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

Published by elenacaravela

My world is a wonder of visual candy and foreboding shadow shapes vying every waking moment for my full attention.

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  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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!

  3. 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 painting..it looks real especially her eyes! It’s an awesome painting 😀

  4. 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 =)

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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!!

    1. 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.

  9. 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.)

  10. 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.

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

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

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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! 🙂

  16. 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….

  17. 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.

  18. 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 !

    1. 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!

  19. 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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