Capturing the colour of kids
Adelaide hills artist, Mariana Mezic, has always been on the receiving end of many a request to paint portraits, and it comes as no surprise, considering the vibrancy and whimsy at the heart of her incredible and vivid large scale paintings of women; artworks simply exploding with colour and beauty that seem to have leapt straight from her own heart and onto the canvas.
Capturing the faces and smiles of the littlest among us
But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, slowing down the pace of life and shifting her focus, that Mariana was ready to dive into the challenge of portraiture. This change of pace came in the form of the faces and smiles of the littlest amongst us; the kiddos, and specifically children’s portraits. An expansion to her repertoire that she says has become a truly rewarding side to her work.
“Within my other work is a great sense of freedom and I can do whatever I want” Mariana says “with a portrait you have to honour the subject, and try to capture the person’s essence, so there’s a little bit of pressure there”. Putting her personal stamp on portraits is where Mariana finds the magic and playfulness at the heart of artistic freedom, and she’s found this energy has translated so well to children’s portraiture.
Working with graphite pencil and languid watercolours, drawing and painting from a clear photograph of a child allows Mariana to capture tiny details of the eyes, the true window, she tells us, to achieving a good likeness. And, working intuitively, Mariana finds the less she knows about the child the better.
“The work is absolutely in the moment, I have to honour my intuition in this process; if I’m weighed down with trying to capture a parents guidelines to their child, I find it blocks the freedom to put down whatever comes out”. Mariana rather asks that parents choose three colours that best suit their child, and then uses these cues to create hyper realistic faces surrounded by colourful energetic scenes that hint at her subject’s personality.
“I am forever reminding myself to be in the moment, not overthink my work, and to be childlike within my artistic expression” Mariana says “so what better subject than kids to remind me of that? I feel very inspired by each and every little face that I’ve tried to capture. In every portrait I’ve done so far, there is always a beautiful child smiling back at me, kids are so divine, and my gosh I feel so lucky to be painting them”.
Images: Meaghan Coles