The Red Dress

breddress copy

Oil on Linen 24″ x  24″

Lots of reflected light, on a sumptuous linen surface=so much fun to paint!  Below you’ll find progress images.


When not working alla prima, I generally begin with a value based underpainting- blocking in the entire painting to create a first layer.  As you can see, with this one, I started with charcoal and worked the painting bit by bit.

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. One of the great boons of the digital age, in my estimation, is the ease with which we can capture and document works, both in-progress and in their finished state. It’s incredibly helpful for me to be able to “watch you work” this way, and in addition, I love to see how (in your work, my own and others’) very often there are different states of the piece in question that have equal beauty and power, as in this case where I think the charcoal state’s dynamic line, bold handling, and earthy graphic character are both telling precursors of the finished piece’s success and contributors to a beautiful charcoal drawing in their own right. Two (or more!) fabulous artworks for the price of one!

    1. THanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I also enjoying seeing progress shots, and I certainly learn from others who are kind enough to post them. I often intend to take progress shots, then forget. In this case, I’m kinda sorry I did, because I almost like the drawing better than the painting:) Thanks much, Kathryn.

      1. Oh, darling, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that about my stuff. Do I overwork them or just go astray? Doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the process. So glad I’m old enough to value the journey as much as, or more than, the destination by now. *And* have the occasional docu photo as backup to my dreams! 😉

  2. Natural and glamorous all at once. Such an energy in this painting. I enjoy seeing your process, Elena – the essence of your subject is there in each stage and it’s delightful!

  3. It’s great! I admire your work more and more every day… Did you paint directly on the charcoal? I suppose you fixed it somehow or it would get messy… Or I assume it depends on the hand of the painter, and yours is wonderful.

    Congratulations, once again.

  4. I love the way you see…The colours,dynamism,fluidity,harmony of all them impress me so much.This painting is so very expertly done.I can feel she physically exists 🙂

  5. Wow, so amazingly dynamic. I love the progress pics! You know I visit a lot of art blogs and people always say really nice things, but then there is your blog and you are a master among students. Which probably sounds very corny. 😀

  6. I’m interested to see how you progress your work and to read that you use photographs. Currently the Sky ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ competition is showing on UK TV. Regional heats will produce a winner who will receive £10000 and a commission to paint a portrait of the writer Hilary Mantel. The portrait will then be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. Watching the approach and techniques of the individual artists is fascinating. No two artists work in the same way and the portraits say almost as much about the artists as they do about the sitters!

    1. I LOVE viewing the images (though digitally), of the National Portrait Gallery-truly an inspiration. I’d love to watch the TV segment. Sometimes we are privy to UK TV (and I watch it often). I’ll look for this piece.

  7. I wrote a story yesterday, about a woman in a red dress. Maybe I’m turned in to you psychically? My story was inspired by a painting. It will be up over the weekend. Maybe there is a story in your painting as well?
    Beautiful work, as always.

  8. I love this piece Elena. There is so much in the woman’s character that comes through–the woman who would wear such red dress. In your progress, you must be thinking about your character in some of the same ways a novelist would create a character. At least I’m guessing, because your pieces are such strong character studies.

    1. Oooops! And I really like the ones you have been doing lately. I think I have a personal taste for light and for energy. Though I think it also has to do with those lines. I like knowing a little bit more at a time!

      1. Yes, thank you. I work pretty much the same. It is interesting (probably just to me) how other artists “find” that creative spark in something that initiates an image…and moves forward. Again, thanks. R.

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