Contemporary Realism ~ Portraits & Paintings

  • Recent work: Portrait of Nat Benjamin

    Well-known wooden boat designer and builder Nat Benjamin is captured in the light of a cool fall day, as he stands in a corner of the Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway boat shop on Martha's Vineyard. He is surrounded by the tools of his trade, standing just as they are on the long workbenches.

    Attention is given to Nat's expression, one of good humor and introspection, as well as the strong hands which have built many wooden craft of all shapes and sizes. The portrait is 24" x 30", oil on canvas.

    In composing this scene and retaining the realism of the boat shop environment, Elizabeth Whelan brings the viewer into this corner of Gannon & Benjamin alongside Nat to experience the boat builder's world first hand.

    Please click arrows to right to view another recent portrait.

  • Recent work: Designer Stina Sayre (detail)

    Martha's Vineyard clothing designer Stina Sayre is known for her high-end designs with a European flair. Her shop is cool and airy, her clothing crisp and defined by beautiful lines. Elizabeth Whelan painted Stina's portrait to reflect those aspects and with a similarly cool color palette.

    Here is a detail from this large 40" x 60" portrait.

    Please click arrows to right to view the full painting.

  • Recent work: Designer Stina Sayre

    Martha's Vineyard fashion designer Stina Sayre is shown in her design studio; cool light catches the folds of the fabric as it trails across the polished floor.

    The portrait is large,40" x 60", oil on canvas. Elizabeth highlights Stina's posture and captures the attractive designer at the very beginning of her process of creation. Her hands take center stage as she contemplates the draping of crisp fabric around the mannequin.

    (You are invited to visit Stina Sayre's design studio & showroom on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, MA, to view this painting where it is on display.)

    Please click arrows to right to view another recent portrait.

  • Recent work: An Irish Step Dancer portrait

    A sumptuous costume of velvet and silks shows off the happy attitude of this lovely Irish step dancer. Assorted accolades surround the young girl as mementos of feis (dance competitions) past, as well as various instruments played by her family.

    This portrait is in oils, and measures 24" x 36". Elizabeth Whelan paints portraits of sitters of all ages, making sketches in person and using reference images for difficult poses such as this one! 

    To see this and other portraits in progress, please visit
    Elizabeth Whelan's blog.

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  • 14" x 10" oil on canvas, this portrait shows Sarah Young at work in her jewelry studio at Vineyard Sky Bead Design.


    click to enlarge

    Portrait of Sarah - 22" x 28"

    • Portrait
    • Oils
    • Women
    • Painting
    • Interior
  • 14" x 10" oil on canvas, a small sized portrait with a landscape background captures the subject in a natural setting.

    click to enlarge

    Lost in Thought - 14" x 10"

    • Portrait
    • Oils
    • Men
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  • 36" x 36" oil on canvas. Portrait of Dale McClure, president of the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Society, with an antique John Deere tractor at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, MA.

    click to enlarge

    Dale with Tractor - 36 "x 36"

    • Portrait
    • Oils
    • Agricultural
    • Men
    • Painting
    • Exterior