Oh man! It was so hard to choose which paintings to post!
Dutch artist Katinka Lampe paints incredible portraits that serve as allegories, more than representations of actual people. She begins with an idea often inspired by everyday images or media. She then stages a photo shoot based on her idea, which will be the foundation for her painting. She adds a variety of imagined elements to her pieces including, make up, wigs, headscarves, and masks. Often these extra elements add a social commentary that contrasts the innocence of her young models. Balancing content and paint, these images have their own reality, somewhere between realism and abstraction. There are many more examples on her website.