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

Thursday, December 1, 2011


detail from "Yves", carbon pencil, charcoal and white pastel on gray paper

"Yves", 18" x 18"

"Yves Hands", carbon pencil on newsprint

Professional dancer, Yves, was our kind model for this week's Wednesday evening drawing session.  He hails from a city in France which is a complex of small villages known as Marseille.  The first drawing was from a 40 minute pose, and the hand study was 20 minutes.  As with "Carolina", I embellished both drawings further from memory after 
the live session.  Merci,Yves!  

Thursday, November 17, 2011


"Carolina", 9" x 12", detail from a 50 minute pose

My portrait of Carolina, a beautiful model and professional dancer who posed for SVA alumni at this week's Wednesday evening drawing session.  I spent another half hour or so at home, strengthening the values of this study.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Progress on My Spiritual Portrait Series

"Amma's Devi Bhava in Kimberly", in progress, 19 1/2" x 15 1/4", egg tempera on panel

Here, you can see some changes I am making to the leaves in the lower right corner of the painting, and a gold sash I'm adding.  After some consideration, I also decided to remove the shadow from the right side of the painting in order to open up the space more and I hope it will help me deepen the picture plane as I attempt to show the petals going back in space by varying the size of some of them, showing them smaller and further behind her.  Some of the petals have been redone, in one instance on the right-hand side, three times, in order to get a feeling going that I have been aiming for, and I think it is there, but more petals are still needed for the feeling of a 'petal shower'.

There are many mysteries to Amma's Devi Bhava flower petal blessing, and having experienced it for myself, I wish I understood it more deeply on a metaphysical level, but physically, it is a 'shower' of flower petals, from all of the flowers Amma has received in three days of darshan, so perhaps you can just imagine how wonderful it feels.  In this instance I have portrayed Kimberly with a rose petal shower for several specific reasons, and you can read more about this in my latest post on Grander Joy of Spirit

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Benjamin", 15 minute pose, charcoal pencil

We had another great model at the SVA alumni drawing practice session this week, and his name is Benjamin.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

from Wednesday evening live model drawing sessions at SVA

Drawn from a live model at the SVA alumni Wed. evening drawing sessions

An important part of portraiture for me is honing my skill with figure drawing from a live model, and as an alumni of the School of Visual Arts, I have been enjoying the free Wednesday evening drawing sessions they provide to all SVA alumni.  Student RA Shane has been coordinated these sessions, providing us with professional models who traditionally pose nude.
Nude poses help artists enormously to understand correct anatomy as it appears in various dynamics of the human figure.  The timed poses warm us up, and vary from several minutes to one 40 minute pose within each session.  The above is a detail from a 20 minute pose from last Wednesday's gathering.  Shane and the models have been great, I enjoy the camraderie, and I hope to see more of my fellow alumni and SVA buddies taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shifting the Light - More progress on the pastel of Sandra

photo of "Sandra" still in progress, pastel on La Carte pastelboard

 A scanned detail of the pastel in progress
I'm still working on shifting the light source on this pastel portrait of Sandra, so for a progress report, here are some views of it at it's current stage.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Victorian Nostalgia Portrait

"Four Sisters At Bloomingdales," (detail) from a 12" x 15" egg tempera portrait

If anyone out there has a favorite old photograph of family members or relatives, I love painting nostalgia portraits too, and the Victorian era is one of my favorite times to paint. I've even "adopted" a few relatives, as I love to collect vintage and antique photos.  One of my rare finds was a photo which was actually taken in Bloomingdales department store professional photo studio (it bore the 'Bloomingdales seal') around the turn of the last century, and I could not resist painting this scene.  Although it's an older painting of mine, done circa 1984, it still remains a personal favorite.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A scanned peek at Kimberly With Roses in progress

A scanned detail from a portion of my egg tempera spiritual portrait in progress of Kimberly with roses, egg tempera on true gesso panel
It's been almost a year since I've offered the last update on this painting on Mona Conner Portraits, but I've actually been slowly progressing with this egg tempera portrait of Kimberly over at my spiritual portrait series blog, Grander Joy of Spirit.  Large egg tempera portraits on panel do take a lot of time and patience, but are rewarding for their depth, and I thought it would be interesting to share this scanned detail, since recently I was discussing the differences in quality between a scan and a camera shot of my pastel self-portrait at age 3.  My own scanner bed is small, so it only captures about 12" x 9" from this 19 1/2" x 15 1/4" painting in progress, but it reveals to you the paint strokes, details, and depth, much better than a camera shot with my 5 mg camera, which tends to flatten out the values.  It also reveals the areas that I am still blending with many thin layers of egg tempera.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

pastel of Sandra

"Sandra", pastel in progress on La Carte pastel board

Here is a detail from a pastel portrait of Sandy I've had on the side and am working on again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Completed Value Study of Peggy and Marcelo

"Portrait Study of Peggy and Marcelo", 21" x 25 1/2", charcoal and pastel on acid-free gray matt board

detail of Peggy from the study, 21" x  15"

Here is the completed version of my first study for a couples portrait of my sister, Peggy, and brother-in-law, Marcelo.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Self Portrait at Three, completed

A scanned detail from "Self Portrait at Three"
Photo of "Self Portrait at Three", 24" x 19", pastel on Pastelmat *

It was fun to get back into this pastel portrait of myself at age three and add it's final touches.

*Sometimes a scan can really do better in matching the color, value, and depth in a work of art, so after trying a scanned detail, I've added it to the top of this post, and I'll replace this photo too, as soon as I have a scan of the full image to share.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Princess Kate #2, silverpoint with egg tempera

"Princess Kate 2", 3 7/8" x 3 1/8", framed silverpoint miniature on toned museum board with egg tempera highlights, available on Etsy

Here is the second in my series of portrayals of Princess Catherine, this time on a pink-toned background with highlights and light touches in egg tempera.  I'll add a picture of this one in it's frame later today, which is the same style and color as the frame for Princess Kate 1.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Princess Kate - One of Several Portrayals of Her in Silverpoint

"Princess Kate", (shown actual size), 3 7/8" x 3 1/8", silverpoint miniature portrait on prepared museum board in antiqued silver gilded wood oval
Here is the first of several portrayals of Princess Kate I have been working on this week.  This silverpoint miniature portrait is currently for sale on Etsy.  Stay tuned for another portrait of Princess Kate which I hope to post tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Congrats to HRH Kate on Her Special Day!

preliminary drawing for a silverpoint miniature portrait of Kate Middleton, who today becomes Her Royal Highness

In just a matter of hours, Kate Middleton will become HRH Princess Catherine! I am so excited about the Royal wedding, so I want to try a portrait of Kate. I'm already trying to picture what she may wear, and I can't wait to see her wedding gown today, -- can you?! I've read that her dress includes a nod to Princess Diana, and will be inspired by fashions from the Renaissance period. One of her jackets is a bit reminiscent of the Renaissance without the under blouse, so I've sketched that in. I thought she might wear her hair partly up and partly down. Here is a preliminary pencil drawing for a silverpoint portrait, and depending upon whether I want to include a bit of wedding apparel, this may change later today, but first I must stop to watch this historic and happy occasion. Congratulations to Kate and William!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Progress update on my portrait of Nelson Mandela

My portrait of Nelson Mandela in progress

I've been back at work on my portrait of Nelson Mandela, which is still in progress, but here is a detail from it that you can enjoy.  I'm portraying him shortly after his release from prison, when he honored New York City with a triumphant visit.  A small detail reflecting this is the gold apple pin worn on his lapel, which symbolizes the "Big Apple."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Value Study for a Couple's Portrait

value study in progress for a portrait of Peggy and Marcelo, charcoal & pastel,
done on one-half of a 26" x 20" warm grey acid-free paperboard

 I thought it would be interesting to share some of the various steps I use when preparing for a portrait commission.  I don't do all of these steps each time, but to demonstrate the possibilities, I'm working on several versions of this one, which my sister, Peggy, has commissioned of her and my brother-in-law, Marcelo.  This first version is based on the initial photo I took of them, and doing it in black and white allows me to explore the range of light to dark which is a key component I want to emerge in the finished painting.
Next is my sister, so stay tuned for the rest of this value study, and soon I hope to also post my self-portrait at age 3.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Completed Miniature Portrait of Marcia and Harry

"Marcia and Harry", 3 7//8" x 3", egg tempera on gessoed panel

Here is the main reference picture I used for this portrait (eliminating myself, and adding behind them the window view from the opposite corner of the restaurant.)

Here is the final version of the miniature portrait of Marcia and Harry.  I replaced my original scan with a better one, after also making a few tiny changes to the far right.  You will notice in both this instance and in the self-portrait in progress at age 3, that "rim lighting" illuminates the faces around the edges and with reflected light, giving them a soft glow.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Self-Portrait, Age 3, More Progress

"Self Portrait, Age 3" in progress, 19 1/2" x 23 1/2", pastel on Pastelmat

I'm making a bit of progress on the nuances of the facial features and starting to block in the pants and lower portions, so here's another update.  Still struggling a bit with this new surface, but I may try a little workable spray fix to see if it helps me refine things further.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Pastel in Progress - Self Portrait, Age 3

"Self Portrait, Age 3" in progress, 19 1/2" x 23 1/2", pastel on Pastelmat

I'll get back to a final post of my dual portrait soon, but last week I also started this pastel of myself at age 3, from a picture taken by the water in Long Beach, CA.  I am using Pastelmat for the first time, and in working on this I discovered it holds pastel very nicely, but also maxes out it's holding capacity sooner than I anticipated.  I'm going to see where it takes me on this surface, and if I'm not satisfied, I may try another pastel surface, or possibly try it in egg tempera and oil.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Dual Miniature Portrait in Progress

"Marcia & Harry" (in progress), 3 7/8" x 3 1/2", egg tempera miniature portrait on true gesso panel
Several years ago after my father passed away, my Mom met Harry, and almost 2 years ago they were married.  To celebrate Harry's birthday (they have both recently turned 85 years young) and their wedding anniversary coming up in April, I'm working on this miniature portrait.  It portrays them standing in front of the picture windows of Asiate, a lovely restaurant at the top of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City which overlooks Central Park and Columbus Circle.  I had a lovely meal with them there when they came to NYC for their honeymoon.  I have a little more work to go on this one, so I'll post it once more upon it's completion.