For answers to your questions about commissioning a portrait with me, I welcome you to visit "Commissions" and "Pricing", and review more examples of my portraiture at .
Lead time required for a portrait commission is commensurate with the detail and the technique being utilized. For any further questions please contact me at
A note that on occasion I post drawings from life, as well as drawings of nude models, as it is an important traditional practice which improves my ability in portraiture.
All images and content of this blog are © Mona Diane Conner 2014 and may not be reproduced

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Commission a Pastel for your Holiday Gift

Christmas is almost upon us.  Pastel portraits take approximately two weeks 
or more to complete.  Have you commissioned your pastel gift yet?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Update

Due to several things I'm developing offline this Fall, it's been a while since my last post, but rest assured, I welcome any portrait commission requests you may have.  Until my next portrait posts here, please also feel welcomed to check out my progress reports on "Kimberly With Roses", my spiritual portrait in egg tempera on Grander Joy of Spirit.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Framed Self-Portrait

And here is the framing solution which I applied to this miniature painting,"Self Portrait at 34", a lovely gilded wood oval.

This self portrait will be included in an annual international miniature show in Florida.  If you are interested in purchasing it, or in receiving details about this show, please email me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Self Portrait at 34" Completed

"Self Portrait at 34", miniature portrait (shown @ actual size, 3 3/4" x 3") egg tempera on
Kelmscott vellum

Reference picture I took myself utilizing the self-timer on my camera, at age 34

Here is my completed self-portrait at age 34, and in this instance I thought it would be fun to show you my reference photo, since it is an old picture, although I'll leave it's actual age, vague.......... :-)

It was so much fun to go back in time with this self-portrait! The challenges I enjoyed in painting this entailed articulating the details of the rhinestone necklace at 1/6th of life size miniature scale, and also to see how well I could develop the values and colors from lightest lights to darkest darks, by using many thin translucent layers of alternating warm and cool colors glazed and scumbled on with egg tempera.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Miniature Self Portrait in Progress

"Self Portrait at 34" (in progress), egg tempera miniature painting on Kelmscott vellum

I'm really enjoying the challenge of working on this miniature portrait of myself when I was 34, painting it from my own photos which were taken with the self-timer on my camera back then.  I had fun posing in one of my all-time favorite wardrobe items, a black velvet cocktail dress.  This is shown approximately same-size as the art, so the tricky part will be to see if I can adequately articulate in paint at miniature portrait scale (1/6th of life size) the details of the rhinestone necklace I was wearing.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010


"Sandra", 22" x 19", pastel on La Carte pastel board (click the images twice to see them larger)

"Sandra" detail

I may tweak this a little more here and there for it's details, but here is the finished portrait of Sandra. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Portrait of Sandra in Progress

"Sandra," 23" x 19", pastel in progress on brown La Carte pastel board

Here is a pastel I've started of my friend Sandy, who will also be posing later this year for my spiritual portrait series.  This is a practice portrait to help me acquaint myself with the planes her face, based on a casual picture taken by her husband, Dwight. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Word about my Spiritual Portrait Series and what's next

Some of you may have noticed that I blog according to several themes, and perhaps it's helpful to discuss why I prefer to separate my art into several blogs, and how sometimes these themes overlap.

Today I've posted another update for "Kimberly With Roses" on it's regular blog at this link: Grander Joy of Spirit, so if you'd like to follow my progress with this, "The 'Mary' in Kimberly", and other spiritually themed portraits, they will mainly continue to unfold there. While I may occasionally post an update here periodically on one of my spiritual portraits, with my spiritual portrait series in particular, which has continued for almost two years now, I am actually unfolding and at times discussing on-blog a personal theme through an ongoing body of work in portraiture for a gallery or museum show. So, I feel it is more meaningful in the long run to develop this theme in it's own context, and separately from this blog which is more about portraits and portrait commissions in general. I may, for example, get more into discussion of technical aspects of painting here on the portrait blog, whereas on Grander Joy of Spirit I'm attempting to zero in on the spiritual aspects and responses from viewers on this level.

So far, my spiritual portrait series has been done completely uncommissioned, and only with the cooperation of several interested friends who have willingly and kindly posed for me for this purpose. However, I am also quite open to the opportunity of creating a commissioned spiritual portrait if anyone desires one. I also have a miniature painting blog, where occasionally I do a portrait in miniature, and this is another source of overlap where I may sometimes post dually.

Right now I'm in the midst of preparing an artist grant application, just to help me to be able to continue with the spiritual portrait series, but as soon as it's finished I'll be posting something new here too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Framing "Eve and Her Dog", and the story of my friendship with Eve

I promised to share more of my story with you about how I came to make the portrait "Eve and Her Dog", and here are several pictures I want to show you.  The first is a picture of me with my dear friend Eve Weiss, who is the subject pictured in "Eve and Her Dog".  Many thanks to Eve's daughter Ricky, and to her husband Roberto for their help with this surprise for Eve.

Eve and I

A detail of the moulding that my framer, San Art Frame Shop used to frame Eve's portrait.

Just the frame was the surprise in this instance, since Eve already knew about the drawing I was making of her with Stubby, and here is the picture that Ricky's husband, Roberto, took when we showed it to Eve.

The story of Eve and I really began before I was born, when Eve, her husband Gus, and my Dad were in the same study group together and became friends at NYU Law School.  I first met Eve, Gus, and their three children, Jonathan, Ricky, and Robin, when our family travelled to Flushing, NY to visit their family and see the New York World's Fair.  We had so much fun, both at the Fair, and with their family, and after I returned home, Eve contacted me to ask if I would make a painting of their family dog Brutus.  I was only twelve years old, and it was my first-ever portrait commission request!   Can you imagine how excited I was?  Not only that, but the oil painting of Brutus hung proudly in their home for many, many years.  So I made this drawing of Eve to thank her for inspiring me in this important way during the early years of my life's journey as an artist.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Working on Her Face, Hair, and Hand

(*August 11:  Just a little more progress, so I've added another copy of the image.)

(click image twice for a larger view)

"Kimberly With Roses," 19 1/2" x 15 1/4", egg tempera in progress on true gesso panel

Another look at the portrait after more work on the face, the hairline and portions of the hair.
In egg tempera painting, many thin translucent layers of paint in alternating warm and cool tones are juxtaposed to gradually solidify forms and build luminosity as it goes forth.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Working on the Veil

A detail from "Kimberly with Roses" (in progress) 19 1/2" x 15 1/4" egg tempera on true gesso panel (click the image twice for a larger view)

When I work on a medium or large egg tempera portrait I like to establish it a section at a time.  Later I'll go back and begin integrating and refining things more.  Right now the background is still unpainted, but that will come into it later too.  During the most recent painting sessions I focused most of my attention on the Indian wedding veil, particularly the large appliques with embroidery, beads, and sequins.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In Progress: Two Portraits of the Same Person

"The 'Mary' in Kimberly" (in progress) prior to the application of gold leaf and further work on the white veil.
Gold leaf will be applied to the background and sides of the arched panel over the dark red area.
(click each image twice to see a larger version)

Another portrait of Kimberly in progress, wearing an Indian wedding veil and holding roses.

Sometimes I like to paint a series of portraits of the same person utilizing a theme.  In this case, I'm working with a spiritual theme, trying to portray that quality of the divine as it expresses itself within and through Kimberly as a person.
For more details on the thinking behind this series and it's spiritual aspects, visit Grander Joy of Spirit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Kimberly with Roses," in Progress

"Kimberly with Roses," (in progress) 19 1/2" x 15 1/4", egg tempera on true gesso panel

I'm enjoying very much painting this portrait which includes both international and spiritual influences. I've begun it in egg tempera on a medium-sized panel.

Egg tempera is a wonderful medium for achieving fine detail and luminosity in portraiture, which can be used alone or in conjunction with oil paint. Egg tempera paint is made by mixing powdered pigments directly with egg yolk and distilled water. It has a long and interesting history, and prior to the invention of oil paint, was the single most popular medium for painting.

I'll share updates on this portrait as it progresses.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Completed Portrait of Eve and Her Dog

  "Eve and Her Dog," 15 1/2" x 21 1/2", charcoal and pastel on Arches Aquarelle paper (click the image to see it large)

Here is the completed portrait of Eve.  I did two preliminary drawings before getting to this final version, primarily because after sketching it out I realized I wanted to try it larger to improve the level of detail while still utilizing charcoal and pastel.  This drawing was inspired by a very small black and white photograph taken of Eve and her sweet dog, Stubby, on a black rooftop.

This is a nostalgia portrait of Eve in her youth, and memories can be very important to a portrait like this.  In the first sketch I had Eve on a white towel on the black roof as she was in the photo. When we talked a bit about her memories of this time, Eve said she always remembers the trees everywhere, and could I put trees into the background of whatever version I came up with. Then I suggested a beach scene with the trees, and she liked that too.  In this way both of our ideas combined and contributed to her portrait's final outcome.

(*additional note:  I've replaced the photo of the art in this post with a better record copy, and there is a little more background about this portrait I'd love to share, but it must wait a few weeks, since it's a surprise.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

studio problem

Just a note that, until it is fixed, a practical problem in my studio has prevented me from working normal hours, but I hope to resume posting as soon as things improve.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eve and Her Dog (in Progress)

        "Eve and Her Dog," (in progress) 21" x 15 1/2", charcoal and pastel on Arches Aquarelle paper

          More to come soon on this portrait................

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pencil Pair

    "Ona, Corin, and Bluebird," (SOLD) 11" x 7" graphite on vellum, (click the image to see it larger, then click again to see it largest)

"Ona, Corin, and Bluebird" portrays two sisters who are delightful friends and former neighbors of mine, standing next to one of my miniature paintings which hangs in their home, "The Bluebird of Happiness".

More coming soon too on my new charcoal portrait of Eve Weiss.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Portraits of Public Figures

"Spirit of Aretha," 4" x 4"(shown actual size), miniature portrait in egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

Here are two portraits of public figures.  Aretha Franklin is portrayed in miniature, and below her, is a detail from a portrait still in progress of Nelson Mandela, showing him on the occasion of his first visit to New York City right after his release from long imprisonment.  More to come on the Mandela portrait, which will eventually include a white dove flying above him, in a future post.

Next I'll be sharing my work on a portrayal in charcoal of my friend Eve Weiss.

portrait in progress of Nelson Mandela, showing the scarf he wore on his visit to NYC shortly after his release,  20" x 16", egg tempera on Strathmore board

Monday, June 28, 2010

Portraits in Graphite

                                "Casey," 7 1/2" x 8 1/4", graphite on vellum (click the image to see it larger)

"Corin," (detail), graphite on vellum (click to see it large)

          "Corin," 10" x 8", graphite on vellum (click to zoom)

Portraits of Lauren

"Sweet Pea Blossom," 2 5/16" x 1 13/16", egg tempera on vellum

Throughout her life I have done a number of portraits of my niece, Lauren, and here
are two of them. "Sweet Pea Blossom" is a miniature portrait of Lauren between the age of
1 and 2, and "Lauren's Graduation Day" portrays her on the day of her college
graduation in May of this year.

"Lauren's Graduation Day," 5" x 7", silverpoint, graphite, and egg tempera on toned panel