Painting Traditional Pastel Portraits in  Today’s digital Era

I ‘ve always had a deep fascination for traditional art, and pastel portraits of children and pets are my specialty.

 When I was in primary school during break time I enjoyed  drawing my classmates’ profiles (definitely easier than painting  a full face portrait!)

I found it amazing to be able to capture the likeness of a face, and to make my classmates happy when they received a custom portrait of themselves! 

 At home, I loved to paint  the models’ faces from the magazines my mom bought, as well as cats and dogs, depending on which photos I could find…I guess those were my first attempts at  painting portraits from photos, which is what I do now as a living!

In secondary school, I was the one who happily drew simple custom holiday cards as well as some custom portrait paintings  that sometimes my teachers asked me to draw for them. Definitely, art has always played a central role in my life, and always will!

Later on, when I decided to follow my passion and joined an art school,  portraiture from life was my favorite subject, difficult but so important to practice..

Nowadays, as a professional portrait artist, I feel deeply inspired by the great masters of the past. 

While living in an extremely digitized, era, with Artificial Intelligence quickly spreading across everywhere replacing so many traditional ways of working and doing things,  I choose to follow tradition, to remain faithful to the classical method of painting, to the wonderful feeling that  paint, be it pastels, oils, acrylics, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, sepia, colored pencils,  or any other medium, gives me.

I believe that handmade things make a difference in this world, they are made with love and talent, they express the view and the soul of the artist who created them, and nothing, no machine or A.I.  can replace that, in my opinion.

As I wrote, I take inspiration from the great masters of the past. Among my favorite ones,   Peter Paul Rubens certainly holds a special place:  his portraits look so real and lifelike,  they almost “breathe” with their delicate yet vibrant skin tones…

Especially when painting a children’s portraits, I always refer to his palette and his way of painting skin tones, trying to replicate their luminous quality and softness, his outstanding portraits truly are a great source of inspiration!

I don’t know how many times I  studied Clara Serena’s portrait, a true masterpiece!

I also  feel inspired by so many other great masters from the past, Rosalba Carrera for her amazing, luminous  pastel portraits, Agnolo Bronzino for his perfect, remarkable portraits (Bia deMedici’s portrait has always been one of my favorites!) and Renoir for the luscious colors he used, just to name a few…

(See samples of these Great Masters incredible portraits below – what a source of inspiration they are, and always have been, for me!)

I believe classical portraiture will always hold special relevance, the beauty and timeless appeal of  a family heirloom portrait that can be passed through generations will never fade, it will always coexist with the newer, different  forms of art.

What are your thoughts about that?