Art of the Portrait Conference

Us (right) with TJ and Julie Cunningham, our
friends from PCC. TJ won Fifth Place this year!
Andrea and I had an amazing weekend at our first Portrait Society of America "Art of the Portrait" Conference! The conference faculty members are some of the most highly skilled painters in the fine art industry. Attendees glean from their experience as they lecture and demonstrate during the four-day event. The conference culminates in the Awards Gala Banquet, where the winners of International Portrait Competition are announced. This year, the annual conference was held in Reston, VA, outside Washington DC.

Activities commenced with the annual Face-Off event. Fifteen faculty members painted portraits from life for the roughly 750 attendees. See all the face-off portraits at Underpaintings Blog.

Face-Off Demo by Jeff Hein

Faculty Demos
Throughout the conference, faculty artists shared their knowledge through informative demonstrations. On several occasions, James Gurney set up off-stage and painted these artists as they demoed (see video below).

In-progress demos by Jeff Hein (left) and Quang Ho

In-progress demo by Mary Whyte

In-progress demos by Robert Liberace (left) and Rose Frantzen

Recreational Painting
TJ had the great idea to do some portrait painting in the host hotel's lobby. Why not! At first, it was just us. Then little by little, more artists joined in until we had quite a crowd.

Tim and I painting artist Isaiah Hoppe

A crowd gathers!

Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement
This year's award went to master artist Joe Bowler. Because he is handicapped, he was not able to attend the conference. His former protégé Brian Neher presented his award while conference attendees watched via the Internet. Bowler's recognition was meaningful to Andrea and me because Bowler's portraits of our college's president and his wife provided continual instruction and inspiration while we pursued our art studies. You can view Bowler's work at his website here.


Congrats to the finalists!
Click names to visit artists' websites • Click here to view finalists' paintings 

William Draper Grand Prize
A Father's Dreams and a Son's Love

By Bryce Billings
Draper Grand Prize & People's Choice: Bryce Billings
1st Place Painting: Tony Pro
1st Place Sculpture: Alicia Ponzio
2nd Place: Jeff Hein
3rd Place: Kelly Carmody
4rth Place: Aron Belka
5th Place: TJ Cunningham
1st Honor Award: Seth Haverkamp
2nd Honor Award: Adam Clague
3rd Honor Award: Olga Krimon
Certificates of Excellence: Paul Batch, Aimee Erickson, Gavin Glakas, Kristy Gordon, Barbara Kiwak, Sandra Kuck, Clement Kwan, Ricky Mujica, Aapo Pukk, James Tennison, Wesley Wofford

Knitter's Gift
Oil on linen • 30"x30" • Available 6/7/14 at the OPA National
(To inquire, contact the Bennington Center for the Arts)
I praise God for allowing me to win the 2nd Honor Award for my painting, Knitter's Gift! I am so humbled and honored.

Andrea and I had a blast at the conference, and are looking forward to attending the conference next year in Atlanta!

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  1. Great post, Adam. Thank you. A nice summary for those of us who didn't make it this year. Also appreciate the links. Congratulations on your award, your work is always outstanding.

  2. Thanks very much, Monique and Candace!

  3. Hi Adam,

    I just wanted to say thank for the great blog! I've spent the last couple of hours reading through your post, enjoying the art and trying to soak up all the knowledge you offer. I also appreciate that you share your Christian faith so openly. Both as an artist and a fellow believer, your are an inspiration!


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