Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs artist paints Florida first ladies in miniature

TARPON SPRINGS — In the top-floor studio of her home, with sunlight streaming in from a skylight, Markissia Touliatos is surrounded by the beauty she has created.

Canvases on easels, lining the floor or hanging on walls depict the faces of people from all walks of life. Confidence radiates from a young woman, her head slightly tilted. Determination emanates from the eyes of an old man who has seen more vigorous days. In muted or bright colors, facial expressions of skepticism, dreaminess and contentment are all rendered in oils.

This year, Touliatos was honored with the commission to paint Florida's most recent first ladies in miniature. Carole Crist and Ann Scott have joined 12 previous first ladies whose likenesses are on display in the governor's mansion in Tallahassee.

The portraits of Crist and Scott, each encased in an oval measuring 2 inches by 21/2 inches, are based on photos selected by the two women.

Painting from a photo is a challenge for a portrait painter, Touliatos said. She must capture the essence of the women without being in their presence.

"My portraits all have a sense of life in their faces," she said. "You should think the person is looking right at you."

The Tarpon Springs artist recently attended a luncheon in honor of the latest additions to the gallery of governors' wives. In attendance were Gov. Rick Scott and Ann Scott, along with patrons who have supported the arts in the governor's mansion.

Touliatos, a New York native who has been painting commissioned portraits for more than 35 years, added miniature painting to her repertoire in the mid 1980s. She has won numerous awards in both international and national exhibits.

Locally, her 3-inch miniature of a young girl, a red ribbon atop her upswept hair, won "First in Portrait" at the Miniature Art Society of Florida international exhibition in 2010 at the Dunedin Fine Art Center.

• • •

Sitting at a desk and looking under a magnifying glass on a low stand, Touliatos paints miniatures on ivorine, a synthetic form of ivory. At times, the strain of working meticulously in a 2- or 3-inch area can be stressful and tedious.

"A miniature has to be so perfectly detailed that when you blow it up life-size, every detail holds," she said.

Touliatos tried to render the first ladies, as she has other subjects, in a positive light.

"I paint a person looking like himself or herself on a very good day," she said, "and that is all about skin."

Painting skin is Touliatos' trademark — a skill noted by students at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, where the artist has taught several classes since 2008.

"People come to learn skin tones from me," she said.

The faces of Carole Crist and Ann Scott seem to glow in their 2-inch frames. That glow is the result of a time-consuming method the artist refers to as "the lift off technique."

Using her magnifying glass and a special lamp that produces high-quality lighting with reduced glare, Touliatos creates a healthy, youthful skin by painting with layers of transparent color. She then lifts off portions of the paint with a small brush, little by little, leaving light and shadows and a creamy complexion on her subjects.

She follows two other local women in painting the state's first ladies: the late Jane Blake of Seminole, who painted the first twelve, and Jeanne Donne of Clearwater, who painted the next four but is too ill to continue her art.

Touliatos is happy to have been selected to take on the role of portraying current and future first ladies in miniature. Mostly, she wants to be sure she has captured a sense of the women, however small the pictorial rendition.

"Every minute detail and every single mark must be precise," she said, "so you don't lose the sense of life in the portrait."

. Fast facts

Markissia Touliatos

To learn more about Touliatos' art, go to markissia.com or call (727) 560-8161.

Tarpon Springs artist paints Florida first ladies in miniature 05/23/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 7:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, current and former officials said, according to the Washington Post.

    After President Donald Trump fired James Comey, shown here, as FBI director, the Washington Post is reporting, Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
  2. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”
  3. Romano: Time is up chief, make a call on police body cameras

    Crime

    Excuse me chief, but it's time to take a stand.

    St. Petersburg police Chief Tony Holloway
  4. Potential new laws further curb Floridians' right to government in the Sunshine

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — From temporarily shielding the identities of murder witnesses to permanently sealing millions of criminal and arrest records, state lawmakers did more this spring than they have in all but one of the past 22 years to chip away at Floridians' constitutional guarantees to access government records and …

    The Legislature passed 17 new exemptions to the Sunshine Law, according to a tally by the First Amendment Foundation.
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.