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Copyright Marla J. Loss, Oil 14" x 18"

Misha and Tolstoy

Original: Private Collection

It’s not beauty that endears but love that makes us see beauty.”— Leo Tolstoy


I was doing traditional oil portraits the year I painted Misha. Her mind is “haloed” with a quote from Leo Tolstoy, the author of Anna KareninaWhat is Art? and The Kingdom of God is Within You.


Do people become beautiful when filtered through the lens of love? How and why are we wired to see people, colors, or vistas as beautiful? I don’t have the answers, and as an artist I wrestle with whether my artwork should be beautiful. Not all of it is. I’m not even sure why I included this quote, except that Tolstoy is a favorite author of mine and Misha is of Russian descent. She seemed like a flower in bloom with her peach shawl, porcelain skin and multicolored hair. Warm light shines on her face, casting cool blues on the shadowed half of her features.


[Misha and Tolstoy] has the depth of skintones needed. Starting with the cold undertones and building up to the correct warm highlights has really punched the 3d effect and caused your model to glow. Very successful! Good Job Marla! … the colors and values in the finished painting really bring this painting to life. Sometimes this is all the artist's design....sometimes its your style.....sometimes the lighting is just right on the model.”  —Keith Kendall, The Art Store Owner, Prescott, AZ


You have the colors of the rainbow in her hair.” — Liz Lindstrom, Portrait Artist

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