Sunday, April 17, 2016

Portrait Society of America Conference - Reflections of my experience.

 Some pictures from the Portrait Society of America's Conference...and my impressions...

Rose Frantzen's discussing her piece "Locket"

Dinner with artist friends

Max Ginsburg sketching class/demo

Carol Arnold during my sketching/demo breakout session

Watching Rose Franzen paint this piece was absolutely amazing.  She throws color on the canvas with what seems like reckless abandon and in the end this wonderful likeness emerges.  I am in awe of her talent. 

Reflections of my conference experience...

I have been gathering my thoughts since attending the Portrait Society of America's Conference here in Reston, VA.  I am overwhelmed by the amazing artists I met, the amazing artists I reconnected with and the ones I was able to learn from.  The weekend starts on a Thursday night with an amazing group of artists...15 in all...painting 5 models...three artists to a model.  They are arranged in a large circle and spectators walk around and around admiring the process of creating portraits in 15 different styles.  Some begin with a blank canvas and start swishing brushes wildly while others begin with quiet, definitive strokes building from the inside out.  It is awe-inspiring to watch.  After a couple of hours we are presented 15 fabulous portraits.  While circling and watching...artists are connecting, chatting, and meeting other artists.  They are discussing techniques, color palettes, and artistic energy.  It is an amazing event. 

From there the Conference is a blur of painting demonstrations, portfolio critiques, workshops, exhibits and sales of art materials, conversations with friends/artists, lunches, and presentations by prominent artists such a Michael Shane Neal, Everett Raymond Kinstler, James Gurney and Daniel Greene to name just a few.  I found myself attending my breakout session...running to grab some lunch, running to get some books signed...running to get my portfolio critiqued...running back so I don't miss the next event.  I was constantly on the between...or as I ran I bumped into people I know, Facebook friends, and managed to get into the Exhibition and Sales area to purchase some much needed (hahaha) art supplies. 

Other highlights included meeting and actually getting to talk to Rose Frantzen and having her sign her book, "Portrait of Maquoketa", having Anna Rose Bain sign my copy of her book "The Wait and the Reward", meeting Jennifer Balkan and getting to discuss her artwork,  meeting Tina Garrett and talking to her about everything, a lovely discussion with Ted Reed and other dinner guests... I know I am leaving some names out but the list is so is overwhelming to remember it all!  I was able to have my portfolio critiqued three times by Julian Hess, Elizabeth Zanzinger and Brenda Hash.  Three different perspectives that will certainly help my future efforts.  

If you ever thought about attending but were hesitant because you were't sure if you would connect with anyone, let me put your mind at ease.  It is a given that you will find artists to talk to, to share ideas with, to learn from BUT even if you don't talk to will be busy running from place to place to take advantage of all that is offered.  It is a blur of activity from start to finish.  

In closing I have to mention words spoken to me by Daniel Greene..."Study...just Study"  I plan on putting those words in my new studio as soon as I move in.  They will serve to motivate me as well as remind me of a wonderful critique and a more wonderful dinner with artist friends.  


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience Maria! Sounds like it was fabulous. Wow, Rose Frantzen! How cool!

  2. This conference experience was magical last year, and so I thought this year might pale in comparison. Boy was I wrong. I had even MORE fun, because I knew more people and recognized more names. The PSoA should be a model for art societies everywhere. And of course, attending with such good friends made the experience that much more special!


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