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.
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.
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
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.
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
This is the first peony I’ve attempted and I worked not to make it realistic – but hopefully suggestive. I’ve actually come to the end of the 12 cradle box project and as it turns out, I’m glad I don’t have anymore of the boxes. Now I can turn my attention to something different.
Below, I like the color and boldness. I think I’ll paint in this vain for a while.
It’s on the early side in the Northwest for planting but I’m doing it and starting seeds as well. Last year it was mid June or later before I got started. I purchased my first tomato plant, and I’ve propagated my first geraniums. They will be fuchsia burgundy and white. They are unusual and beautiful. I have 14 growing!! Have a great week. Winifred
During the last 10 days I painted these six 4×6 paintings – all on cradle boxes I’ve had for more than 2 years. It was an interesting process. I felt I could experiment and take more chances than I otherwise might. I could allow my brush to move and sway and dip into various colors without a care in the world. I could select from thick paint and thin paint. I enjoyed the process and the results. In the beginning, I was more successful with the free flowing process than a subsequent paintings when I began to tighten up – but not too badly.
I had fun with color movement and texture.
… and more color. I don’t think I’ve ever used a solid color background before – always thinking it better to include some painterly patterns or texture. I now think a simply solid background can be just perfect.
Above I created an old fashioned look, a vase of roses and my first crocheted doily.
I enjoy playing with light as well as color. I have not used the above still life location before but I certainly will again. I placed a 3 foot garden pedestal on my stairway under a skylight. I could envision that this would create interesting light effects and it did.
This was actually the first 4×6 I painted. It reminds me of a spring breeze.
During the next week, I will paint the edges of the 3/4 cradle boxes these are painted on. I will then apply gold foil to the edges. Right now, it’s just natural wood. This will allow them to look very pretty when you hang them on the wall. A small nail is all you will need or those stick-on strips. I have 4 more cradle boxes and I’ll paint them as well. I’m interested to see what I will create. It’s always a surprise – even for me. Thank you for your interest. Stay safe and have a good week. Winifred
I found the dramatic patterns of light so beautiful – from the moon to the rippling reflections in the canal. Set against centuries old buildings with a dark silhouetted skyline – that for me is the whole story.
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
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.
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
It’s been a year and a half since I painted a portrait. I decided I needed to paint portraits again before I forgot how – though I’m not sure if there is such a thing. I actually think any kind of painting leads to the same place – a more practiced and competent painter – but just in case I decided it was time. I opened my “to paint folder” to make a photo selection. I encountered this little girl a couple years prior, sitting inside a large shopping cart as her mom pushed her about while grocery shopping. She was wearing a pink dress with sparkling white beads in her hair. I ask her mom if I could photograph her. I promised her mom I would send her a digital file of the photo I took and I did. I then put the file away, not sure I would ever paint it.
When I began the painting, I envisioned a simple head and shoulders portrait with a plain background. I knew the beads in her hair would give the painting a certain pop! Below is an earlier unfinished stage of the painting and it was the stopping place for day one.
The following day, I painted a simple golden toned background with a bit of color variation and a bit of texture – different from what you see above. I also formed her arms more correctly and changed from the stark white beads – a judgement call – to more painterly beads. I placed the completed phase 1 painting where I could look at it for a while and thought – I DON”T THINK SO! The slouch was awkward against the plain background and bothered me.
I decided to give her a red chair because people often slouch in a chair – this helped. At the end of that painting day, however, I still wasn’t satisfied. I decided the background had to change to something more colorful and interesting. I went through my files, found a simple floral pattern, and used it, generally, as a background reference.
Adding this color, tones and shapes gave me what I wanted. These changes occurred over several days as my vision of the portrait evolved. It’s so much easier and faster to complete a painting if I have all the information and elements in the reference photo from the beginning – but in this case it was a “shopping cart”. It’s a good exercise to work this way, however, as it is an exercise in expanding ones creativity.
Portraits are complex and can be very tedious. This portrait was complex but was actually enjoyable and I will be creating them more often.