Fall 2016 Literary Portraits, Part 1... Colette, Anais Nin & Marcel Proust

Ahhh, France...I spent a week in Paris this August and was inspired to create some portraits of my favorite French writers. Here are my latest watercolor paintings...French Literary Portraits!

First off was the incredible Marcel Proust.

Marcel Proust Literary Portrait

Debra Styer, "In Search of Proust", 2016

Here's my sketch of Marcel. Just look at those eyes...

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is best know for his 7 volume literary work, "In Search of Lost Time" aka " A Remembrance of Things Past". He is known to be one of the greatest writers of all time and one of my favorites.

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
Marcel Proust
Young Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust c. 1895

Next up, my portrait of French writer Colette!

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

My illustrated ode to French Novelist, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette AKA Colette (1873-1954). Best known for writing about the underbelly of the french art and literary worlds. Some of her most famous books were "Cheri", "Gigi," the "Caroline" series and "L'ingenue libertine."

Her stories spoke of the problems of love, of passion, and sex. She was no shrinking violet in her writing or her life and I love her for that. She is one of my literary heroes. A true feminist.

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
Colette
Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime,  Rêve d’Égypte -  Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime, Rêve d’Égypte - Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Isn't she awesome?

Finally, my portrait of the fabulous Anais Nin!

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

The incredible Anais Nin has always been one of my favorite writers! I poured through her diaries in my younger years and her thoughts always echoed my own. She is artistic, feminist and a writer who shared all of her darkness and her triumphs with her readers as if she was speaking with a friend.

Nin is most known for her diaries (which she wrote throughout her life), erotica, and love affairs with famous men. She was both loved and hated by the literary establishment, and struggled to be taken seriously as a writer. But to me, she became a icon of literature.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin
Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by  Elsa Dorfman

Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by Elsa Dorfman

I hope you like all my new portraits, they are currently available in the shop.

Who's your favorite french writer?

It has been a crazy few months, (sorry about the lack of log post) I've had the luck of spending a month visiting Europe, which was incredible. My head is still spinning. I hope to write a nice long post about it but for now, it will all just have to sit in my memories. I have been drawing and painting a lot, and hope to share the second set of literary portraits in the next week or two.

Gazing at the Stars, a New Custom Portrait Painting.

Update: Awesome small world moment...Damon and I are sitting in a cafe (still in Paris) enjoying our dinner when a couple walks in the café. I can't see the woman but I totally recognise the guy. Of course, my brain is swimming with possibilities. Is he a actor or a politician perhaps? Nope. Turns out it was a couple that I painted a few months ago. Their friend commissioned a custom painting from me. I had been staring at their faces for about a month. I went up and said hello. They totally loved their portrait and we sent a photo of all of us to their friend. Oh, and did I mention they are from Australia? So weird...

Here's my latest custom portrait illustration of a lovely couple from astrology loving Australian couple gazing upon their star signs and each other. She's a Taurus and he is a Virgo. Is that a good match?

This was my first night time portrait. It was really wonderful to play with the colors and the light.

Aren't they adorable?

Aren't they adorable?

All of my custom portraits are hand painted with watercolor and gouache paints, over a graphite drawing. All I need is a few photos from you and I can get to work!

Send me a message if you want to learn more. I will be happy to make a custom portrait just for you.

BTW, I have been working on a new series of paintings for Maeza magazine. I am busy illustrating one of my favorite short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia". I will post them as soon as I am finished! Here is a preview of the haunted/haunting couple:

Mini Art Show & New Illustrated Victorian Watercolor Portraits

If you've been wondering what I've been so busy doing lately, well, I am happy to say that I have been creating on a whole lot of new art. Starting tomorrow, I have a bunch of lovely new illustrated watercolor paintings up at the Mysterious Rack (12 Clement Street) in San Francisco.

Here's a peek:

Morris, a interior designer

Miss Ester (in progress)

Miss Stella in progress


Little Elijah, a foundling looking for someone to take him in.

Madame Josephine and the Lovers, a tarot reader waiting for her cards to change

Maxwell, a tough "business" man

Miss Allie and her kitty, hoping for the best of outcomes and families

Miss Ester Framed, hoping that she might too, find someone to love her.

Miss Hazel, widow, wishing for another chance at love.

Miss Leonora, Victorian fangirl, loves a good Gothic tale.

Say hello to Miss Stella, a sweet country girl new to the big city.

Simon (in progress), a Entomologist, looking for love beyond all that creepy and crawly.
There will be a opening for them at the Mysterious Rack (12 Clement Street, San Francisco) on Thursday April 17th, 6-8pm. Stop by and say hello!

The show will be up through May! I hope you like it!

Introducing...New Victorian Portraits

I'm hoping you are all having a wonderful week. I have been very busy creating a bunch of new artwork. Here is the latest in my Ladies & Gents series...

So, without further ado, I'd like you to meet:

Garrett, age 32, map maker

Miss Eleanor, age 37, ghost story writer

Benedict, age 26,  footman

M. Lily, age 26, widow, laundry maid
I hope you like them. I have a few more to do in the series but I'm getting ready to write more in depth stories about each character. It is so fun. Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself with this project. I haven't created so much artwork in years. There is so much truth in the fact that the more you do, the more want to do.

All prints are 7 x 10 and are available in the shop.