Wednesday, March 15, 2017

News so Good it Made Me Cry...

This week I found out that "A Fleeting Moment" was selected as a finalist in the Portrait Society's international competition!

This is a really big deal... for me, anyway. :-) I've applied to the competition every year for the last eight years, but never made the cut of the final 20 or 25, although I have gotten top 40 two years in a row. The Portrait Society's annual conference is one of the biggest highlights of my year. Last year they honored me with a place on the faculty, and this year, I not only return as faculty, but also as a first-time finalist. My painting is one of only 23 works chosen from 2000+ entries and the work this year is... well, incredible.

When I got off the phone after receiving the good news, I had tears of joy running down my face. I have worked so hard for this and feel incredibly grateful!

I'll be borrowing the portrait back from my collector, and bringing it with me to display in Atlanta next month at the four-day conference and compete for top prizes. Most finalists exhibit work that is large-scale and costs a fortune to ship. My painting is only 8x6 inches... I can carry it onto the plane!

They asked me to describe my inspiration behind this painting, and here's what I wrote: "The subject is my greatest muse, my 2-year-old daughter Cecelia. She had been dressed up for a special occasion but instead of mingling with the crowd, she wanted to be outside, exploring the surrounding neighborhood. I watched as she flitted like a butterfly from door to door, but for a split second, she stopped and stared off contemplatively. Everyone tells me that these early years pass by in an instant. It was this concept, wrapped up in the immediacy of a single moment, that I hoped to capture in the painting. The portrait itself is but a wisp, a moment's breath conveyed through its small size, loose brushwork, and simple design."

I knew this piece had a chance at the competition when my good friend, world-class artist Quang Ho, had nothing critical to say about it. He described it simply as, "A big little painting."

Thank you, Portrait Society of America! I am truly honored and grateful!


"A Fleeting Moment" - 8x6" - Private Collection
2017 Finalist in the PSOA's International Competition

P.S. There will be a limited number of copies of my book, "The Wait and the Reward," available for sale at the conference. I will be doing a book signing on Saturday, April 22, from 12:30-1. Anyone who purchases my book and comes to the book signing will receive a signed limited edition print of this painting, "A Fleeting Moment" (only 12 prints available).  So please stop by!
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Recent Happenings

Where has the year gone already? My goal was to live this year with intention and yet somehow, blogging ended up getting cut from the list of priorities... unintentionally. I will try my best to give a recap of the last month, as I happened to be extremely busy but with all good things.

Vacation in Cancun
In mid-February, Steve and I spent a short weekend vacationing in Cancun, Mexico, and for the first time in my life I realized there is a difference between "traveling" and "going on vacation." This was actually a vacation! But, I brought my painting stuff along anyway. I'm really glad I did. Painting waves, palm trees, and sunrises turned out to be a joyous pastime. Even better: the weather was perfect, and my office attire was a swim suit!



While Steve kept a safe distance from the local wildlife, I was utterly delighted by all the iguanas that sunned themselves each day by the beach. Next time I come back I will have to paint them.


Painting waves: the ultimate challenge. If you think a person sitting for a portrait doesn't hold still, well... just try painting the ocean!


Since this was an international trip, I decided not to worry about using solvent, which would be very hard to find locally. I used walnut oil to thin my paint while I worked, then cleaned my brushes with linseed oil soap when I finished for the day.


Above: my last painting of the vacation: a sunrise over the ocean, 8x10". I had to finish this one in the studio, since the sunrise happened so quickly. But I managed a good block-in and it didn't take long to bring the finished painting together.

Workshop in Georgetown, TX
February 17-19 took me back to the familiar and friendly state of Texas, where I taught a 3-day workshop in the small town of Georgetown, outside of Austin. I had a wonderful group of students and models, and the Georgetown Art Center proved to be an excellent venue. I'm already looking forward to coming back!



Happenings in Denver
February blessed us with a couple of really beautiful 70-degree days. On one of those days, my dear friend and fellow artist, Adrienne Stein, and I collaborated with one of our favorite models to paint on location at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Sydney is a fantastic model and will be showing up in many of my upcoming works. Sadly for us, she is moving off to France, so we have tried to work with her as often as possible before she leaves! I've said this before... the best models always move away. :-(




A new painting of Sydney, 24x16", "Flora" (available)

In addition to lots (dozens!) of independent projects I have going on, I'm thrilled to say that I'm now working with three new art galleries around the country: Cecil Byrne Gallery in Charleston, SC, TwoTen Fine Art in San Antonio, TX, and Saks Galleries in Denver. My painting "Among the Hydrangeas" received special recognition in Cecil Byrne's recent "Bringing Beauty Back" exhibition and is currently available through the gallery. I am working on some brand new figurative works for Saks Galleries' upcoming spring show, opening May 12. So lots of exciting things in the works!

Finally... I always greatly look forward to the annual "Art of the Portrait" conference hosted by the Portrait Society of America. This year they have asked me back on faculty and given me lots of exciting things to do, including painting in the Face-Off demo, announcing on the main stage, giving portfolio critiques, book signing (for my book "The Wait and the Reward"), and participating in a panel discussion about managing a successful career, as well as a break-out session called "Doing Your Visual Homework." If you are a figurative artist, this event is a must. They are not paying me to participate - I simply LOVE going each year and learning from other artists. Now I'm thrilled that I can give back and be a part of the fun. :-) So I hope you'll join us next month in Atlanta.


Photo of me from last last year, painting in the "Face-Off" demo at the Portrait Society of America
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