Portrait Society of America Conference Part 3

The final 2 demos of the conference were a bit different.

First, Daniel Greene gave us a demo on Finishing a portrait, including how to get started again after weeks or months away from a painting. It was interesting for color theory, too, since initially the model had been wearing a dark jacket, but for the new sitting he was wearing a light one. About halfway through, the model’s wife ran upstairs in the hotel to get his dark jacket and it made for crazy changes in value and light references.

Then the last demo of the conference was on charcoal portraiture, and featured a rather salty artist, Burton Silverman, creating two different works – first in black charcoal on white paper, then in black and white on toned paper. This was very interesting, too, because he made no bones about it when he made a mistake – and it was a bit reassuring to see him do so. Even the greats can go wrong and recover.

Portrait Society of America Conference Part 2

When not in demos at the conference, I spent some time out in the suburb of Atlanta where we were staying.  There was an art supply store right across the road. Convenient, or subtle torture? How to fit all the discounted deals into a carry-on?  Then there was the Banquet at the conference, featuring everyone’s favorite, a gold-foil wrapped chocolate medal.  And also the awards, of course.

I also got to view a couple of amazing galleries at the conference: first, the finished pieces from the Face Off Thursday night.

Plus the beautifully appointed library gallery of Finalists in the annual Portrait Society of America competition.

Obviously this isn’t all of them.  These are the ones that particularly struck me in the gallery.  I didn’t get a photo of a few that I really loved, including my vote for “People’s Choice” (Mother Courage, by Ricky Mujica, which beautifully captured a New York City subway car and map in a few choice lines of color.)


Face Off: Alla Prima Portraits Live

It’s the first night of the 2015 Art of the Portrait Conference from the Portrait Society of America.
Tonight was the Face Off: 15 artists, 5 models, 2.5 hours.

The opportunity to watch so many master portrait artists at work was fantastic. And intimidating! Looking into the future here, I guess.  There’s a long way to go.

Not only were there a huge variety of styles in play, but the methods of application and building up palettes were fascinating as well, especially for me as an artist.  Until I started this deep dive into the world of acrylics, I honestly hadn’t given much thought to the chemistry and the subtlety of color mixing. It’s crazy! The first time I went paint shopping I felt like I was channeling one of Terry Pratchett’s Assassins’ Guild fashionistas: there were so many colors of black!

Now I know better, and realize just how much art theory I missed out on in college-level studio art classes.

I am getting more practical color theory and composition practice in these painting classes than I remember from any of my previous art courses. And that’s a really good thing. My creative composition really needs work.

Our current project is “the portrait in another time, place, or world.” So I am working on my most ambitious portrait yet.

My narrative self-portrait is almost done, too.  I have a little bit of color re-balancing to do first, but it really did come out well.

It’s time to step up and get some pieces done that I’m willing to put in front of a juror.  (I really need to get it together re: frames, too.)

But back to the topic of the Portrait Conference. It was terribly interesting to follow the brushwork of some of these artists.  There was a giant screen in the main room where the staff projected some of the canvases as they were in progress, and crowds gathered their chair under them to watch there, because you could see such detail in the paintings as they added color.  At one point I watched a brush I would have thought was entirely too large to make such delicate marks dance across the canvas and leave beautiful highlights in its wake.  The eyes of the painting came to life under that brush. I cannot wait to see more of the conference, and to see the paintings up close tomorrow.

New Year, New Work

I’ve been enjoying some serious and intensive art marketing and business training for the last couple of weeks, in company with a fantastic Artists’ Retreat in Galveston and some other events.
It’s been a long few weeks since I returned to town from my annual trek to the outskirts of Philadelphia for the New Year.
I’m working on some new projects, too.
On Retreat I got a new portrait study started. I’m planning a larger canvas for the full work.

At my workspace with portrait-in-progress, plus bonus Avengers.
At my workspace with portrait-in-progress, plus bonus Avengers.

I’m also working on a few other pieces that may make good prints for the store. We’ll see. My goal, of course, is to have a three good pieces to take to the next VAA Invitational selection night. The Opening Reception for the latest Invitational was last night at Avis Frank Gallery, and the work on display was surprising and awesome. Of course, I expected the awesome, but there were quite a few pieces that surprised me. I think there are some works there that make me hopeful even for some of my textile work to eventually be something I’d submit.

Today is the last day of the Thriving Artist Summit, as well, which has been very illuminating. I’m still listening to the last few recordings. Between the intensive listening and the freebies, there’s a lot of work yet to be done.

Thank goodness for my new studio! I’ll be fully moved in by this time next week! Hooray!

Self-Portrait in Pieces

We’ve been on hiatus for two weeks from portraiture class, and the homework is to draw pieces of myself. So I did.  I am really starting to love charcoal.  I think I’ll have to try the colored charcoals that came from my Granny’s old art supplies.  Could be truly amazing for new projects.

So, pieces of me, plus my mom’s ears: