It is a given that portrait painting requires a likeness, but the true art is capturing the connection of human interaction. Portrait Society of America’s annual “The Art of the Portrait Conference” brings artists from around the world to celebrate the fine art of portrait painting for its 19th year in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is a popular gathering for figurative and portrait artists to inspire each other, bring new opportunities to learn, and celebrate the love of art. Founded by FSU alumni Edward Jonas, the Portrait Society generously supports students with scholarships to attend. Using this opportunity to enhance the curriculum from Carrie Ann Baade’s Realism Workshop over a third of the class, some as scholarship winners and some as volunteers applied themselves to be part of this important opportunity. In conjunction, three students: Sara Caruso, Kristen Valle, and Jessica Nguyen were awarded an exclusive full-tuition scholarship waiver to attend the Portrait Society convention. These three students competed nationally with 120 other applications from ateliers and students based on their three sample paintings and written interest in the program. In addition to support from the Portrait Society of America, Kristen Valle and Jessica Nguyen were awarded the FSU Art’s Exceptional Opportunity Award which came as a generous gift from Ben Bivins and Elece Harrison to further to assist and guide these students in furthering their knowledge and artistic skills.
The Portrait Society of America offers programs that include educational presentations, demos by renowned portrait artists, and interviews with prominent figures in the field. The conference brings a non-competitive atmosphere which provides faculty and attendants with mutual benefits and generously shared expertise. Close to a thousand members are professional artists and teachers who travel both nationally and internationally to attend this yearly event. The majority of the others are striving to attain professional status.Through sharing workshops and technical advice, this convention allows students to improve the quality of portraiture beyond technical skill-allowing these students to return to Florida State University with a higher level of work and admiration of portraiture and figurative art. Of the three winners of the scholarship award, each was asked to reflect on their experience at The Art of the Portrait Conference:
Sara reflected, “The workshops were super informative, but finding artists who aligned with my specific interests, learning how to market myself, and meeting full-time artists was invaluable. I have always been interested in tattooing and I was lucky enough to meet painter/tattoo artist David Gluck. He was generous with his time and gave me insider tips on the tattoo industry.”
Kristen enthusiastically replied, “From having Daniel Greene himself personally critique my portraiture, to physically introducing myself to one of my artist idols, Richard Schmid, the Art of the Portrait conference was an experience that only caused me to fall even more in love with the art of portrait painting.”
Jessica noted, “I appreciate everyone who gave their time to talk to me, from my portfolio review with the 2017 IPC (International Portrait Competition) finalist Jennifer Welty to my chat with Cheryl the newly retired painter from Georgia who finally has the time to paint the mountains in her backyard.”