The Guild of Boston Artists
Boston's premier source for contemporary realism

Portraits by Mary Minifie

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Mary Minifie

Mary Minifie was educated at Wellesley College and earned an M.F.A. from Boston University School of Fine Arts. For the next ten years she lived and worked abroad in Cairo, Egypt, Oxford, England, and Vienna, Austria, exhibiting widely. In 1985 when she returned to the U.S., she began her study of portrait and the figure with portrait painter, Paul Ingbretson.


  • B.A. – Wellesley College, 1973, studio art and art history major

  • M.F.A. – Boston University School of Fine Arts, 1976, painting major

Private Study with portrait painter Paul Ingbretson, a modern master of the Boston School tradition, Boston, Massachusetts 1985-1997
2001 – American Society of Portrait Artists, National Competition, Honorable Mention, 4th Place for
Woman in Pink
1998 – The Washington Society of Portrait Artists, WSPA National Competition, Honorable Mention for Portrait for Ben
1998 – First Prize for Painting for Woman with Pearls, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Foundation Show, National Arts Club, New York, New York
1999 – John Stobart Foundation Grant Recipient, followed by one artist show at The Kensington – Stobart Gallery, Naples, Florida – March, 2001

February, 2005 – Feature article on portraits in American Artist
2004 – Featured in International Artist’s book “100 Ways to Paint Flowers and Gardens”
April, 2001 – “Portrait Painting” published in Artist’s Magazine; Page 45


National Cathedral, Washington, DC – Icon Commission
Boston Ballet, Boston, Massachusetts – 30th Anniversary Series Portrait of a Dancer
Many private portrait commissions
There are almost as many ways to have a portrait painted as there are people. Every single portrait is uniquely designed to fit the needs and purposes of the sitter. I like to meet with each person to find what their wishes are, what kind of painting they want and how much time they have to sit for the painting.

I feel the best portraits are done from life. Real time with a person gives good natural color, a strong sense of form and best of all, much more time to get to know the sitter and watch their faces from different angles and with different expressions. However, having time to sit is not always possible or desirable for everyone. A good photo taken in natural light is a valuable tool and can create a beautiful portrait.

It is important to discuss the idea of the portrait: will it be formal or casual, standing or sitting, what clothing, what background. In the first session all this can be established and some photos taken. If possible, I like to have another session to do a color study from life. Each session usually lasts about three hours.

In working from life, I will need five to eight sittings. I am accustomed to working while people listen to the radio, books on tape, or watch videos (children). Every twenty minutes or half an hour is break time to stand up and stretch, eat or drink and relax. I will come to a client’s house to work or work in my studio in Manchester, New Hampshire.