Local artist paints some familiar faces

MARQUETTE — If you stop by one Marquette restaurant in the near future, you’ll see a few familiar faces decorating the walls.

Portraits painted by local artist Paul Olson are on display at Sweet Water Cafe on Third Street. The images feature local luminaries like Nheena Weyer Ittner, Bobby Glenn Brown, and Rusty Bowers. Olson took on the project to help test his skills behind the paintbrush — a tool he picked back up a few years ago after a long hiatus.

“I wanted to kind of test to see how good I am at it by doing some portraits of people who are really well known,” said Olson. “So if I didn’t capture the likeness, it would be pretty obvious to everybody.”

The subjects didn’t know the paintings were being made until they were unveiled.

“I was really nervous. Would they like the paintings? Would they think the paintings looked like them?” Olson added. “They received them very well, which is a lucky break for me. It’s really tricky to do portraits of people, because the person who’s going to judge it most harshly is the person who’s being painted.”

Olson’s art will be on display at the Cafe until October 24th. The restaurant has featured over 125 artists — mostly local — since it opened in 1993.