the seasonal holiday you celebrate and Happy New Year! I wonder how you will choose to challenge yourself in 2016. There are so many levels on which we can grow and take care of ourselves.

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I plan to continue pastel paintings for some months to come as well as to study landscape painting.  I have resisted landscapes for quite a while now but have begun to find some joy in them. To create pastel paintings even digitally requires more than selecting a “pastel brush variant” in Painter to paint with.   I have studied the work of several accomplished pastellist. There are many great ones but my favorite is Karen Margulis. Her work is diverse and ranges from expressive, highly textured almost abstract looking paintings to a very classic traditional look.  I find her range of pastel paintings exciting. I probably view 50 to 100 pastel paintings per day before I begin to paint – as inspiration. The following are a few practice paintings I’ve recently created – varying in style. I think you can see what a great time I’ve been having.

I will continue to offer classes at Digital Art Academy  in 2016. I love portrait painting  and will offer a class in painting portraits with pastels, as well as other styles of fine art painting.

I wish you a wonderful year of challenge and accomplishment – including getting some rest and taking care of yourself.

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Watercolor Spring Particles – Painter 2016

Spring RWC 2 C0lThese painting examples were created with Painter 2016 Watercolor Spring Particle brush dab type using Real Wet Buildup  Sub Category. Pause diffusion was enabled and never released. If you release it, you get a different look. The link for the brush is below.

Click Here for the Brush Used

With Color Expression expressed as “pressure”, it is very important to set rather high color jitter and smoothing levels. This is what gives you the color variation and texture. Without this the colors blend and might appear very dull.

The brush is not so easy to control, but you can gain some mastery with familiarization and with practice. Give yourself extra canvas space to crop just the best part of your painting. Experiment with the Watercolor controls, the Particles Common Controls and the Spring Particles Controls to vary the brush looks. If you get a brush look you like, save the variant immediately. If you don’t save it then you will likely never see that look again – ever!!

These brushes are very sensitive to brush calibration and every other brush control slider which affects them, with each nuance movement giving you something different.