Portraits, Inc. Welcomes New Exclusive Artists Michele Anderson and Mary Qian

Portraits, Inc. welcomes Michele Anderson and Mary Qian

Portraits, Inc. seeks to find the best portrait artists in the United States and throughout the world so that we can connect clients with the artist best suited for their fine art portrait. Now and then, artists come along who are so talented and serve our clients so well that we want to bring them on as exclusive artists.


This spring, we are pleased to welcome two new exclusive Portraits, Inc. artists, Michele Anderson and Mary Qian. We’re delighted to introduce you to both women and their work.


Meet Michele Anderson


Michele Anderson grew up on a peach farm in southern Georgia and comes from a family of artists. From a young age, she was always sketching. Initially, she drew the animals on her family’s farm, especially the horses. As she grew, she began to experiment with paint but didn’t start any formal art training until college.


At the Atlanta Art Institute, Michele studied landscape design and spent several years working as a professional landscape designer. She learned a lot during that time that has improved her career as a portrait artist. For example, she gained experience meeting with clients to learn about their vision and creating plans to bring them to life. She also developed an essential set of planning and layout skills that she uses in her paintings today. Although she enjoyed landscape design, Michele knew that it wasn’t her passion.


When Michele decided that she wanted to create portraits full-time, she moved from Georgia to Chattanooga, TN, to study with a few accomplished portrait artists. It was during that time that she was first introduced to Portraits, Inc. by her mentors, who were represented by the company.


Portraits, Inc. has represented Michele for nearly twenty years and is thrilled to now add her to our list of exclusive artists. During her time with Portraits, Inc., Michele has felt unbelievably blessed to travel the world and connect with clients who love her work.


painted portrait of a young girl in a blue dress posing beside an armchair


Michele’s Work


Michele has always been drawn to faces and to working with other people. When asked what she loves about portraiture, she said that she likes being able to do something for other people and that she loves being able to make families happy. For her, a portrait is not just a piece of art; it’s a piece of the family.


She describes her style as a mixture of realistic and impressionistic. She seeks to make the faces as realistic as possible but is a little freer with the backgrounds and clothing.


When she isn’t painting a portrait, you can find Michele on her Alabama ranch painting a landscape on her property or capturing her animals. She lives in a gorgeous area with a waterfall, mountain, and canyon nearby, which provide endless inspiration. She also loves to paint old barns and buildings, which are delightfully plentiful in her region.


painted headshot of a young blonde boy in a white collared shirt


Working with Michele


During a commission, Michele often meets clients in their homes to get to know them and discuss their vision for the portrait. She and her clients decide whether they want something formal or informal, and then she determines the perfect setting for the work.


During her years as a portrait artist, Michele has also honed her skills as a photographer. Many of her subjects are children, so painting from a photo is her preferred method. After snapping numerous pictures, she reviews the images with the parents to get their input on which expression and pose capture their son or daughter the best. She also advises on which would make a beautiful portrait. Her process is collaborative, which is a special touch that her clients truly cherish.


painted headshot of a young brunette girl with a white bow in her hair


Children’s portraits inspire Michele because she’s creating something for the entire family to cherish, not just for an individual. One of her favorite aspects of a commission is the first viewing, which, she says, you only get to do once. As often as possible, she prefers to do it in person to experience the family’s joy with them.




Mary Qian grew up in Shanghai, China, where both of her parents have careers in science. Her father enjoys painting as a hobby, and Mary has always had an innate interest in art. She studied Chinese painting and calligraphy when she was young, and her love of art blossomed into a desire to paint people. After completing high school, Mary came to the United States to formally train in art.


As she learned about Western art, everything felt new and fascinating to her because it was completely different than traditional Chinese art. Oil painting is not common in China, so when she was young, Mary thought that the oil paintings were photographs because of how the great oil painters vividly captured their subjects.


She completed a degree in graphic design and worked for a videogame company in Chicago after college. While she loved many things about digital design, the process was very segmented, and she only worked on a limited scope of the overall creative picture. She had been painting at a Chicago studio called The Palette and Chisel on the weekends while she was doing graphic design, and eventually transitioned to painting full time because it allowed her creativity to flourish more fully.


painted portrait of a young woman resting her head on her arm


Mary’s Work


Mary never expected to be able to make a living with her art; she just felt drawn to creating and has been blessed to be able to do so fulltime. She initially did a lot of gallery work, but she had an unfulfilled passion for capturing faces. Through her work with Portraits, Inc., she’s found an outlet for exploring and depicting the true inner persona of her subjects.


Each time she meets a new sitter, she feels that it’s like opening a new window. As she and a sitter become comfortable with each other, she starts to discover the dominating characteristics of the person, and the art takes shape in her mind.


Each portrait has a special relationship and complex dynamics. Mary said that when she looks at a piece of art, she can see both the subject and the artist. In her own work, she aims to capture something simple and universal that doesn’t need a complex composition. Rather than attempting to create the story for the viewer, she acknowledges that the viewer will make up his or her own story about a painting.


painting of a young woman in a dress sitting sideways on a chair


Working with Mary


Mary finds there’s an energy between the subject and the artist when they are able to spend time together in person. She usually begins her portraits by creating sketches and spends hours talking with her subject while she works. The human connection is one of the things that Mary loves about portraits. She will, on occasion, create works from photos.


painting of a mother and young daughter snuggled on the couch


One of her favorite things about joining the Portraits, Inc. family is that she has had the opportunity to paint many children. In her personal life, she doesn’t often have the chance to do so. In the past couple of years, she has had incredible experiences traveling to meet families and capture their children’s special milestones. She loves hearing their imaginative stories and using those to inform her art.


Get to know our artists with a commission


Michele and Mary are both incredible artists, and we are so pleased to add them to our list of exclusive Portraits, Inc. artists. If you’re interested in seeing more of their work or pursuing a commission with them, please get in touch.