Artist Jacob Collins on the main stage at FACE17

Hundreds of figure and portrait painters gathered this past week in Miami at the historic Biltmore Hotel for the first ever Figurative Art Convention & Expo (FACE). The event, designed to provide painters with an experience to develop their techniques, skills, philosophy, and marketing, was met with rave reviews by attendees.

Hundreds of figure and portrait painters gathered this past week in Miami, Florida, at the historic Biltmore Hotel for the first ever Figurative Art Convention & Expo (FACE). The event, created by Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, was designed to provide painters with an experience to develop their techniques, skills, philosophy, and marketing. It was met with rave reviews by attendees. Included with the event and held simultaneously was TRAC (The Representational Art Conference) for academics in the art world.

Jordan Sokol demonstrates his figure drawing techniques.

The week started with three pre-convention workshops: Jordan Sokol of the Florence Academy taught a two-day course on drawing the figure, Daniel Gerhartz offered a two-day workshop on painting the figure, and Graydon Parrish provided a one-day workshop on color, highlighting the Munsell color system.

A packed Expo Hall at FACE17
Max Ginsburg with Fina Mooney

The event opened with Fine Art Connoisseur Publisher Eric Rhoads offering comments about his dream of creating an event just for museum-quality realists where they can gather as a community, sharing processes and ideas. Rhoads said, “If we gather and work together toward a common goal, there will come a day when you, the artists in this room, will receive the recognition you deserve and your works will be selling for tens of millions of dollars. This event is not only about developing or improving your technique, it’s about the heart of your art, your purpose, and how you can soar as an artist.”

Sherrie McGraw demonstrates her portrait techniques on the main stage at FACE17.
The VIP party at FACE17

Rhoads then introduced Fine Art Connoisseur Editor-in-Chief Peter Trippi, who welcomed attendees and reinforced Rhoads’s message. Trippi then introduced Michael Pearce, associate professor at California Lutheran University, who ran the TRAC portion of the event.

Publisher Eric Rhoads with Michael Harding of Michael Harding Oils
Sherrie McGraw, David Leffel, and Peter Trippi

After introducing those who were awarded FACE scholarships, which included registration, hotel room, and spending money, Rhoads introduced 13-year-old student Fina Mooney, who received a standing ovation for her essay about how artists can embrace and train younger students at a more sophisticated level, without assuming they are not up to the task.

David Leffel demonstrates his portrait techniques on the main stage at FACE17.
David Leffel demonstrates his portrait techniques on the main stage at FACE17.

The opening also included a lecture by Donald Kuspit, as well as a panel with Graydon Parrish, Jacob Collins, and Patricia Watwood, moderated by Peter Trippi. This was followed by a demo by artist Max Ginsburg.

The VIP party at FACE17
Publisher Eric Rhoads with Artist/Faculty Graydon Parrish
Publisher Eric Rhoads with Suzanne Johnson
Editor-in-Chief Peter Trippi with John Buxton

Headlining the event were faculty including the world’s finest figurative and portrait painters, among them Jacob Collins, Juliette Aristides, Daniel Graves, Max Ginsburg, Steven Assael, Ryan S. Brown, Daniel Gerhartz, Graydon Parrish, Jordan Sokol, John Coleman, Michael Mentler, Patricia Watwood, Gregory Mortenson, David A Leffel, Linda Comas, Michel Langlais, Lee Hutt, and Sherrie A. McGraw.

John Coleman demonstrates his sculpture techniques on the main stage at FACE17.

TRAC speakers included Donald Kuspit, Stephen Hicks, Elliot Bostwick Davis, Shannon Robinson, Joseph Bravo, Michael Pearce, and others with a focus on information for academics in college art programs.

Jan Jewell and Sue Coleman

The convention also included a hands-on opportunity for artists to practice what they learned each day in a studio with live models and mentors to work with artists. One of three ballrooms was used as an artist studio, with nine models and 125 painters. It was an incredible sight.

Artists paint live models during FACE17

Another ballroom was filled with art materials vendors offering paint, panels, frames, and training, as well as a store with art books and videos.

Artist/Faculty Gregory Mortenson, Jordan Sokol, and Ryan Brown

At the closing, Rhoads reinforced the importance of the mission of this event, which is to offer museum-quality artists a home that is focused on their specific issues and their community.

FACE 2018 is now accepting registrations.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the Editor of Fine Art Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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