Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Tribute to American Women Leaders



                            
Eleanor Roosevelt    oil on linen   20 x 16 *
  
                       

     "The future belongs  to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"     Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: diplomat, humanitarian, activist and one of the most beloved and respected women of the 20th Century.



Women leaders need to be acknowledged! 

A revelation came to me while working in the Studio that women's leadership in American history needs to be  recognized and honored.

 I am inspired to begin a series of oil portraits of exceptional American women.

 These women were and are brave, determined, passionate and visionary...they are leaders!

 Women that come to mind are Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Amelia Earhart, Olivia de Havilland, Helen Coley Nauts, Sonia Sotomayor, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Susan B. Anthony,  Clara Barton, Dolores Huerta and Oprah Winfrey to name a few.

For the honorary portraits I will carefully research these distinguished and exceptional women.
Each oil on linen portrait will be carefully composed considering significant details, color, composition and the most relevant time in their lives to be captured on canvas.


 In the past, I had the honor of being commissioned to paint Helen Coley Nauts, an advocate and visionary in the field of early Cancer Immunology and Gloria Steinem, a ground breaking woman's rights advocate, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe, a major philanthropist and supporter of child welfare, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor a champion of equal rights.

 

Helen Coley Nauts                            Gloria Steinem                      Sonia Sotomayor
            Collection Cancer Research Institute     Collection Ms. Foundation      Collection Southern District Court N.Y.


Catharine Lorillard Wolfe  Collection Grace Church, NY .
                               
 
With the "Tribute to American Women Leaders" Project, I will begin a series of oil on linen  portraits which will range in size between 14 x 18 inches to 20 x 24 inches.

I will start this exciting project with the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "R.B.G" Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a fierce and dedicated advocate for the advancement of gender equality and women's rights.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has shaped the course of our nations' history through her convictions and voice for dissent. In 1993 she was the second woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg  oil on linen  20 x 16

       
"I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability."    Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Moving forward with my project of portraits of American Women Leaders. 

 
Olivia de Havilland   oil on linen  20 x 16

             "One must take what comes with laughter"   Olivia de Havilland

 

Olivia de Havilland, described as "Satin and Steel" was a  2 time Academy Award winner and the last major leading actress of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Olivia passed away in 2020 at 104 years old. But she was much more that a wonderful, beautiful and versatile actress...she was a  fearless and tough. She took on the movie studios when they had complete control over their stars. Backed by the Screen Actors Guild, she took Warner Brothers to court in 1943 when they penalized her for turning down roles. The California Supreme Court ruled in her favor in what is now known as the De Havilland Law. All actors today are indebted to her efforts.


Harriet Tubman   oil on linen  21 x 17

            "Every great dream begins with a dreamer." Harriet Tubman

 

Harriet Tubman,  the "Moses of her people" was an escaped slave, who was courageous and committed to  helping other slaves regain their freedom as a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. She was never caught and never lost any of her "passengers."  Harriet was also a Union spy, scout, nurse, abolitionist and early supporter of women's suffrage. I chose to portray Harriet as a younger  woman. People usually see an image of her as an old woman...she was only 5 feet tall, but, what that small mighty woman accomplished!


Clara Barton,   oil on linen   20 x 16 
 

 "I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay." Clara Barton


Clara Barton,  the "angel of the battlefield," was  the founder of the American Red Cross, teacher, nurse, abolitionist, founder of the National First Aid Association of America and an ardent supporter of women's suffrage.


I have also started oil portraits of  Dolores Huerta, Rosa Parks, Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones), Susan B. Anthony, Oprah Winfrey, and Amelia Earhart.

 I will be adding these finished oil portraits and more to this post in the near future.

 

 

 To learn more about Harriet Tubman and her oil portrait development, visit my blog page:

https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2021/01/harriet-tubman-moses-of-her-people.html

 

 To learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt and her oil portrait development, visit my blog page: 

https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2021/01/eleanor-roosevelt-most-beloved-woman-of.html


 

To learn more about Clara Barton and her oil portrait development, visit my blog page:

   https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2021/01/honoring-with-portraiture-clara-barton.html

 

To see more of my portraiture and larger versions of these portraits please visit my website: www.susandurkee.com

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and learn more about these exceptional women leaders!









* Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt based on a reference photograph by Lotte Johanna Alexandra Jacobi circa 1944



Monday, January 4, 2021

Eleanor Roosevelt, the most beloved woman of the 20th century

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Eleanor Roosevelt     oil on linen, 20 x 16,   Collection of the artist* 


  "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."    Eleanor Roosevelt 

 

Eleanor Roosevelt was a trial blazer!

 She was an unstoppable force, not only aiding and campaigning for her husband, President FDR, when he lost the use of his legs, but tirelessly working for the betterment of humanity, woman rights, racial justice and more, making her the most politically active and influential First Lady in American history.

 After FDR's death in 1945, President Truman named her U.S. Delegate to the United Nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, was primarily her work, and the delegates gave her a standing ovation for her contribution.

  At Eleanor's memorial service, diplomat Adlai Stevenson said: "She would rather light candles than curse the darkness, and her glow warmed the world"

 

I chose to portray Eleanor Roosevelt, viewed from the side looking upward as I felt that she was such a visionary that this pose conveys her inner vision and strength.

As usual, I begin my portraits with a oil paint block in, just to get a base of color down on the canvas, upon which I will build up layers of paint. At this point, I am not concerned with the likeness during these early stages, as with the building up of layers of paint the facial structure will begin to form and the features will fall into place.  
First day's block in for Eleanor's portrait.   




Building up the paint layers and likeness.

 Finished  portrait

 Eleanor Roosevelt was inducted to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973.

 

To learn more about my  "A Tribute to American Women Leaders" project visit this post on my blog:

https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-tribute-to-american-women-leaders.html

 

 For more information, to contact me or to see more of my portraiture, please visit my website:   www.susandurkee.com 

 Thank you for taking the time to read this honorary blog celebrating such an important American woman leader.

 

 
* Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt based on a reference photograph by Lotte Johanna Alexandra Jacobi circa 1944




Saturday, January 2, 2021

Harriet Tubman the "Moses of her People."

  

 

  Harriet Tubman   oil on linen  21 x 17  collection of the artist

 "Every Great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." Harriet Tubman

 

Harriet Tubman: abolitionist, activist, Union spy and scout, nurse, writer, humanitarian and early supporter of woman's suffrage movement.

 Called the  “The Moses of her People” she was a courageous and committed “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Tubman was never caught and never lost a "passenger" of the nearly 300 slaves  she lead to freedom. Only 5 feet tall, she was strong and fearless, she carried a pistol and dressed in disquises!

Harriet raised funds to help freedmen, and in later years was an activist, joining Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the movement for women's suffrage.

She is considered the first African American woman to serve in the military and died  in 1913, about 93 years old, with full military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn New York.

 As part of this project, "A Tribute to American Women Leaders,"  I have recorded the development of each oil on linen portrait. I thought this would add more viewer engagement with the subject, the portrait and the portrait progress. 

I chose to portray Harriet Tubman as a younger woman, when she was still so strong and vibrant, also, because the public usually sees her photo image as an older woman.

As usual, I begin my portraits with a oil paint block in, just to get a base of color down on the canvas, upon which I will build up layers of paint. At this point, I am not concerned with the likeness during these early stages, as with the building up of layers of paint the facial structure will begin to form and the features will fall into place.  

Early block in and reference photo for portrait ( on left)




Portrait progressing


Further blocking in of paint layers


More development of the features


Finished  portrait


  Harriet Tubman was elected into the  National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973. 
Tubman, Harriet - National Women’s Hall of Fame (womenofthehall.org)

                   

To learn more about my  "A Tribute to American Women Leaders" project visit this post on my blog:

https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-tribute-to-american-women-leaders.html

 

 For more information, to contact me or to see more of my portraiture, please visit my website:   www.susandurkee.com 

Thank you for taking the time to read this honorary blog celebrating such an important American woman leader.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Honoring, with portraiture, Clara Barton "The Angel of the Battlefield."

This year, on Christmas Day, 2021, Clara Barton celebrates her 200th Birthday!

Clara Barton was one of the first woman leaders whose portrait I selected to paint for my "A Tribute to American Women Leaders," project.

She is so exceptional and important to our American History thru her nearly 70 years of selfless service to our country and humanity.

Clara Barton     oil on linen, 20 x 16,   collection of the artist     

 "I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them." Clara Barton

 

Clarissa "Clara" Barton was born December 25th, 1821.

 She began teaching at the age of 18, later moving on to a job as recording clerk at the US Patent Office. Even in those early years she was an early women's rights advocate demanding equal pay to men.

In 1861, when the Civil War broke out she quite her government job and started her long career serving as a nurse in aiding people in times of war and disaster.

 As the "Angel of the Battlefield" she she  helped to transport supplies for the Union army and was at every major battle in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. She also helped prepare and guide slaves for their new lives of freedom.

After the Civil war, Clara helped locate missing soldiers and mark thousands of graves. On May 21, 1881, she formed the American Red Cross. She was devoted to helping the poor and homeless and an ardent supporter of women's suffrage. In 1904 she established the National First Aid Association of America. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1972. 


 As part of this project, "A Tribute to American Women Leaders," I have recorded the development of each oil on linen portrait. I thought this would add more  viewer engagement with the subject, the portrait and the portrait progress.

As usual, I begin my portraits with a oil paint block in, just to get a base of color down on the canvas, upon which I will build up layers of paint. At this point, I am not concerned with the likeness during these early stages, as with the building up of layers of paint the facial structure will begin to form and the features will fall into place.
 

Clara Barton     rough oil block in for portrait

 
Below,  the oil portrait is further along, but still needs  more layers of paint to convey the skin tones and the vibrancy and richness  of the colors.

Clara Barton     oil portrait progression

 

 One of the important evocations I wanted to show in my portrait of Clara Barton, was not only her strength, but also her sensitivity and humanity. Below is a cropped version of the final portrait, which I hope conveys these qualities.



Below is the reference photo I chose to use for the portrait. 

I liked this image as it conveyed Clara's dignity, strength and conviction. Also, because it was not as well known a photograph and showed a nice angle of her face (she had a very wide face so a 3/4  pose head position was more attractive, rather than straight on).
I liked that she was standing, so straight and direct...she was a woman of energy and action! 

I cropped the photograph, as by removing the lower part of the dress in the photograph the viewer would be more focused on Clara's head and shoulders. Also, in this tribute project, I have restricted the portrait sizes to 14 x 18 to 20 x 24 inches, so I wanted to make sure that her head was large enough for the portrait composition.

"Clara Barton"  Matthew Brady reference photo  Courtesy Library of Congress
  

 Clara Barton was elected into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973   Barton, Clara - National Women’s Hall of Fame (womenofthehall.org)

 

 To learn more about my  "A Tribute to American Women Leaders" project visit this post on my blog:

https://susandurkee.blogspot.com/2020/01/a-tribute-to-american-women-leaders.html

 

 For more information, to contact me or to see more of my portraiture, please visit my website:   www.susandurkee.com 

Thank you for taking the time to read this honorary blog celebrating such an important American woman leader.