portraits, figurative, still life paintings

View Feb '05 American
Artist feature article.


There are almost as many ways to have a portrait painted as there are people. Every single portrait is uniquely designed to fit the needs and purposes of the sitter. I like to meet with each person to find what their wishes are, what kind of painting they want and how much time they have to sit for the painting.

I feel the best portraits are done from life. Real time with a person gives good natural color, a strong sense of form and best of all, much more time to get to know the sitter and watch their faces from different angles and with different expressions. However, having time to sit is not always possible or desirable for everyone. A good photo taken in natural light is a valuable tool and can create a beautiful portrait.

It is important to discuss the idea of the portrait: will it be formal or casual, standing or sitting, what clothing, what background. In the first session all this can be established and some photos taken. If possible, I like to have another session to do a color study from life. Each session usually lasts about three hours.

In working from life, I will need five to eight sittings. I am accustomed to working while people listen to the radio, books on tape, or watch videos (children). Every twenty minutes or half an hour is break time to stand up and stretch, eat or drink and relax. I will come to a client's house to work, or work in the Guild studio on Newbury Street, or in my studio in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The prices of the portraits start at $8,000.


© Mary Minifie
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