Art Travels

Portrait Conference – Part 5

Demonstrations at the Portrait Society of America Conference are plentiful and do not disappoint. I’ll share some of my favorites here and direct you to the artists’ websites for better images of their work, but you do realize – “You really had to be there!”

Robert Liberace, seen above at the Thursday night Face-Off Event, has to be one of the very best demonstration artists alive when it comes to obtaining a great likeness along with a wonderful painterly effect. How many artists do you know who can equal their best studio work in front of an audience while fielding questions in a two to three hour time frame? Here is Rob’s final product from the Face-Off. Awesome, right?


If you’re on Facebook you can see all the demos from the Face-Off Event here.

Tip: Check out Rob’s workshop schedule and sign up. You will not regret it. He travels across the country teaching, and if you’re lucky you can snag one of his demo pieces for yourself at the workshop. I own two of them!!

Many artists modify their painting method when they demonstrate for an audience. Rose Frantzen not only modifies her method, she tries something entirely new when she is in front of a crowd. At a past convention she was using oil sticks. After enthralling the audience with her “technique” (and openly admitting that she was using oil sticks just for the demo to cover the canvas faster) I saw people scribble down, “Note to self. Buy oil sticks.” This year, she was spreading oil paint on her canvas with a huge spatula-like thing. Rainbows of dark pigment were spread like cake icing across the canvas, after which she used her brushes to cut in the facial features.

When asked where one could get the special art tool, Rose pointed them to Target or Walmart. She said it was one of those kitchen bowl scrapers. I am not kidding you, and no doubt there will be a run on these things. It measures about 3″x5″ in case you’re headed to the store now.

If you haven’t seen Rose demonstrate, let’s just say it is a riot; a riot of painting, a riot of energy, a riot of humor, a riot of talent. She exits the stage with paint all over her and probably her model if they’re not careful. I was out of breath watching her. On the left is what she produced on the big stage, and for contrast, on the right is a close-up of one side of her 3-D entry that was on display in the International Exhibition:

Two Paintings by Rose FrantzenNotice the Fechin-like quality of her demo compared to the more refined painting of her studio work. I’ll say more about the piece on the right in my next post.

Tip: Do not let fear keep you from trying new things or starting that next painting.

Tip: Buying a new art product or tool will not endow you with the skill of that artist. Only painting many pictures will.

I love drawing, so I have to show you what I consider the two best drawing demos at the conference. At left, Robert Liberace’s red chalk with white highlight on toned paper. He just never misses. On the right is Anthony Rider’s charcoal (or was it graphite?) on the big screen. Just beautiful!

Liberace and Rider DemosYes. You’re kicking yourself for not being there, but there’s always next year.

Tip: Don’t keep saying “next year”!!

I’ll end with a quote from Michelle Dunaway that really touched me to the core,

“Our goal is not to paint everything in site, but only what makes our heart beat faster.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.