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I recently had the pleasure of participating in the Portrait Society of America’s annual conference “Art of the Portrait” in Philadelphia.  It was a wonderful experience.  Making art is ultimately a solitary experience so sharing experiences other serious figurative artists is reaffirming and supportive.

I was able to finally meet in person a couple of painters that I got to know via social media: Tony Pro and Mario Robinson.  They are great painters and really nice guys.  I also saw painter David Kassan who I  previously met in Florence.  Edward Jonas, the sculptor and Christine Egnoski were gracious hosts and organized a truly positive event.  I look forward to participating in another conference and meeting more interesting artists.

Another highlight was talking shop with the technical director of Natural Pigments, George O’Hanlon.  In addition to being extremely knowledgable about the traditional art materials, George is a fresco painter as well (in the russian tradition).

I had the honor to be awarded a Certificate of Excellence for the bust of Richard Serrin.

Richard Serrin, terracotta, life-size

There is more info on the winners and the conference at the PSOA’s blog that can be found here.  Honestly the experience was a bit overwhelming.  After years of living  as an Ex pat in Europe returning to the States always produces a bit of culture shock.  Or maybe it was just Fox news.

Philadelphia is a beautiful city as well.  It is full of green parks and very pedestrian friendly.  There is also some quality public sculpture is sprinkled throughout the urban fabric.

The Philadelphia museum of art has a very nice collection that is well presented. A beautiful building by Frank Furness houses the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  One of the highlights of that collection is a bust by Hiram Powers.