PSoA Conference The Art of The Portrait 2014

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me and Ricky PSoA 2014

me and Ricky Mujica PSoA 2014

Every time I go to the PSOA conference I have more fun and learn even more than the year before! What an incredibly great conference! My favorite place for the conference is in the “pretend” town of Reston, Virginia. I call it a “pretend” town because it’s so very planned. Everything and anything is in walking distance. The weather was good; the restaurants were great. I left the conference with new ideas for paintings, and, as always, with a passionate desire to go home and paint.

Range anxiety :/

Range anxiety :/

The first day of the conference, however, was not so great for me. I have an electric car and I rolled into town with only 12 miles left on my battery. There really is something called “Range Anxiety” and I have it!  I had planned on using a charging station just down the street.  – Long story short, I ended up going to 4 charging stations with 3 miles left on the battery. Eventually, I gave up and charged it in the hotel’s 110 outlet, which takes about 20 hours.

All this running around with my silly car made me miss the entire Face-Off:  This is a contest where multiple artists paint the same model within a set time frame. Participating in the Face-Off were: Juliette Aristides, Ryan Brown, Scott Burdick, Wendell Caporale, Ellen Cooper, Jeffery Hein, Quang Ho, David Kassan, Robert Liberace, Paul Newton, Tony Pro, Anthony Rider, Daniel Sprick, Alexey Steele, Jennifer Welty. Everyone described it as fabulous!

Quang Ho and Jeff Hein gave us Portrait Perspective

photo complements of Adam Clague

Quang Ho and Jeff Hein started the second day of the conference with a double demo with the same model. Both are talented and funny.

Literally matching flesh tones with Sharon Sprung.

Literally matching flesh tones with Sharon Sprung. Photo compliments of the great blog

Next was Sharon Sprung, The Flesh Of The Matter, who lectured on formulas for skin tone. She had all types of people come onto the stage and would match their skin tone perfectly by painting right on their arm! Very interesting.






Bus-Stop by Max Ginsburg

Bus-Stop by Max Ginsburg

Next was lunch, and then the breakout sessions where you could pick between 7 different workshops. Ricky and I both chose the famous and talented Max Ginsburg. Max just happens to have been Ricky’s high school art teacher, and they have remained friends all this time.  In fact, Ricky and his daughter Violet are in Max’s painting above. Comparing the screen version with the live version of the model, gave me an epiphany.  The woman Max was painting was pretty, but what a difference the way she looked with your natural eye compared to the way she looked on the screen!  She was much prettier in person.  Now I really do “get” how painting from life is better and have become a convert to that way of thinking.  I just wish painting from life were a little more convenient and practical.


Shelli Alford is an artist and author, who enjoys learning from master oil painters from around the world and reviewing their classes, workshops and demonstrations.

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