Deb Marett

Milwaukee, USA

portrait artist available for commission

I have found my artistic voice in slowing down the incessant news feed of global information that surrounds us, and developing slowly rendered portraits that defy our “selfie-filled” fast paced lives. I have found that painting someone’s portrait is a great way to get to know them. I even change what music I listen to, and what movies I watch while I work on a piece, depending on that person’s personality and story. There is so much beauty in every face.

Deb – oil painting portrait artist

The development of a good likeness is a magical process: “I feel that painting someone’s portrait is a very collaborative, giving act. It may just be me in the studio, but my subjects’ presence and character are always on my mind as I work.”

At what age did you know you wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always known that art was a part of me. If someone asked me when I was 5 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them I want to be an artist.

Which classical or contemporary artists have inspired you?

I am very inspired by Vigee’ LeBrun, who was a female portrait artist in the late 1700’s. Even now there are relatively few well know women portraitists. She thrived against many odds–she became Marie Antoinette’s official portrait artist.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I paint realistic portraits. My role is not to be a mirror, however. I see my work as finding something more than just a straight reflection of who I am painting, and to represent more of their personality in my painting.

What's your workstyle? Do you work on one piece at a time or work simultaneously on multiple pieces?

I work out of my home, and I tend to work mornings and evenings. On a Saturday I may well work from 9 am til 1 am, if I really start rolling on a piece. I work on one or two pieces at a time.

How do you get the inspiration for a new piece?

Painting a portrait is a very giving, collaborative process. I am always thinking about my subject, even when they aren’t in the studio with me. I even change what music I listen to, depending on who I am painting at the time.

Tell us a bit about your personal life ...

Besides being an artist I am also a part time figure skating coach. I love to travel, and I dream of living in the mountains of North Carolina someday.

It is in portraiture that I found my true artistic voice, and have been devotedly painting the faces and people around me (“pretty much anyone who will sit still long enough.”) ever since.

A few samples from Deb’s gallery

Custom Head and Shoulder Example

Custom Three-Fourth View Portrait Example

Why they love Deb’s art

Jody Hedman, Milwaukee, WI

“My family has known Deb Marett for 5 years and when I learned that she painted portraits, I was eager to have her create a portrait of my daughter.  I have never done something like this before and Deb made it easy by walking me through each step of the process. She even provided views of the portrait as it was being created. Deb created a wonderful keepsake for our family that captures the very essence of our daughter.”

More about Deb

Shows & Exhibitions


SOLO — 2017

“FAMOUS”: Racine Arts Council Gallery, Racine, WI, Feb-March 2017

The show’s debut in Racine included an evening of talks and discussion with eight of the portrait subjects. The keynote speaker was internationally acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

“FAMOUS”: Inspiration Studios Gallery, West Allis, WI, August 2017

Group Shows:

Madison Women’s Expo, Madison, WI, Nov. 2016

Monona Public Library, “Opening the Book: Interpretations and Inspirations,” Sept-Oct 2016

Milwaukee Gallery Night, “Momentum,” Village Church Gallery, Oct 2016

“Get Behind The Arts” Studio Tour, Racine, WI, 2014

Gallery 659, “Portraits” Show, Whiting, IN, 2014

Racine Art Museum, “Watercolor Wisconsin,” Racine, WI, 2013-2014

Cedarburg Cultural Center, “Plein Air Cedarburg,” Cedarburg, WI, 2013

Arts of Daychollah Gallery, “Plein Air Green Lake,” Green Lake, WI, 2013

American Deposit Management Corporate Headquarters, Delafield, WI, 2012

Lakeview Studios Annual Show, Racine, WI, 2004-2008

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, “Open Canvas,” Milwaukee, WI, 2002–2007 Wisconsin Lutheran College Art Gallery, “In The Garden,” Milwaukee, WI, 2003

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Faculty/Staff Art Show, Milwaukee, WI, 2002

Spectrum Art Gallery, Racine, 3-person exhibit, other group shows, WI, 2000–2002