Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is my favourite painting at the moment.  I loved the intense white of her dress against the dark background. 

But oh my, was it difficult to photograph!  The shine on the background was a nightmare and no matter which way I turned it or where I placed it, there was this horrible bluey sheen!  We have had cloudy weather here and even in the early morning with this cloud cover, nothing worked. 

So it was off to the local art shop for a tin of re-touch varnish and that seemed to do the trick.  The shine of the varnish seemed to counteract the shine of the paint, and this is the best result I could get.


AutumnLeaves said...

Oh Liz! She is gorgeous! Despite the darkness and her pose, I find a sense of comfort in this piece. Like she is coccooned in the warmth and safety of her home. Beautiful piece!

Carol said...

Truly beautiful Liz.

Saundra Lane Galloway said...

Liz, You are right! The white of her dress is stunning! The way the dark envelopes, recedes, but gives such depth is nothing short of masterful! Your execution of the body is wonderful. I can see why this portrait is your favorite! You have a way of capturing the moment that is awe inspiring!

Casabranca said...

congratulations for your work. There are different kind of varnish, you have a matt varnish quite good and don't have shine. (Winsor & Newton for exemple)
best regards from Portugal

Pam Holnback said...

The whites are great. I find whites a fun opportunity. For me, it's often the whites of rocks! Photographing is always a challenge.

Marian Fortunati said...

This is beautiful Liz...The figure is so beautifully thoughtful and peaceful!! I also like the way she's emerging from the darkness.... gorgeously done.

I know what you mean about photographing paintings that are dark though... I had one that I finally took over to a professional because I could NOT capture it... even he had a hard time.

Well done!!!

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Very nice Liz. The skin tones are well executed but I agree with you that the white dress is my favorite part.

Diana Marshall said...

Lovely painting and feeling about this one.
When I photograph a dark painting I move further away from it with my camera and zoom in, that way you can avoid some of the shine. I use a tripod and photograph indoors with no flash.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Beautiful in every way. Maybe my most favorite of yours. The composition is exceptional!

Charlene Brown said...

This is a wonderful painting, Liz. Thanks for taking the trouble to get the black just right so we can all see the striking contrast.

Sharon Wright said...

Fabulous painting, such a warm and cosy image, makes you feel good.

Art with Liz said...

Dear Autumn Leaves - you are so wonderful about commenting on my work. Thank you so much.

Thank you Carol!

Art with Liz said...

What a lovely comment Saundra! Thank you so much.

Dear Casabranca from Porgugal! Thank you for the kind words and for being my 100th friend. I will be visiting your blog.

Art with Liz said...

Hello Pam - thank you. Yes strong contrasts have so much drama! But oh those darks to photograph ...

Thank you Marian - I enjoyed this one - maybe professional photography would help??

Art with Liz said...

Thank you Carol! I find dark skin tones so much easier than pale ones - burnt sienna is just made for them!

Hi Diana and thank you. I tried every which way you could think of to photograph this (and another) dark painting - morning, evening, inside, outside, on the floor, on the wall - the only place I didn't put it was on the ceiling! I also used the zoom, but will try further away next time.

Art with Liz said...

Oh Suzanne, you are so kind and I thank you very very much for the lovely comment.

As you know by now Charlene, it was a struggle! It's also quite a big painting - 18x30" - so is quite a contrast in 'real' life.

Art with Liz said...

Dear Sharon, any comment from you on my portraits is such a pleasure. Thank you!

Prabal said...

Hi Liz,
For some reasons my comments did not get published yesterday. Anyway I want to congratulate you this masterpiece. I feel a certain emotional quality in this painting which can not be put into words.

Greener Bangalore said...


Arti said...

Lovely portrait, Liz.She looks so innocent.Great art.

Dean H. said...

Love your painting! The powerful darks set it up for success!
Photographing darks is a bear! Reflections drive me nuts!
My method which works to some degree:
Don't use flash
Photograph indoors
Set camera for incandecent light
Set painting on easel
If light outside, angle painting close to 90% from window

If still too much reflection, angle more from window light plus shield painting from indoor bulb by using a sheet of paper.

A lot of effort, but it usually works.

All that said, I really like your idea of re touch varnish and will try it!

Art with Liz said...

Hi Prabal, thank you for persevering and sending such a lovely comment!

Thank you Greener Bangalore (home of my favourite cricket team!)

Art with Liz said...

Thank you so much Arti.

Hi Dean and thank you. I am going to try the incandescent light and the 90 deg angle! I thought of using a shield of some sort, and you have just confirmed it. I keep learning from you!

V....Vaughan said...

Really dramatic...your cat looks like this, too...a nice treatment!
Thank you for the great Dane Comment :)
I wish you could meet this dog...he is really special :)

Pamela Alderman said...

You have done a lovely job on the white dress. I just tried to paint white tulips. I really struggled through six paintings. But the seventh painting, my last attempt, hit the mark.

Sishir said...

Its an amazing painting. The colors, the mood, the impression ......each & every bit of it is leaving a mark.
Great piece.
Thanks for sharing.

Art with Liz said...

Hi V, thanks so much for the visit and I also wish I could meet your special dog.

Thank you Pamela. It's great when it works, isn't it!

Art with Liz said...

Thank you for visiting Sishir and for the lovely comment.

Sishir said...

Hi Liz, thanks for drooping by my blog. said...

Very thoughtful Liz, I love the quietness it exudes!

Barbara Pask said...

Very dramatic Liz. I love the brightly lit dress against the dark background.

Anonymous said...









kathleen.artkat.hebert said...

Lovely!!!!! I so enjoy the contrast. And yes, it is a pain to photograph! You seem to have figured it out.

sam said...

I dont know how I missed this Liz, just stunning, wonderful painting.
I sometimes have the same problem with dark backgrounds. I always take the picture in shade. Try a few different angles depending on where the sun is... Yes retouch varnish helps to balance the painting when there are some shiny dark parts and other parts are not.
The other things is, Im not sure if anyone has mentioned the medium if any you are using. Liquin has caused me huge problems in the past with drying/shiny areas so back to linseed oil and turps for me)

Anonymous said...

Catching up with your work. Just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Simply wonderful.