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Friday, May 20, 2011

Portrait Society of America 2011 National Conference

Last night I was flipping through a beautiful imported book about the 19th century Russian artist Ilya Repin. Couldn't read a word of it, but it sure was pretty to look at! Charles picked up this rare treasure when the Portrait Society of America was in town a few weeks ago for their annual national conference. Over 800 artists descended on Atlanta for a very busy weekend.

The conference opened on Thursday night with the "Face-Off" demonstrations. Fifteen artists, all members of the conference faculty or previous award winners, painted 5 models in a huge studio set up in the hotel's main ballroom. It was a packed house as some spectators took seats to watch their favorites, while others prowled the circuit in order to see them all.

The next 3 days were full of more demonstrations and lectures. David Leffel painted a self portrait on the main stage Friday morning, Jeremy Lipking painted a nude figure Friday evening to a packed house, and Michael Shane Neal painted a moving target (his mentor, Raymond Kinstler) on Saturday morning. Lectures on the business side of art and portfolio critiques were also offered.

Saturday evening was the Banquet and Awards Presentation where the International Portrait Competition winners were announced, followed by the keynote address by Dr. Johan Cedarlund, director of the Zorn Museum in Mora, Sweden. He gave an excellent talk on the history of turn-of-the-century Swedish artist Anders Zorn (1860-1920).

On Sunday afternoon over 100 artists loaded onto buses for the trek to Atlanta's Piedmont Park. Once there groups of 10, each led by a member of the conference faculty, spread out for an afternoon of plein-air painting. A lot of these portrait artists got to experience the joy of painting on location for the first time! Charles was with Los Angeles painter Alexey Steele's group and as Alexey was giving a short demonstration down by the water's edge, Charles was struck by the scene, grabbed his brushes and set to work!

Overall it was a great weekend. We discovered a new brand of brushes we'd been hearing a lot of buzz about (Rosemary & Co. Brushes) and bought several beautiful imported books we can't read! (Dick Bell Book Maven). We met a lot of new people and made several new friends, and are definitely looking forward to the next time.

If you're interested, there are a few more pictures from the weekend in an album on Charles' Facebook page.

Portrait Society of America
David Leffel
Jeremy Lipking
Michael Shane Neal
Anders Zorn
Zorn Museum, Sweden
Alexey Steele
Rosemary & Co. Artist Brushes
Dick Bell Book Maven

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