Saturday, April 27, 2013

Portrait Society Convention

I'm in Atlanta, Georgia as a guest of the 15th annual convention of the Portrait Society of America. 

The gathering started off Thursday with the dramatic "Face-off" event, where 15 leading alla-prima portrait painters broke into five groupings of three artists. Each set of three painted from a costumed model for two and a half hour session. 

I sat behind Jeffrey Hein and David Kassan and sketched them as they worked.

Here are the paintings they produced. Out of the fifteen contestants, Jeffrey was chosen as the winner by popular vote. His painting, above left, was both technically excellent, and full of feeling. 

He will do a demo on stage this morning, and I will be sketching him as he works. 

I also watched Mary Whyte and Michael Shane Neal demoing side by side from the same model, Mary in watercolor and Shane in oil. They had a relaxed banter going as they worked. 

A split-screen video projected the work in progress onto large screens throughout the ballroom, which was attended by about 500 people.

I gave a new talk called "Portable Portraits: Sketching People in the Wild," about my encounters as I sketch random people in public. 

I'm having a great time here, meeting wonderful people, and learning a lot. There are attendees and faculty here from all over the USA and Canada, and from many other countries.


Keith Parker said...

James, do you think you could touch on sketching in the wild at the IMC this summer?

James Gurney said...

I'll run the idea by Rebecca. It would be fun to share that talk there.

Lewis MacKenzie said...

I've seen Michael Shane Neil in a couple of videos and I'd say you've nailed his posture there. Great wee painting.

The Jeffrey Hein painting is terrific (the Kassan is none to shabby either). Any pics of the other contestants' portraits?

Erik Bongers said...

The difference in color temperature of both paintings is quite remarkable.
Left is cold, right is warm.
Or is it the photographs?

James Gurney said...

Erik and Lewis, I've added a link to Matthew Innis's blog Underpaintings. He just posted some nice photos of the Face-Off contestants and their work.

Meera Rao said...

Oh what a great event! I am most envious of people who can draw, sketch and paint in public ! Love your renditions ! Mary Whyte paintings are in a show here in Newport news, Va. I saw them once already --will go back for more :)

Terry Strickland said...

James, It was great to meet you, watch you in action and get to sign books beside you. Thanks for being so awesome! You are an inspiration.

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

Love the sketch of Shane - you really nailed him! Great!