The making of the Gilles Marini portrait

I only began painting five years ago at the age of 50. I never in a million years would have thought that I had enough talent to be able to create a piece of art like this. There’s no way I would have ever thought that it would be good enough to send to the inspiring person behind the piece, let alone be hung in his home. But I guess that’s what happens when you persist, practice, fail and keep on going.

About Gilles Marini

After painting a number of portraits in charcoal, I decided to try a new technique using a type of texture paste that I created myself. I wanted to create a 3D type affect in the art.

When deciding who I was going to paint, I reflected on people I admire who are in the entertainment world. I have watched Gilles Marini for a number of years. His roles in Switched at Birth, Brothers and Sisters and Sex and the City had me glued to the screen. His sexy and charismatic European charm had me hooked. Then I watched him on two seasons of Dancing with the Stars. Oh my! He was amazing. I then started to look into who he is as a human and soon learned, that apart from being a solid family guy, he is also passionate about the LGBTQI community and gay rights. He’s even gone as far as raising money for both causes. These character traits and his defined cheek bones, had me convinced. I was going to paint my first celebrity!

The Painting

Once it was painted I posted it on my Instagram account. I tagged Gilles and also sent him a DM telling him what I’d done. He had no idea who I was yet was kind enough to respond. He loved the painting so much and couldn’t believe what he saw. I was so humbled by his response and we began a conversation.

Gilles is a huge supporter of the arts in general. He saw me as an artist just as he sees himself as an artist and genuinely connected with me in that way.

We chatted for a few months. I decided I wanted to gift the painting to Gilles. I offered to send it to him and he was so surprised and honoured to accept it.

I posted it to his home in LA. The video at the start of this post is of him unveiling it. He was kind enough to make the video and posted it on his instagram account. Needless to say it has profiled my art in a way I could not have imagined.


My Painting Technique

The painting was created using a texture paste I created myself. It’s a form of 3D art. The first step was sketching out the drawing on the canvas. I then layered the texture paste and built up areas of the face to give it a 3D effect. I then painted it using a monochromatic style in black and white. It’s a large piece and very heavy when it was completed. It’s painted on canvas with deep edges. My partner then built a wooden box so we could safely ship it to LA.


If you would like a portrait created using this technique, you can contact me to discuss your requirements.

A Personal Message from Gilles Marini

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