Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Portrait Paintings and Drawings of Women: A Tradition We Need to Revive!

by Nomi Wagner

As a portrait photographer for 20 years, one of my specialties was glamour photography … very popular in the 1980’s. Thinking back, the 80’s was a time when many of us women felt good about ourselves and wanted to have a remembrance of it. Women of all ages came to my studio so that I could photograph them in flattering poses. I even had a make-up person on staff. One of my clients, a woman now approaching 90, keeps in touch and always tells me how much that glamorous portrait still means to her. It hangs in her new home in Idaho.

I remembered all of this while recently painting a portrait for a lovely Maryland business executive. As a portrait artist, I paint people at their very best, but still looking like themselves. With each brushstroke, I get to be their make-up artist, hairdresser, jeweler, and clothing stylist ... this is such a fun job! In this particular case, I improved my client’s posture and expression from the way she was posed in the reference photo she sent. As the portrait progressed, she started to remind me of a Modigliani painting. Her portrait was a joy for me to create and here is her email to me last week:

Dear Nomi,
My portrait is superb!! Thank you very very much. I will have the canvas framed and send you a picture. My daughter loved it!

Nomi Wagner's portrait paintings, Sasso

Another example of a glamorous portrait painting was this bridal portrait, commissioned by the groom as a wedding gift for his bride. I always find it interesting what good posture can do for a person … so again, that’s where I started when creating this portrait painting, referring to a studio photo the bride had emailed. I lightened the mood in the painting, and this time I got to be the florist when painting her bouquet! I loved painting the jewelry, sheer shawl, and the embroidered detail on her gown. This portrait is an immense canvas hanging over the fireplace in my clients’ Los Angeles home.

Nomi Wagner's portrait paintings, Wanski, bridal

 I love the self-portrait I painted some years back with our late Maltese. You can see it on the Pets Artwork page of my site. And below is an early drawing I did of myself. I know I don’t look the same anymore on the outside, but I still feel like that younger woman on the inside.

I wish I would be commissioned to create more portrait paintings for women. Contact me, and let’s start a trend! Women should have beautiful portraits of themselves, as they have had for centuries. Bring back the 80’s … and don’t forget the big hair, gorgeous clothes, and shoulder pads! 

Nomi Wagner, portrait painting of self