Archives For portrait

Baby Brothers

Mary Liz Ingram —  April 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

Recently I had the great pleasure to do three precious portraits of baby brothers. They are such cute little babies, I just kept staring at them while they rested on my art desk!

Here’s a peek at my portrait process:

There’s always that middle point, when I begin to cover the bright colors, when I panic. And babies especially make me sweat, with their smooth little faces. You have to be so careful to keep all shadows and lines subtle, to keep their chubby cheeks chubby and their newness young.

Introducing three cute little buddies, and a huge thanks for this fun commission!

Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel


Baby Brother, 8x10 pastel

Baby Brother, 8×10 pastel



Mary Liz Ingram —  April 4, 2014 — 1 Comment

A portrait really is something special.

Of all the art in my house (and I have a lot, as you can imagine), the ones that make me stop and stare and think and smile are the portraits of my three kids.

I grew up with an artist for a grandmother. Her den was filled with family portraits that she painted. I could describe every detail, because I spent so much time looking at them. When she died, everyone took their portraits home, a treasure that lasts. She made them with her own hands, and her children and grandchildren pass them down.

Now I have the honor to do that for my own children, and for other people. I love to look at the pastels I’ve drawn of my three buddies, and think (or hope) that one day they will treasure them in their own home. Something lovingly made by an adoring mother, attempting to express what treasures they are by creating a piece of art to capture a moment.

If you’d like me to create a lasting treasure for your family, check out my portrait page. I’d love to get started and create something meaningful for someone you love too.

Now let me share my newest piece, finally adding my little Nora to the wall, next to her brother and sister. I will have this piece on display at my art show in Crestline tomorrow, April 5th.

Nora, 18x24 pastel

Nora, 18×24 pastel

I’m teaching a class to a group of beginning pastelists: Some students have read up on pastel techniques, others may have had a few classes. My first instruction always throws them for a loop: “Begin with lots of black!”

As I’ve said before, I’m a self-taught artist…When it comes to pastels, I fiddled with them alone at my art desk until I discovered results I liked. And it all started with black.

Below you will find a quick tutorial using my own technique to create vibrant, textured pastel paintings. Continue Reading…

Nora, 3 months, Graphite Sketch…Today is the birthday of Edgar Degas, the French Impressionist famous for his figures of ballerinas, bathers, and other turn-of-the-century subjects. He also happens to be my favorite artist and major influence on my own art. I especially love Degas’ pastels…the vibrant contrasts, the intense markings, the vivid colors. His preparatory sketches are often a combination of strong, dark shadows mixed with precise, yet loose, lines. I like to study his work and absorb what I can into my own way of seeing color and interpreting subjects. In homage to Degas, I chose a figure drawing for my daily sketch, drawing my sleeping baby girl (who was a bit squirmier than I expected, once drawing commenced!) I used my darkest pencil, marking in the shadows, contemplating the art of Degas as I recorded this day in my baby’s young life.

The Tub, Edgar Degas, Pastel

Two Dancers Resting, Edgar Degas

Mini Portraits

marylizingramart —  July 31, 2011 — 1 Comment

Portraits don’t always have to be large! This trio of portraits were done in pastel on 4×4 inch peices of Sennelier La Carte Pastel paper. It’s a different sort of challenge, working small with chunky pieces of pastel, but it is a challenge I enjoy!

Marion Farmhouse, 9×12 Soft Pastel on Pastelbord

Warm Spring days and June approaching… cue weddings, weddings and more weddings! This Spring, my daughter was flower girl twice, and we attended 3 weddings in a month! My cousin was married in April on a beautiful family farm in Perry County (Marion, Alabama to be precise) on the steps of the old farmhouse.

What better way to commemorate the day and make a unique gift than a portrait of the wedding location! If you are searching for the perfect wedding (or anniversary!) gift for your friends, your family, your spouse, or yourself, send me the photo of your wedding location and I will turn it into a lasting piece of art!

Visit for pricing and more information.

Smooth, sandy, rough, scratchy, thick, thin…and stippled! As I’ve said many times before, there is a plethora of pastel surfaces and textures upon which great art can be made. The newest paper sample I’ve tried is from Bee Paper Company and is called “Stipple Paper,” thanks to my friends at Forstall Art Center. The paper feels smooth and slick to the touch, with a finely pebbled surface. I decided to try a small portrait with several types of pastels to get a good feel for this new texture.

Here is my result:

5×51/2 Soft Pastel on Stipple Paper

I used five types of pastels: my usual favorite, the very soft Sennelier Pastels; the slightly harder soft pastels by Rembrandt; a variety of soft pastel pencils; a black Conte pastel; and an inexpensive set of square soft pastels.

To compare the application, on the image below I used all five: starting from the top left, the black is the square pastel, then the Sennelier in the top center, bottom right is Rembrandt, bottom left is the Conte. I sketched out the mage in a brown pastel pencil. All pastels adhered well with minimal excess dust.

I rubbed some blues in with my finger to begin the sidewalk, and filled in the black.

I finished up the piece by using Sennelier to finish the background, pastel pencils and Rembrandts for the face, Rembrandts with Sennelier highlights for the hair, and Sennelier for the shirt and clover. I was pleased with the result of the Stipple Paper and appreciate that all the types of pastel worked so well. I also enjoyed the sleek yet pebbled texture, and prefer it over the spotty texture you get from a traditional piece of pastel paper, such as Canson or Mi Tientes. From a sillier place in my mind, I like the paper because of its name…”Stipple Paper”…its just fun to say!

Charcoal Portrait by commission, 11×14 on Pastel Card

This is the first charcoal portrait I have done in quite a while, usually being commissioned for either full color pastel or graphite portraits. I used various pieces of compressed charcoal, some very soft, some hard, as well as some old Willow Charcoal that was my grandmother’s many, many years ago. I drew the portraits on Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card in a light sienna, allowing the sandy texture to enhance the piece. I was satisfied with the result, and enjoyed the darkness and smooth application of the charcoal, as compared to the sketchy, almost shiny quality of graphite. I hope to do more charcoal portraits in the future!

(P.S. This portrait was done as a rush order, so if you are ever interested in giving a piece of art as a gift, but think the deadline is too close, think again! I am always happy to do what I can to make it happen in time!)

Full Body Portraits

marylizingramart —  December 29, 2010 — Leave a comment

Many of the commissions I have had lately have been for full body portraits. In these pieces, I enjoyed the unity of the background and subject, with colorfully muted backgrounds and vividly detailed figures.