ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Eileen Marquez started painting when she was 10 years old. Her father came home one night with an oil painting set for her and from that moment on, she was hooked.
Marquez used to paint landscapes, but she recently switched to portraits. Any artist will say the two styles can be challenging and rewarding, but they are very different.
She had no idea she could do both.
Marquez says portraits take her longer than landscapes. She likes to get the faces just right.
"It’s a fun experience because you start to feel like you get to know the person you’re painting," she said.
She recently completed a series that she titled "Goddess Series of Inspiring Women."
She was inspired after seeing Michelle Obama's portrait at the Brooklyn Museum.
Not only was she amazed by her stately presence and her beauty, but also how excited women in the room got to see her.
Marquez said, "I chose these women that I felt were internationally recognized and that inspired for most of all, but I also think would inspire a lot of people."
Her first portrait painting was of Michelle Obama.
Then she went on to Malala Yousafzai, a young woman from Pakistan who, as a girl, was shot by the Taliban, recovered, and became a global activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Marquez has also painted portraits of Georgia voting rights advocate and gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams; U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve in the US cabinet; Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg; former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; talk show host and media mogul Oprah; Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black person and first female to hold the office; and a variety of other inspirational women.
"I think that women still feel challenged today and I think they will see that these are people who rose about their circumstances to achieve great things in their occupation and fields and I hope that inspires them to keep going, to never take no for an answer and to achieve their dreams and hopes," Marquez said.
Eileen Marquez's 'Goddess Series of Inspiring Women" is on display through February 4 at the Woodfield Fine Art Gallery on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Visit eileenmarquez.com for more.