My Red Ruffles

Young Mexican Girl in Red Ruffled Dress 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I painted this little girl using my painting knives. I ask myself recently why I had searched for and purchased my large assortment of “painting knives” if I was not going to use them. A few years ago, I had an online instructor who mentioned that her primary tool is a painting knife, which she purchased long ago, but which is no longer available. (I always hate it when someone says that.) She further commented that she could not paint in her specific style without this tool. It has a very soft and flexible metal blade which provides a great deal of control in creating large and very fine details with great maneuverability. I was immediately challenged to find such tool for myself.

Art stores now only sell palette knives made of a substantially harder and less flexible metal.Their purpose is primarily to mix paint on a palette, though some do paint with them and make other creative marks. Art stores today, however, don’t sell painting knives I wanted a painting knife like my instructor – I like tools. INDEED I FOUND SEVERAL! My search words included – painting knives, vintage, used, well worn, … words most people are not looking to describe products they want to purchase, but I focused on these words. I now have 17 assorted painting knives – different shapes and sizes. I purchased all I could find because in addition to their rarity and fragility, I might damage one in a drop to the floor and trust me I drop things ALL OF THE TIME. One set of these knives was used but excellent, another set was completely unused – still in the box with only a little discoloration on the blades. I feel so lucky to have found these very serviceable, no longer commercially produced tools, on Ebay – and for a song! They are amazing. They look much like a palette knife but they are made of thinner and far more flexible metal. With them, I can make expressive marks different from a brush and move the paint around in an easily maneuverable manner.

Recently, I posted a painting of this same little girls head only, painted several years ago – a normal portrait. At that time, I looked at those ruffles and thought “I don’t think so – but maybe someday”. And so the day came and I thought I’d put those painting knives to the test. It was right tool, the right time and the right skill level to create this painting. I enjoy the color, the depth and dimension as well as her red ruffles and pretty little face. I really like it – It was fun and I hope you enjoy it also. My next canvas is prepared and ready for me to get to work. It will be a very unusual kind of portrait – not the human kind!

The heatwave broke here and it’s now very comfortable. Wherever you are, I hope you are comfortable also. YEAH KANSAS!

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Flowers in her Hair

lowers in Her Hair 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

It’s been really difficult for me to create post during the past few weeks in the midst of ongoing mass murders – so I didn’t. I had to just stop posting for a while. I painted because that’s soothing but creating post/adjusting images to look like the paintings is a different matter. I enjoyed creating the two versions of this painting. I love the color and elegance of the painting above. I enjoy the texture and energy of the painting below. The fact is I enjoy both very much. This lady is the mom of the little blonde curly head girl with the teddy bear I’ve painted recently a few times prior.

Black Woman Long Braids Textured Surface. Oil Painting – by Winifred Whitfield

I am compelled to say, I am a gun owner but I think we need to ban AR 15’s and similar assault, mass murder, weapons of war – temporarily or otherwise. No one has been able to identify any other purpose for them other than for mass murder.

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Three Faces

Native American Woman Strong Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

Today, I’m giving you more paintings and fewer words. I think it’s a good trade.

Caucasian Teenager Looking Forward – Oil Painting 9×12 by Winifred Whitfield

Little Girl

Bi-racial Girl with Curls – 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

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Long Gold Earrings

Long Gold Earrings, Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

I have a room in my house where I can pull back a sliver of a “black out curtain” and in this otherwise darkened room, the light acts like an intense spot light. I love to use this effect in creating dramatically lit portraits. Whether in photography or paintings the effect is called Chiaroscura. “Chiaro” meaning “clear or bright”, “Scura” meaning “dark or to obscure”. Both DaVinci and Carravaggio made this single light effect famous as a way to create great depth and dimension in their art which was most often monotone. The term has become diluted to generally mean artwork with great contrast. I modified my single light effect by turning on, what by contrast was a dim ceiling light. This added warm highlights to part of her hair and the side of her face – an image otherwise lit by cool daylight.

Well, the next painting will be very different, very colorful with an impressionist twist to it. Stay tuned. Have a great week. Winifred

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Once Again

Abundance Oil Painting 12×12 by Winifred

Once again we celebrate our respective holidays – gatherings of family, joy, peace – or not! And once again, I’ve reworked this painting! I’ve been at it off and on for 4 years now. Recently, I even sanded down much of the bottom and lower right. I sanded back to the white of the panel. Notice how lustrous those grapes look on the right side. Painting layers of transparent color over a white board gives you the brightest most intense and reflective translucent color. Applying opaque colors is beautiful also – it just depends on the look you want to achieve. I added the bit of cloth and fringe. The bit of white livens the painting over all. I wanted to leave the foliage loose and abstract, though it received a touch up as well.

Italian Woman in Window Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

I can still remember the moment I photographed the lady in the window. She saw me looking at her. I motioned to the camera and looked back up at her – my way of asking permission. I remember that moment of connection with her. She nodded yes, gave me a warm smile – even waved. I wanted “the wave” in the painting but her arm and hand were positioned so awkwardly – I couldn’t make it work.

Below: This is a first time I painted a barn, trees, a field of grass. It was fun. I enjoyed it so much in fact, I painted it twice!

Barn and Farm 11×14 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

I didn’t like the trees I painted initially so I sanded down that part of my painting. I used an electric sanding machine rather than a sanding block – I was aggressive. I was pleasantly surprised when my trees were were immediately simplified and had a level of abstraction. Artist frequently say that removing paint is as important as putting it on. This is an example and I need to employ this as a technique more often rather than as a last resort. In 2022, my only resolution will be to sand off more paint.

I wishing you the best during this holiday season. Winifred

Repose

“Repose” Oil Painting 12×12 by Winifred Whitfield

Have you seen her before? The last time you saw this lovely lady she had her hands covering her face. No wonder you don’t recognize her!

With her bone structure and the way light graces her face, I thought I should uncover it for this painting. Throughout the summer at a certain time of the morning, I would often observe light coming through a certain window and think ” I must capture a portrait in this light”. On a certain day, I had that opportunity. One only has to “see” the light and recognize it’s potential. I had no idea what an important role my dramatic portrait photography would play in my portrait paintings. It’s also a good thing I enjoy costume design via paint. She was wearing a little black tee with sunflowers but I decided to create her as more regal.

Below, is the previous portrait I posted – her hands covering her face. I really like the painting but wanted to show her face as well. Hope you enjoy both. Winifred

The Weight of the World – Figurative Oil Painting 11×14 by Winifred Whitfield

Dragons Over Her Shoulders

Dragons Over Her Shoulders – Oil Painting 12×16 by Winifred Whitfield

I thought this lovely lady and my dragon bench would look splendid together. I featured a photo this bench in my recent “home gallery” post but I’ve never painted it before. I would often look at this bench and would think “not today” even if had been captured in a reference image. It was actually less stressful to paint than I imagined. Her portrait, on the other hand, posed the usual portrait painting challenge. In every painting there is something to be learned and I enjoy each new experience. Hope you enjoy. Winifred

Girl in Vintage Chair

Girl in Vintage Chair 12×16 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

She wore black jeans and a black tee shirt when I photographed her. I allowed her to pose herself and I’m glad I did. The aspect of the pose I find most endearing is her arms. I never would have positioned them as such but they’re perfect – the elongated arms flowing into the interestingly interlaced tapered fingers. I also didn’t envision this painting style – for sure. There is a class I wanted to take. It will be taught by Valerie Collymore, quite an amazing impressionist painter. Her class is entitled “Renoir Like” – but sadly for me – it’s full. I decided I would paint my own “Renoir Like” portrait but my imagination took over the process and this painting took on a life of it’s own, determining color, texture and abstractions as it evolved. I’m glad things happened as they did. After all, I will always be better at painting “Winifred Like”. Hope you enjoy. Winifred

Venice at Night – The Gathering

Venice at Night – Gathering, Oil Painting 12×16 by Winifred Whitfield

Often, if not all the time you’ll see groups of people gathered in the many narrow paths and streets of Venice, Italy. At night, this is an even more striking as they are lit by golden window light. Add rain and you add shimmer to the darkened silhouettes. Umbrellas don’t play a dominant role in this painting but they are present. Hope you enjoy. Winifred

Candlelight in Venice Cafe

Candlelight in Venice Cafe, 12×12 Oil Painting by Winifred Whitfield

From time to time, over the past 4 years, I’ve viewed the reference photo I took and used for this painting. Often I felt it far too complex for me to paint – or at least, I didn’t want to work that hard. I did love the shapes of the chair backs and of course, the candlelight and the shadowy figures in the dark. Finally I decided I was ready and actually enjoyed the painting process very much. As always there is a change in painting content from that which existed in the photo but that’s to be expected. Hope you enjoy. Winifred