Sarah - A Young Woman's Portrait

Sarah Oil Painting by Enzie Shahmiri

"Sarah the Musician"

Oil on Canvas ~ 30 x 40 inches



My paintings are like my children to me. I give them life and nurture them into maturity, constantly fussing over them. They are such a great part of me that it is often difficult to let go. I worked on this painting with a frozen shoulder and at times seriously questioned if I will ever be able to finish it. I sure hope that my client will be as pleased with the results as I am.

Detail of Head

Sarah Head Detail

Foot Detail

Foot Detail

Right Hand Detail

Sarah Right Hand Detail

Left Hand Detail

Sarah Left Hand Detail

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Me working on the painting ~

Me Working on Sarah the Musician


Sarah Work in Progress10

I don't know if other artist feel exuberant when they get close to being done, but I am soooo excited. So far I am only one week behind the self imposed schedule and that with having to deal with my frozen shoulder. Not too bad ~

Sarah Head Shot Work in Progess11

I will have to put the painting aside now, so that I can come back to it with a fresh look and catch all the stuff I have missed. Of course the temptation is always there to rush to the end, but I have learned it's best to take it easy. With this painting there are a lot of ying and yang things going on.

Texture against smooth surface, bright against dark, highly detailed against loosely handled, etc. I still have to put the strings on, but the painting has to be completely dry first. I'll let you know later why.



A lot of work has been done on Sarah's portrait and yesterday I spend a good portion of the day working on the limbs. The colors here are showing much brighter and more intense, ~ can't really figure out why that is. Anyhow, I am really excited how this painting is turning out.

Right Hand

The left hand and left foot still need more work, but for now I'll let it sit. Next on the agenda is the instrument , which needs strings and the inlay on the handle.

Right Foot


Sarah Work in Progress9

I am starting to really enjoy myself with this painting. The more color is added the richer the painting looks. Yesterday I had so much fun, that I got a bit carried away and need to fix a little section.

Sarah Reference Photo

Bobbie had asked if I could post Sarah's photo. This is the reference I am working with. I still have to do a final correction check, but right now I am busy decorating and getting the pillows and sofa to look right.

The dress has lots of pale pinks and blues and yellows, but they are not showing up very well on the photo. I probably have to take the photo outside, but it's so big that I don't want to move it around just yet.


Sarah Work in Progress7

More color is applied~

Sarah Work in Progress8


Sarah Work in Progress6

I have been applying color to the gray under painting. Currently all I am really concerned with is getting the values right. Actual color corrections are made with each successive layer.  I love this stage when the paint slowly starts to give the painting a life of it's own. Since my shoulder is still not 100% working, I can't work in one area too long and have to change positions frequently. I am just glad to be painting all together....


Sarah Underpainting 5

The black and white underpainting for Sarah is finally done and I am excited to move on to color. As always when I post the painting's progress on-line I notice areas that need more work. The beauty of oil painting is the progression and with each new layer areas can be reworked or enhanced until the final end result is achieved.


Sarah Grizaille1

Totally having underestimated how much detail is involved in this piece, I moved from the wash in to the 1st black and white layer. Sarah's dad has already seen the 1st stage and was pretty thrilled to see Sarah develop on canvas. I have been working like crazy on this, but it sure doesn't look like it. Hmmm?!

Fortunately once the grizaille is completed there is very little that needs to be done on the dress, other than a wash, since it is all white anyways.

Sarah Grizaille 1 HandSarah Wash In

I am very excited about this portrait commission, since it not only allows me to paint a beautiful young woman, but also in an Orientalist setting of an Old Master painting by William Clark Wontner called the Dancing Girl. My client really liked the Wontner painting and asked if I could paint her daughter instead of the girl in that setting.

Getting all the details of the original painting transferred on a 30x40in canvas was a lot of work and took a while. Since I am still dealing with a frozen shoulder,  the wash in is going on in sections. I treated myself to developing her face prematurely, but it spurs me on regardless of shoulder pains. I am very excited about this painting, since it's right up my alley of favorite subject matter and will post more as it develops further.

Sarah Wash In 2
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Meet the Artist

"My Name is Enzie (NC) and I am a multi disciplinary artist based in southern California, USA.

I specialize in hand painted life-size pet portraits and custom-made miniature dioramas in various sizes.

Visit my blog to see what I am currently working on."



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