Blog Connections and the Art of Nathalie Rattner

I wrote a blog about the Sacramento Antique Faire not too long ago (here), and included a series of images showing collections of things like the watches in the photo above. The Faire is a treasure trove of photo opportunities. A few weeks later, I received a note from a Nathalie Rattner who had been introduced to my blog through her father. As I read further, I was happily surprised to learn that Nathalie had attached what appeared to be a a black and white version of my photo. It was lovely and I thought to myself, I really should print out my photo and have it framed in black and white.

Obviously, by the time I opened the second attachment, I realized I had not been very thorough in my reading of Nathalie's note! This was not a photo at all, but a photo realistic drawing!

The second drawing made things crystal clear. Nathalie is a phenomenally talented artist. This was one of those moments when I ask myself, how does someone DO this?!?! It is SO accurate. I was just amazed. The second piece she sent helped visually explain the process.

I was lucky to begin a bit of a correspondence with Nathalie, and she sent me more images of her work. She specializes in photo realistic work, and has become quite well known for her Sports series.

These are some of her portraits:

Nathalie says of this image, "this is a drawing based on a vintage photograph in which I have combined my painting technique with the application of some copper foil."

Nathalie says, "This image is from a commission of an individuals grandchild. This image was done using my painted charcoal and graphite technique."

This piece of the Ziegfeld Follies girls is breathtaking to me. The way Nathalie captures light and shadow is perfection.

Nathalie says, "This is an image of the Ziegfeld follies in which I have combined a charcoal wash technique with pastel wash technique. I technique that I've recently developed."

Nathalie sent me the finished project of my pocket watch photo and asked if she could enter it in an art competition in Boston. I was very honored that she chose my image to show off her fine work. I said "YES" of course!

I asked Nathalie a little about herself:

"I was born and raised in Calgary Canada where I studies dance and attended a performing arts high school. After graduation I moved to Vancouver and later to L.A. to pursue my dance career where I was represented by McDonald Selznick. I am a largely self taught artist and have always been attracted to portraiture and began by doing oil paintings of native Americans based on the photographs of Edward Curtis. This series was well received and collected by people in Montana and Boston and several interior designers. This success encouraged me to continue and over the past several years I have developed a technique which is that based on “painting” with shaved graphite and charcoal which allows me to achieve a hyper-realistic or extended photograph quality. My goal is to bring life to photograph images and to bring the personal qualities of the subject to the viewers attention . A three part work based on multiple images of my Dad presented as a film strip where each drawing was placed in a cell of the film strip won a drawing competition in Boston and this led to a meeting with John ……Liffmann who encouraged me to do images of the greats of baseball. This series has met with great success and have been bought by baseball collectors and fans around the world and has found a place in some sports museums. I have also received commissions to do images of personal heroes, family members and a wide range of subject matter. My work is currently sold through ebay, sports auctions (, through John Liffmann or I can be contacted directly at"

Nathalie was honored with the cover and a feature story about her Sports Figure work in January in Sports Collectors Digest:

Is it fair that someone so talented is also so beautiful? She is isn't she?
I feel lucky to know Nathalie, if only through the blogosphere. Blogging is an amazing thing. It has created an avenue for connections to be made that otherwise wouldn't have. I was so pleased to get to know about Nathalie and her work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!