Photo Courtesy of the NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART

James McNeill Whistler's Alice Butt.

Suzie Cortez, an award-winning fine artist and instructor at the Larry Gluck’s Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Studio in Encino, is the first Salvadoran fine artist  to provide a reproduction painting for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She will reproduce the James McNeill Whistler painting “Alice Butt.”

The work began Monday, March 19.

Until the publication of the Whistler catalogue raisonné in 1980, the painting had been identified only as “Head of a Girl.” The original oil on canvas painting with overall 51.7 x 38.1 cm (20 3/8 x 15 in.) dimensions, created by Whistler in 1895, is noteworthy for her disheveled hair and full, red lips; she looks directly at the viewer.

Born in El Salvador and living in the United States, Cortez’s interest in becoming an artist grew after moving from El Salvador to the United States. She found confidence from the comfort found in drawing, her parents’ support and the support from the people of her homeland for whom she created art. For Cortez, art is an escape from the prejudices of society.

Cortez is an instructor at the Renaissance Fine Art Studio where she has worked for the past 20 years perfecting her craft.

For Cortez, art is an escape from the prejudices of society. “Although I’ve had barriers in my career, I have also had successes that I am grateful for. But just like in any industry, I still have to prove myself as an artist.”

Although originally wanting to become an Architect, she enrolled at the Art Center College of Design. There she learned about Fine Art, but felt the basics needed to reach her artistic goals were unfulfilled.

In 2014 Cortez found her preferred style after traveling to 25 different cities in Italy and learning from the work of the gran painter Michelangelo thus becoming a better well-rounded artist. She created over 30 works in pastel, charcoal and acrylic; over 3/4th’s of which she sold a year later in Los Angeles.

Cortez’s other works are in various mediums such as oils, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, mixed media, pen and ink, and acrylics. She has created several acrylic paintings of athletes, artists, and people that have inspired her and the community.

She stands out for being an artist able to use each medium to communicate differently. From creating a very realistic soft oil portrait, to a loose colorful landscape with watercolors, or a dynamic colorful portrait in acrylics and a knife, depending on the medium, she can create different effects to communicate her work.