Sunday, December 9, 2012

Progress on the Hat Ladies Series

"Madame Butterfly" (in progress), 5" x 7", oil on panel
"Lady in Pink" (in progress), 5" x 7", oil on

My Hat Ladies series is coming along nicely, and I'll do one more post with
these in their frames.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Honorable Mention award for Portraiture

"Self Portrait at 34", 3 3/4" x 3", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

Great news!  I was delighted to hear today that I won an Honorable Mention award for Portraiture from the Miniature Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers Society for my self portrait in miniature!  The judge for this year's annual competition in Washington D.C. was Jane Mihalik, a talented miniature painter and artist whose work I have long admired.  I hope to be able to arrange attending the opening weekend of the show, Nov. 17 and 18, and the first public showing will be from 2PM to 4PM on Nov. 18 at the Strathmore Mansion in North Bethesda.  The show continues through Dec. 29, and I hope if you will be in the area you'll be able to see it.  I believe it remains the 2nd largest miniature show in the U.S.

For details on visiting the show in person, and to see some of the other award winning works which will be included the show, you can visit the exhibition page at

Monday, October 15, 2012

Three accepted paintings in international competition in Washington D.C. next month

"Self Portrait at 34", 3 3/4" x 3", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

"Carribean Cruise Flag", 3 1/16" x 2 1/2", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

"Madonna in the Leaves", 2 5/8" x 1 7/8", egg tempera on Kelmscott vellum

Hello everyone!  Although they are not new, here are my three accepted entries for the 79th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature  of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers Society of Washington D.C.  All three paintings are for sale and can be viewed in person, November 19 to December 29, 2012 at the Strathmore Mansion in North Bethesda, Maryland.  For details see

Hoping to fit in more miniature painting soon, but I've been tied up on a number of portrait commissions, all of which are larger works of art.  For the latest on those, please visit  Mona Conner Portraits

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Amelia's Starry Night"

              "Amelia's Starry Night", 3" x 2 1/2", (frame size 6 1/2" x 4"), 
             egg tempera miniature portrait on Kelmscott vellum
                                              "Amelia's Starry Night" (shown slightly larger for detail)

And here is little Amelia in April with her first ponytail!    Is this little girl cute or what?!

Here is my miniature portrait of Amelia, who is the daughter of Erika and Brian Boccia.  Amelia's mom, Erika, is my sister-in-law's niece.   P.S. :  I neglected to mention this earlier in my post, but  I used a special powder pigment made from the gemstone lapis lazuli along with the other blues in the sky of this painting.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Entry for the 5th World Federation Exhibit in Moscow

"After the Davidson College Graduation", 4 9/16" x 3", egg tempera on panel, (reframed to meet frame size parameters)

Here is the entry I submitted for the 5th World Federation of Miniaturists Exhibition which is slated to take place in the Gallery of the Russian Academy of Art in Moscow, Russia in September of this year. To enter this painting required me to reframe it in order to meet the stringent frame size limit.

It actually wound up to be my most difficult framing job ever, which entailed wiring the frame vertically from the inside! The hand-painted matt is a softer color of coral than the digital picture conveys, and the silver-gilded frame has a warm feeling with threads of gold in it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Two Miniature Masterpieces at The Renaissance Portrait show in NYC

"A Woman, Possibly a Nun of San Secondo", approx. 3"x 4", by Jacometto Veneziano, oil on wood , ca. 1485 - 1495
Robert Lehman collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Alvise Contarini", by Jacometto Veneziano, approx. 3 1/2" x 5", oil on wood,
Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing several very special shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Italian art from the Renaissance, and in particular, The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini held my interest for hours! What a fascinating show it is, which winds up not only revealing the early history of portraiture, but also becomes a virtual survey of some of the important transitions which artists were making at that time from the medium of egg tempera to oil, and variations thereof.

Among larger masterpieces and sculptures were many profile portraits, so characteristic of this period, but also these two miniature paintings, which happen to be part of the Met's permanent collection. An early 16th century reference identifies this pair as Alvise Contarini and a nun of San Secundo. Possibly they were once a couple and the woman later became a nun after the death of her husband. She certainly looks nun-like to the contemporary eye, yet according to Renaissance dress codes, she is still wearing secular garb in her portrait.

But looking at how these are painted, is it possible that what is labelled 'oil on wood' might actually be tempera grassa, which could account for the very fine level of detail in the woman's hair and in the man's zazzera, a fashionable Renaissance haircut? Tempera grassa, also known as egg-oil emulsion, is a version of egg tempera which is made with oil and egg instead of water and egg, or sometimes oil in combination with water and egg. Tempera grassa recipes vary to this day, but still carry the feeling of an oil painting. In this show some of the paintings were labelled 'tempera and oil on wood'. If it's possible these miniatures were not exclusively done in oils, Veneziano may have either used a layered combination of the two mediums or tempera grassa itself. In any case, as an egg tempera painter, it was fascinating for me to see the ways in which tempera and oil were being used, and even how the application of the paint itself imitated egg tempera brush 'hatching' in some of the early oils in this show which spans 100 years or so.

The Renaissance Portrait will remain at the Met in NYC until March 18, 2012, and if you can't catch it in person, a fine book has been published in conjunction with the show. There are many examples of modern egg tempera painting on my website at and also at

Monday, January 23, 2012

Miniature Art Society of Florida International Exhibition

The final version of "Carol By Moonlight"
after Carol loaned it back to me for its
completion, 3 3/4" x 3", egg tempera on
Kelmscott vellum

"Carol By Moonlight" at the time of the presentation,
a work still in progress

presenting dear friend and MASF Social Chair Carol Curtiss with her portrait in miniature

Recently I demonstrated egg tempera painting in miniature, and presented an award fund and portrait to Carol Curtiss at this year's Miniature Art Society of Florida international exhibition. Many thanks to all with whom I spent some treasured time in Florida! Bill Mundy, we missed you! Hope you are well, hope to see you next time, and I loved seeing your portrait of Jade, along with many other amazing works of art in miniature at this year's show. Those of you who I missed meeting this time, I hope to meet soon too! In my next post I will share something from my egg tempera demonstration in Florida, and a miniature baby portrait of proud mom Erika's daughter Amelia. Meanwhile, a few more great moments from this year's show:

It was such a joy spending some in-person time with fellow artists and bloggers
Barbara Stanton, Debra Kierce, and Akiko Watanabe!

Online friends and colleagues were delighted meet in Florida, many for the first time in person. L to R, Lynn Ponto -Peterson (Best of Show), me, Akiko Watanabe, Barbara Stanton, Debra Kierce, Wes and Rachelle Siegrist, Pat Getha (photo courtesy of Barbara Stanton)

With dear friend and show Administrator extraordinaire, Herb Weed at the Awards Brunch

An emotional moment as Kay Petryszak presents a lifetime MASF membership to her husband and MASF Exhibition Chair, Mike Petryszak