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Although oil painter Mollie Erkenbrack grew up in a world of boots, jeans and cowboy hats, her figurative portraits are both elegant and contemporary.

As you’ll see in today’s paintings, Mollie mixes traditional realism with just the right amount of exaggerated expressionism to create pieces that are truly striking.

The woman in the Red Hat below is a woman who simply will not, and cannot be ignored. She poses, still as a stone, on a vintage couch, focusing both on the viewer and on not tipping her wide-brimmed hat off balance.


With her knowing eyes and expectant pout, it’s almost as if she is subtly daring us to whisk her away to some adventure. . . the mesmerizing glow Mollie creates seems to come directly from the woman, softening her and making her that much more approachable.

Taking one step closer to her subject, in Flower and Lace, Mollie depicts a woman who seems to be caught in a daydream—an effortless beauty lost in thought.


Lovely earthen colors fill the canvas, easing us into a comfortable frame of mind, while the woman’s distant hazel eyes gaze past us into a future that no one but her can see.

It’s a hauntingly beautiful portrait full of emotion and possibilities, due in no small part to the simple, yet skillful dabs of paint placed impressionistically around the canvas.

Lastly, in the extremely figurative The Shawl II, we see a woman still as a stature, as if made of porcelain or stone herself.


She is frozen in place, stubborn and unwavering, enduring just like the hard wall behind her has withstood the test of time however cracked it might be.

For more of Mollie’s lovely portraits, or to check out her wide variety of other work, please visit her website at MollieErkenbrack.com.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

With more than 25 years of artistic experience, Mehran Rashidfarokhy has traveled throughout Europe and the United States and painted some of the world’s most sophisticated, natural and awe-inspiring wonders. Today, we'll take a look at a few of his impressionistic city and landscape scenes, starting with a place where the streets. . . read more

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