Experiments In Oil #1


I’m without a commission at the moment, so I’ve been pushing into “what if” territory in oil paint.  I’ve played with three paintings, all handled differently.  The subject is the same, though posture and expression vary greatly.  Above is the first.  I applied many more layers of glaze than I normally use, to see if my usual technique could improve with the added work, or if the result  would just become too noodley. The later is the final verdict. The dozen layers or more of paint simply created thicker clumsy strokes. The painting does however, look better in reality. Photographing the painting sans the shine was a bear. The translucent quality resulting from multiple glazes isn’t apparent in the photo, and the transitions between values aren’t showing up well, resulting in annoying linear areas.

Note to self:Don’t overdo the glazing:)

Tomorrow, oil experiment #2

Comments on: "Experiments In Oil #1" (93)

  1. Unique portraits.Regards

  2. Thanks for your appreciation on my drawing and i find your blog quite interesting!

  3. wow. i especially loved both of these portraitis.. they’re stunners!

  4. Great stuff Elena, love these oils, particularly this one. Very dramatic and moody. I’d love to have a go with oils one day, trying to find the room and the time is a bit of a problem though. 🙂

  5. MakeSomethingMondays said:

    This one has a level of eeriness as well. It is so compelling! I almost expect her eyes to shift away from me. I love it!

  6. I’ll be honest..I have no idea what you were talking about..the glazing and the noodly thingie and all that. BUT I love the looks real especially her eyes! It’s an awesome painting 😀

  7. If jealousy was seen as a reward, and deliverable in cubic feet, you would need to be purchasing additional real estate to accommodate the immense and bowed package of the stuff I would have delivered to you =)

  8. Stunning portrait, Elena. You are so talented.

  9. Elena, wow you are so good! I’m mean seriously a master. I saw your #2 first which was brilliant. This #1 is an awesome piece of work. The mood seems darker, her expression more mysterious – the colors used for her skin texture and tones are beautiful combinations, and those eyes are superb. Her hair has got gorgeous slices of color weaved together. It’s such a pleasure to see your portraits – I love them.

  10. A lovely painting Elena – it has a compelling quality which keeps bringing me back to it.

  11. wow Elena! her eyes speak to me. I want to tell her story

  12. poppytump said:

    Very intense gaze . and the light … what a wonderful painting you have done here Elena .

  13. I like, i like very very much. I agree with you that it is difficult to take photo of a painting (watercolor or oil) it’s different ! the colours, the texture… But here what I can see, is beautiful. 🙂

  14. I was immediately hooked by this portrait – the intensity of the sitter, the life in the eyes, the set of the lips, the modelling of the features, the texture of the hair – and yet in places there seems to be a somewhat ‘powdery’ quality. Since I have no expertise whatsoever in painting I am reluctant to comment. maybe this is evidence of your ‘experimenting’. Whatever, as a portrait I like it, a lot!!

    • Thanks very much Louis! And yes, the powdery texture is caused by my inexpert photography and the places where the paint is heaviest and the glaze medium is sitting thinly on top of the paint.

  15. This is fantastic, Elena! I look forward to seeing more oils! I know what you mean about the glazes. I have worked in small amounts of cold wax medium into my glazes to cut down on the glare and shine. (More on the Gamblin website about this in case you’re interested.)

  16. Very cool and in oils Elena! Photographing them is a real pain though, the reflections are a nightmare. Great portrait 🙂

  17. This is absolutely amazing Elena! She’s almost talking with her shining eyes, so beautiful, so alive!

  18. Love how you’re sharing the process with us! Can’t wait to see more!

  19. NICE! Ya ever think of taking it further with a Rembrandt-type of style? You’re almost there with the dark hair and background. You are quite a good portrait artist.

    • Yes! That was my initial intention-you know, Rembrant in his last years with all that thick paint-but I didn’t in the end, didn’t go dark enough. Thanks Hansi!

  20. I love it, it is beautiful, You managed to capture remarkable detail. The thing that caught my attention the most is the eyes, they have a warm organic feel to them.

  21. Really wonderful, Elena. So expressive!

  22. One of the best oils I’ve seen in a long time. Fantastic expression in the eyes captured brilliantly, great stuff!

  23. It’s just those greens that make her fully formed, human. Excellent work, Elena! Wish
    I could see yiu working….

  24. so expressive!! Love this.

  25. This is beautiful! You have been holding out on us!!

  26. I love this Elena.. the tonal quality and expression are both superb.

  27. love the color world of this painting! the expression is really nice
    love it!

  28. Jane Thorne said:

    Note to Elena – you are ‘off the chart’ talented and I love this one…Xx

  29. Oh, that is very well done, Elena!!! Art is so hard to photograph, isn’t it?! Especially textured like oil painting! However your technique is apparent and this one looks beautiful!

  30. Splendid! You created a splendid portrait, dear Elena, so expressive with unique special color! Congratulations! Congratulations! You have a fantastic talent! Thank you very much for sharing with us!
    Have a wonderful Sunday, dear Elena! Big hugs, much love, Ştefania! 🙂

  31. Beautiful Elena, I love the light on her face which you notice first and then the highlights and texture of her hair, I wish my experiments turned out so well….

  32. I like the warm rusty colors in eyes and hair contrasting to the cold blue and green skin colors. Nice!

  33. ..lo trovo veramente bello!
    Sei troppo dura con te stessa…il tuo lavoro è veramente bello!!!!

  34. Fascinating to see you work in a different medium. While I get what you’re saying, I think there’s a real luminescence to the portrait and some nice subtlety. Looking forward to seeing #2.

  35. She is so alive! Love that quiet, moody intensity!

  36. Elena, this is amazing to say the least. The different colour tones, the dark ones around the eyes create a three dimensional effect. Great work!

  37. Your best work yet, Elena. I love the tones and textures of her skin.

  38. Very expressive; really good work!

  39. This is the Master piece.
    On photography, to create a portrait in this impact is very difficult because the light
    illuminates evenly and make it flat. = need to use many spot lights.
    Even in the National Portrait Gallery in London, a portrait in this quality are not many.
    Very well done Elena !

    • I’m such an amateur photographer that I lack the equipment and patience to shoot it right. Thank you for your kindness Yoshi:) And as always, thanks for your support!

  40. That’s an experiment!?! 🙂

  41. experiments? wow, then when you decide you aren’t experimenting anymore we are all in for a real treat. This is stunningly beautiful!

  42. Truly incredible work Elena. Her animate eyes are mesmerizing, glassy, striking features overall.

  43. Beautiful, intense, and amazing!
    She is sculpted into life with your paintbrush, Elena. Fantastic work.

  44. Wow! Oils! She looks totally alive. Well, alive but a bit ghostly (maybe because of the greens?) Very stunning and beautiful work, all those facial features are perfect.

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