Saturday, May 03, 2014

Portrait Society of America "The Art of the Portrait" 2014 Conference - April 26 highlights

The Legendary Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler
One of the highlights of the conference was when Everett Raymond Kinstler spoke and gave some enlightening critiques of a selection of paintings. Mr. Kinstler (even though he says to call him Ray, I have trouble doing that, I have so much respect for the great man!) is a really great artist, true gentleman and so popular, there is always a line-up to speak to him but I finally managed to get a chance to say hi and renew our acquaintance. He is still (at age 88) as passionate as ever about painting and he can't wait to get up every morning and get to work! His talk on Saturday emphasized the need to paint what you care about. He always keeps his eyes on the past and draws constantly in his sketchbook, in addition to his painting projects.

Some notes from his talk:
  • There are no shortcuts, but there is nothing better than making a living doing something you are passionate about. 
  • Keep learning and being stimulated. 
  • Keep in mind the essential character and not the accidental appearance. 
  • Go beyond the photo into what you want it to be. 
  • Don't render everything.
  • Get the feeling and take out anything that does not contribute.
Mr. Kinstler had an interesting story about juried shows that should be a lesson to artists everywhere. He said we should not get too excited about awards and honours but on the other hand we should not become depressed or dejected over rejection either. He told of being rejected twice from a watercolor show and could not figure out why the painting had been refused. He entered the exact same painting to the exact same organization a third time and ended up winning the top prize!  So, his advice is to never take anything too seriously, just get on with your work!

I also attended a very early morning session of The Cecilia Beaux Forum. Chris Saper, Judy Takacs, Kate Stone and (the sole guy) David Gluck spoke about self-publishing, social media and blogging. I wish I could have attended all three of the sessions that ran concurrently!

Saturday's program also included a demo by watercolourist Mary Whyte and an oil demo by Daniel Greene.

Mary Whyte and her favorite model answering questions from the audience

Daniel Greene recommended using a mirror to check for grievous errors in drawing. When starting to paint, he goes from dark to light, with darks a little lighter (and thinner) and lights a little darker (and more opaque) than they actually are. This leaves a little room to progressively alter things. After massing in the shadow pattern, he scribbles on colour in the light areas of skin.
Daniel Greene's precise start to portrait of Jack Richeson
I didn't attend the evening banquet, but Facebook soon announced the William Draper Grand Prize Winner - Bryce Billings, who accepted the award with his son (who is also in the painting). I was not surprised to hear that he had won the prize, as his painting was not only beautiful and technically well done, it had emotional impact and the guy even made his own, very unique wooden frame! Those piles of paint on the palette were also really 3-D, which I loved.

I also really liked the figurative work by Olga Krimon, which depicted a young woman reclining beside a table. It was colourful, had great composition plus brushwork and is a painting I would love to hang on my wall!

More highlights tomorrow - don't miss the final day! 

A Father's Dreams and A Son's Love (detail)
photo by Connor McBrine-Ellis - Hyperact Media

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