Man from Guatemala Reading

Guatemalan Man Reading Oil Painting 16×20 by Winifred Whitfield

In the not to distant future I’ll show you why I’ve been so distracted from my post, but I did manage to finish this painting which I like quite a lot. I forgot to photograph this painting before framing it but that’s okay. This ends or at lease puts a pause in my Guatemalan series of paintings. It was fun. Thanks to Daphne and Art Carlyle for the reference photos. Hope everyone is enjoying their Spring/Summer. I certainly am. Winifred

Figurative and Abstraction

Lady Carrying Load – Guatemala 16×12 Oil Painting by Winifred

There was no abstraction in the photo reference. It was a normal street scene with a building in the background, a door, a window, a street and a curb. Originally I painted this. The photo was interesting, but in the painting those street/building elements were not working design wise as I had painted them. I decided it would be a better choice to eliminate them. I wiped those elements from my panel, leaving some rough drying brush marks and the color changes I’d made to the background. It turned out the removed elements had not been essential to my focus – the woman carrying the load on her head. I added some additional brushstrokes to enhance the abstraction, the painting was was done and I liked it. Quite by accident I’d created an urban street scene abstraction or what might remind me sadly of war torn Gaza as a background. (Photo reference by Daphne and Art Carlyle).

There will be one more painting from a Guatemalan photo reference and I’ll be done with that series. It will be a man.

Phone Conversation

Guatemalan Woman Having a Phone Conversation 16×20 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

Another enjoyable painting. I particularly enjoyed interpreting the reference photo I used. It’s fun to work out new patterns and colors or lack thereof. That’s the challenge and creativity for me – not painting what I see – looking at a photo and painting something different. Most often, I don’t share the reference but on this occasion – for no particular reason, I will. Initially I painted the large bag with stripes. That was good but I kept seeing RED – so I painted out the stripes and gave her a large red bag. I’m not sure a Guatemalan woman would ever use a solid colored cloth. I have never seen such in a photo.

One of the things I most like about the reference image is the shape of her body and the bag within the space. It’s pretty much a diamond shape with the point of her hat and the point of her feet. I also found the window bars interesting. I kept them but chose to soften their impact overall and enhance the impact of the little phone since that’s the story.

Starting with photography, then digital art, portraits are my foundation. 6 months into oil painting I was creating client portraits. Those are seriously hard work. Currently, I’m working to be more casual and loose in style and loving that. It’s particularly fun when I don’t have to create a likeness.

Well, we’re beginning to peel off the mask. YEAH! Have a great weekend. Don’t forget, comments are off but all emails and messages are welcome. Winifred

Guatemalan Woman at Market

Guatemalan Woman at Market Reading with Flowers and Apples 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I enjoyed creating this painting – even re imagining various of from the photo. I loved the photo also, however. It was taken in 2014 by Art and Daphne Carlye during their travel. I have used their photos before but I feel that I’m just getting started. The original photo included 3 Guatemalan women at a flower market – no apples – the basket was empty and there was an empty blue bucket as well, and a different arrangement of the flowers. Initially, I thought I might paint all three women in the same painting and some day I might. At this time, that was just more painting than I wanted to do.

Before I did the figurative painting above, I painted the pears below – just to push and pull some paint around in a certain way with my paint brush. Can you see it?

Three Cool Pears Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

There are so many ways to “make marks” on a canvas and it is important to pay attention to and to master a wide range of possibilities which allows my painting to be versatile.

There are too frequently weeks when I certainly I paint, but emotionally I cannot post because it feels so trivial to talk about painting in the midst of all the acts of hate, violence and racism which we all see constantly. I feel so inundated by it. Some day, I will create art which speaks back and at that time I will feel my art has a meaningful purpose. Right now, I’m just building skills.

BLOG COMMENTS ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. I love hearing from you and receiving your encouragement. So, please feel free to contact me by email anytime you like. Unfortunately BLOG COMMENTS were eliminated during a technical restructuring of this blog recently. Have a great week – until next time.

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

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

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