Saturday, May 9, 2015

Meet Artist Michele Antisdel and Enter to Win a Custom Pet or Human Portrait

Hi Michele, Thank you so much for doing this interview for us and for offering one of your custom Pet Portraits or Human Portraits to a lucky winner!

Please introduce yourself, tell us about your background and how you became interested in drawing human and pet portraits.
Well, my name is Michele Antisdel. I live in East Haven but come from Branford, Connecticut.  I live with my husband, Ross, daughters Jen and Sarah, and my four-legged children Xena, Loki, and Pumpkin.

I have always loved to draw and color from when I was a child but like many people, as you become an adult life gets in the way of the fun stuff.  I decided four years ago the time was right to get back into art and  look into taking art classes.  One of the places I called was the Branford Art Studio (BAS) and spoke with the owner and director, Marc Massaro. I liked Marc instantly just from chatting on the phone with him and decided to register for a class. My original thought was that I wanted to learn to paint landscapes but as Marc always says,” you have to start with the basics, drawing”.  So I registered for beginning drawing. During the second semester of class, Marc decided the drawing class needed a challenge so one night he had us paint an eye. Just a single eye. That was it. We all loved our!.  Then he decided we would take it step further and paint a large oil portrait of Jean Harlow.  It was a lot of fun and I was hooked on portraits from that point on.  I only did two other oil portraits after that; one of my Dad as a teen and one of my dog, Xena.  These are very early works for me.  After that, I started doing graphite drawings because I really loved using pencil rather than paint.  I would do portraits for friends and families, of course always putting the finished results on FB, and soon I had people contacting me to commission me to do portraits for them.  Oh, and as a side note, I discovered pretty quickly that I didn’t like doing landscape paintings, which is what I went to Branford Art Studio to learn to begin with!

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I absolutely, positively, without a doubt cannot live without my #2B pencil.  I have every pencil of every density, but  #2B graphite pencil is my best friend.  You can do everything with a 2B and really have no need for any other density because 2B does it all.  All my pencils are Derwents brand except my 2B, those are the General’s brand.

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why?
I am proud of all my pieces. I put a lot of love into each one of them.  Some of the more special works that I have done are ones that I have been asked to do to commemorate a soul who has passed (animal and human).  It’s humbling to know something I have done is helping to keep the memory of someone alive for someone.

How long does it take you to draw your human portraits and your pet portraits?

It depends. I did a double portrait of my nephews in two days, but others portraits have taken me weeks. I work full-time in a demanding job, plus teach yoga  so how long it takes depends on my schedule.  I would say on average it takes me about three weeks.  

What was the first artwork you sold?

The first piece I sold has a sad story to it.  I was asked by a close friend of mine to do a portrait of his little grandbaby who passed away unexpectedly.  I did four portraits for the family, one of just little Tyler alone for his Mommy, and the other three were with family members drawn from pictures of happier times.  The portrait of Tyler alone was my first sold work.

Who are your favorite artists and why?

My favorite well-known artist is Vermeer. I love how he portrays women and his use of color.  I also like the fact that the way he painted is the same way we are taught at BAS so I feel a bit of a connection there.  My favorite genre of art is early Italian Renaissance art.  Whenever I look at  a painting from that period it really moves me in a way no other paintings do.  As far as current day artists go, my favorites are my fellow artists from the Branford Art Studio.  This is a group of truly talented artists who do amazing work. I am very proud to be a part of that community.

Where can we find you and samples of your work? Do you have a website or blog? If someone wants to commission you to draw a human or pet portrait from their photos, how do they contact you?

I have a FaceBook page called Art by Michele with samples of my work on it and contact information.  If someone would like to commission me to do a portrait they can email me at  I do all my portraits from photos which can be sent to me as JPEGS via email.

Visit Michele's website here:   Art By Michele Antisdel

Here are samples of Michele's work:

Enter to win a custom Pet Portrait or Human Portrait by Michele from your photo! Vintage photos are welcomed! Answer the contest questions below by posting here or emailing me at  Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

How long does an elephant pregnancy last?

A) 22 months  B) 9 months   C)12 months   D) 18 months

Elephants have good long-term memories

True       False

What is one way forest elephants differ from savanna elephants?

A) They don’t have tusks   B) they are smaller   C) they have longer trunks    D) they aren’t in Africa

An elephant’s _____ is an elongated fusion of its nose and upper lip and contains approximately 150,000 muscles.

A) Tusk                    B)   Tail                        C) Trunk                   D) Leg

What are female elephants called?

A) Cows                     B) Hens                   C)   Lionesses          D)  Ewe

The winner of Michele's custom Pet Portrait or Human Portrait is Brandy! Congratulations!