Weekend with the Masters '11: Day 1

Readers, I hope the chores are done and the kids are in bed, 'cause this one's gonna be a scroller! Wednesday morning, September 7th, crowds of eager-faced artists flooded the lobbies of the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, CA. It was the opening day of the 2011 Weekend with the Masters conference. The annual event is sponsored by American Artist and offers workshops, demos and lectures from some of the art world's leading representational painters.

Daniel Pinkham

Among the sessions that morning was Daniel Pinkham's plein air painting demo, held at the wharf by the hotel.

Daniel Pinkham's plein air demo
Daniel Pinkham • An Artist's Poem
Oil • 14" x 11"

Scott Burdick

I spent most of the morning soaking up a portrait demo by Scott Burdick. Watching him paint and studying the original paintings he brought showed me the great liberty a painter has to lay down paint in any manner he chooses, as long as he stays faithful to his subject. Previously, I would question whether I had applied a particular stroke in the "best" or "correct" way. Now, I feel liberated to be confident in the way I like to apply paint and relieved that I only need to focus on being accurate to what I see (as if that alone isn't hard enough!). An artist's brushwork should be the natural result of his accurate observation. Over time, an artist's cumulative brushwork decisions will result in his own recognizable "style," as unique as his fingerprint. Burdick's approach is bold. Thick, broad strokes cover his canvases, creating a beautiful, daredevil aesthetic. Yet, his seemingly unrestrained brushwork is expertly controlled, to remain honest to what he sees. His paint application sharply contrasts that of other WWM instructors who allow hardly any buildup of paint. Seeing both extremes first-hand helped me relax about my own brushwork and just focus on the basics!

Scott Burdick's live portrait demo
Burdick asked that his demo painting not be published, so to satisfy everyone's Burdick cravings, I included two of his originals below that Burdick brought as examples.

By Scott Burdick
By Scott Burdick


Richard Schmid Lecture and Slideshow

About noon, everyone gathered in the main forum for a lecture from Mr. Richard Schmid, entitled The Adventures of Painting from Life. The artist expressed how painting from life has brought him much happiness and has become one of his dearest friends (yet not so dear as his Nancy). Mr. Schmid also shared many slides of his work, including some that showed step-by-step progressions of his paintings, like the ones below.

I noticed later that Mr. Schmid had been enjoying
a Starbucks Frappuccino. So that's his secret!

Stage 1
Stage 2

Stage 3
Stage 4

Final Stage


Rose Frantzen

Rose Frantzen's portrait demo that afternoon attracted a huge audience. With her animated personality, lively story-telling and dazzling painting, she kept the crowd captivated until the final stroke. She combined traditional oil paint with oil pigment bars (from R&F), encouraging her students to not be afraid to experiment with various media.

Rose Frantzen's finished portrait demo


Panel Discussion

L to R: Daniel Gerhartz, Rose Frantzen, Richard Schmid,
David Leffel, George Gallo, Jacob Collins, Quang Ho
Mr. David Leffel moderated this year's panel, which included Mr. Richard Schmid, Daniel Gerhartz, Rose Frantzen, George Gallo, Jacob Collins and Quang Ho. The main topic for discussion was the objectivity and/or subjectivity of beauty in art. Much debate was sparked by the questions posed to the panel. "Is beauty objective or subjective? Is there any such thing as universal beauty or is beauty only in the eye of the beholder?" Quang Ho simply answered, "yes"—objective beauty and subjective beauty exist—before he expounded. Some agreed, while others held to either purely objective or purely subjective views.

While Dan Gerhartz was sharing his thoughts on beauty vs. ugliness, he commented, "why not talk about good vs. evil?" He got me thinking. Are there moral aspects to beauty? Does beauty exist beyond what we can see? After all, don't we often consider a kind word, forgiveness, an act of benevolence or true love to be even more beautiful than a rose or sunset?

I believe there is a Creator who made all things beautiful, both visible and invisible (see Colossians 1:16 and Ecclesiastes 3:11). The beauty of God's creation is objective because God himself acknowledged that it is good (see Genesis 1:31). But each of us is made unique and capable of appreciating and expressing beauty in an individual, special way, for the Lord's glory.

I'm humbled to think that God, in his love, saw fit to bless us with beauty in our world. We certainly do not deserve it. Because of our sin, God's beautiful creation of man was tainted (see Romans 5:12). Yet, also in his love, God sent a Savior, whom we also did not deserve (see John 3:16). Just as the sun sheds beauty across a dead, fallen leaf, so does the Son redeem us from the ugliness of sin and the consequence of death, if we will but trust in him. There is no other truth more beautiful than that!

For more on the day's events, be sure to check out Ryan Mellody's blog post here. Check back here often--more WWM coverage is coming!


  1. Well spoken, and a post worth reading. If we would open our heart to God, He would surely reveal what the eye hath not seen, nor ear heard.
    Thanks Adam!

  2. Thank you, gwynn156. Very true words on opening our hearts to God. Thanks for commenting!


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