Fine artist Matt Philleo painting a portrait.

About Me

My journey with art began in Kindergarten. I remember, during a conference, my teacher telling my parents I was behind in my drawing skills. Looking back, I think that flipped a switch inside me to want to get better at art. But more than just my own desire, I believe God put that talent within me and also gave me an older brother and teachers to encourage my passion of capturing the world around me in pencil and in paint.

The most interesting thing is the world for me to draw or paint is people. Since 1991, I have been doing custom portraits from photos. I started dabbling with acrylic paint in high school and with it’s versatility and fast drying time, it soon became my medium of choice, although I still often do drawings in pencil. Over the past 23 years, I have done hundreds of paintings and drawings on commission as well as several for shows.


Dave Mattison, and Matt Philleo, members of Bethel Church, stand in front of new mural depicting the Gospel from Genesis to Revelation. Photo taken March 27, 2013 by Leader Telegram photographer, Dan Reiland

ABOVE: Dave Mattison, left, and Matt Philleo, members of Bethel Church in Eau Claire, created a seven-panel mural depicting significant events in Christian history, including Christ’s Crucifixion. In mid-December, the artists,  both of Eau Claire, hung the mural in the church. The two posed on March 27, 2013, with the painting. Photo by Eau Claire Leader Telegram staff photographer, Dan Reiland. Used with permission.

Using a Renaissance glazing technique I learned from an art instructor, I paint with several translucent layers of color to build up a richness and depth that gives the surface a glowing, effervescent quality. Finally, I adorn the painting surface with a treasure trove of detail to heighten the illusion of three-dimensionality, much like high definition TV seems so much more real than the old television broadcasts did. It does take a lot of time, but I feel the end result is worth it.

Paint Realistic Acrylic Portraits

Paint realistic portraits in acrylic step by step

Since God gave me an ability to do art, I believe it is only natural to use it to bless others and bring glory to Him. Although I have had many mentors and encouragers, including art teachers and art associates over the years, the ultimate inspiration is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He died to give me life, so I want to spend my life using my talent to enrich the lives of others. I long to encourage others with the same encouragement He gives me when I read His word, pray, and live in a world that is both incredibly beautiful and yet so full of darkness. Interestingly, it is often this darkness that drives us to seek out the light, and that Light is just a prayer away.


Artist Matt Philleo and his wife

Currently, I live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with my loving, supportive wife and three exceptional children. I enjoy participating in my church and serving in a few different areas: playing bass in the worship band, singing in the choir, helping in the children’s ministry and assisting teachers at Bethel Christian School. In my spare time, I enjoy camping, bicycling, and reading inspirational books.

MORE: To learn more about why and how I create my art, read my Artist Statement.

"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

Inscribed6a 500px

"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!

Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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