Figurative Art Convention studio session

Last week, hundreds of artists gathered for the 3rd Annual Figurative Art Convention & Expo. Enjoy the following visual recap of the event, and join us next time in Baltimore, Maryland, October 29-November 1, 2020.

Day 1: Live Demos with Daniel Maidman and Casey Baugh, and Painting Costumed Models Outdoors

This year we were in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, in a beautiful Inn complete with cobblestone sidewalks and brick archways. Indoors, a group of the world’s leading artists gave painting demonstrations, took questions from the audiences, and spent time just getting to know everyone in this intimate setting.

Early-comers were able to join Daniel Maidman and Casey Baugh for live five-hour painting demonstrations, and a large group of artists enjoyed a plein air painting session in town, including costumed models. Next year, you’ll have the opportunity to study with Juliette Artistides in the pre-convention workshop!

workshops for artists
Throughout the week artists had the opportunity to draw costumed models.
workshops for artists
Painting the figure outdoors at the Figurative Art Convention & Expo
drawing workshops for artists - Daniel Maidman
Daniel Maidman gave personal advice during his drawing workshop and demonstration

3 Tips from Daniel Maidman

1. You cannot pursue style directly. Style emerges as part of your maturing as an artist. The only way to do that is endless practice.
2. Only the brightest brights get some white. I may change that rule and have a light dusting of white over the light area and then brighter whites over the lightest. Ultimately it will be legible to the viewer but they will understand that drawing.
3. Don’t feel obliged to fill in the shadows. Build up slowly. Start in one area and develop outward from there.

painting workshops for artists Casey Baugh
Casey Baugh during the pre-convention workshop for artists

3 Quotes from Casey Baugh

1. “The right painting can change your entire outlook on life.”
2. “The secret to life is finding the right soundtrack.”
3. On choosing a photo reference: “I can’t verbalize why I like it. I’m tasting with my eyes.”

Lifetime Achievement Awards, Live Portrait Painting, and More

After the pre-convention painting workshops and the outdoor painting session with colonial-costumed models, attendees took advantage of a seminar on “Strategically Building Your Brand: How to position and sell your art.”

Later, we officially kicked off #FACE19 with a dynamic opening ceremony that included honoring Daniel Greene and Wende Caporale with Lifetime Achievement Awards. This was followed by Daniel and Wende modeling on stage for Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso and Joshua LaRock.

We then had greetings from Steven Alan Bennett and Elaine Melotti Schmidt from The Bennett Prize, which sponsored an energetic cocktail party for all attendees.

Figurative Art Convention Lifetime Achievements
Eric Rhoads (left), Daniel Greene (seated), Peter Trippi, and Wende Caporale at the Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony.

Daniel Greene and Wende Caporale

After accepting the awards, Daniel and Wende shared personal photos and examples of their works from over the years, including what certain paintings meant to them and why. In the painting shown on this screen, Daniel talked about the varied colors he used to express the model’s skin tones. They also took questions from the audience and provided insights from their experiences.

On art > “It’s difficult and it’s fascinating, and that’s why we do it.” ~Wendy Caporale

Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso

Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso painted a portrait of Daniel Greene, and (below) Joshua LaRock painted a portrait of Wende Caporale.

Joshua LaRock painting Wende Caporale

Figurative Art Convention scholarship for artists

Above: Our 2019 FACE Scholarship Recipients. Read about the this scholarship for artists and the winners here.

Reisha Perlmutter and Casey Baugh
Casey Baugh sits as a model for Reisha Perlmutter in the Expo Hall
Tony Curanaj - Figurative Art Convention

“If there’s a secret to painting, it’s value.” ~ Tony Curanaj (above) during his “Oil Painting Process and Helpful Techniques” seminar, during which he explained how to know which colors to buy, including standard paints to use and what to stay away from.

One of Tony’s tips: Use a shadow box to create a stage for your still painting, and visit a theatre supply house to find great props for your painting setups.

“I think we’re all here to support something we care deeply about,” Tony said. “It’s a skill that’s really difficult to master. It is steeped deeply in tradition. I think it makes the world a better place. It makes us human. Understanding art helps us understand each other a little better. We need that more than ever. When I had children this dawned on me more than ever. It’s an involuntary thing that they do, making art. They are perfectly wired.”

Charles Miano - Figurative Art Convention

During Charles Miano’s “Old Master Portrait Drawing” demo (above), he explained how he stretches first because he likes to “draw from the core,” and how he practices tai chi to develop a quiet mind. Charles drew Mardie Rees, a representational sculptor who was on the FACE faculty in 2018.

One of our favorite quotes from the session: “Drawing isn’t a snapshot. It’s a time and place,” he said.

Laura Pass Barry
Now celebrating her 25th year at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Laura Pass Barry provided a survey of the the foundation’s fascinating history and of the museum collections she knows so well.
Daniel Maidman drawing demonstration
Daniel Maidman’s drawing tools and art supplies

During Daniel Maidman’s life drawing demonstration on the main stage, attendees could see each stroke he made, and the tools he used. Early in the sketch, he told us, “I’ll gradually discover what this drawing is about.”

He added that “the real reward of drawing on toned paper is when you get to the whites because they just come to life..I’m getting a sense of the model’s body; how he moves, what’s natural for him. It helps expand my understanding of what’s natural, what will have grace and poetry.”

Carolyn Anderson painting demo
Carolyn Anderson’s portrait painting demo

Carolyn Anderson explained how a portrait can be more than a picture with a likeness. Her demonstration taught that “the most difficult part of painting the face is overcoming our symbol system for the things we name. Instead of creating a solid shape with information defining eyes, nose, mouth, etc., it’s possible to see the painting as made up of visual elements – line, shape, value, color, and edges – all in a relationship within the space of the canvas.”

Casey Baugh painting a portrait
Casey Baugh painting a portrait

Artists and art-lovers watched Casey Baugh energetically paint this portrait, with a great soundtrack to add to the atmosphere. When someone asked, “Do any of your paintings cause you to be emotionally drained?” He answered simply, “All of them.”

William Schneider painting demo
William Schneider showed us how to “channel” Nicolai Fechin’s broken-stroke oil techniques using pastel.
Anthony Mastromatteo still life
Anthony Mastromatteo led a talk on “the three-hour still life.”

Dan Thompson portrait painting

One of the things many of us love about FACE is the spontaneous acts of art. Above, Dan Thompson drew a crowd in the Expo Hall as he drew a portrait of Vered Shamir Pasternak at the Savoir Faire booth.

Jennifer Balkan figurative artist
Jennifer Balkan of Atelier Dojo – Austin drawing a model during the Studio session.

Art Studio at the Figurative Art Convention

As the models, including those who were clothed, costumed, or nude, got into positions, a room full of artists settled in with their easels, canvases, and sketchbooks in the Art Studio at the Figurative Art Convention (above). There was a soft murmur of brushes and pencils moving as everyone concentrated. Joshua LaRock, one of the many faculty members who were there to critique or help students, remarked, “Ah, the sound of art school.”

Dan Thompson painting demo
Dan Thompson provided a split-screen demonstration, in which attendees could watch him paint while Peter Trippi narrated Dan’s slide discussion on techniques and art philosophies through the ages.
Michael Klein portrait painting
Michael Klein painted a portrait of his wife during “Understanding Color Harmony and Palette Arrangement. He shared how he keeps his painting free and loose at the beginning, and explained why he prefers not to use the sight-size method, and instead keep his options about specific placements open.
Patricia Watwood - how to paint
In addition to much more, Patricia Watwood provided excellent advice on how to position a drawing on the canvas before beginning the composition during “Composing and Inventing a Pictorial World.”
John Spike lecture
John Spike gave a fascinating lecture titled “Realism: A Recurring Renaissance,” including his advice to contemporary artists, which is to accept any invitation to show your work, and that make sure that any time a piece leaves your house – even as a donation – to make sure it’s the best it can possibly be.
Teresa Oaxaca painting demo
“I always find myself wishing I had a bigger canvas,” said Teresa Oaxaca as she started a shadow block-in for a portrait. She added, “I like to paint someone in a traditional way but in an unconventional pose.”
Joshua LaRock portrait painting workshop
Joshua LaRock led a demo on “Painting Distinctive Portraits,” including helpful slides with illustrations showing examples of the “points” in a face, the tilts, shapes, and measurements one can use. He also explained how to adjust your model back into position after a break by comparing the cast shadows on his/her face versus the cast shadows on your painting.
Eric Johnson - Painting like Rembrandt
Eric Johnson covered materials and techniques used by the Old Masters of the 17th century to create harmonious, luminous paintings.
Nikolai Blokhin painting demo
Joining us from Russia, Nikolai Blokhin painted on the main stage in a demonstration translated by Professor Yvonne Howell.
Reisha Perlmutter figure painting workshop
Reisha Perlmutter created an alla prima figure painting. “I always say we should only paint what we know,” she said as she explained her philosophies and methodology.
Ryan Brown portrait painting
Ryan Brown used a combination of graphite and charcoal dust to start this portrait drawing during his lecture/demo.
Eric Rhoads
Having fun during a Home Room session (complete with prizes) with the historic aspects of being in Williamsburg!
Figurative Art Convention
Enjoying a little quiet time in the beautiful hotel.
Figurative Art Convention

During the Closing Ceremony, artists shared their personal stories about how the week has so greatly inspired them. In addition, an auction was held for demo paintings by Casey Baugh, Nikolai Blokhin, and Reisha Perlmutter (coming in over $26,000 total), and one lucky attendee won a free ticket to FACE 2020!

Figurative Art Convention
Casey Baugh and Reisha Perlmutter during a fun round of “Musical Easels.” Prior to this, Peter Trippi gave an interesting presentation on the future of the realism movement, including the strengths and the challenges that artists and galleries are facing.

Figurative Art Convention

Earlier in the day even more painting demonstrations took place, led by Scott Waddell (A Form-Based Approach to Painting Facial Features), Edward Minoff (painting Suggested Donation Podcast co-host Tony Curanaj), Jennifer Balkan (Exploring the Intensity of Color Using a Chromatic Color Palette); and William Suys, Jr. (Bringing Life to Portraits and the Figure).

Cherie Dawn Haas - Garry Kravit
As the editor of, I’d like to give my special thanks to Garry Kravit, artist, pilot, and FACE volunteer, who took excellent notes throughout the event, helping us share all the amazing happenings with you.

Join us next year in Baltimore, Maryland, for another unforgettable gathering to help support the contemporary realism movement!

Want more figurative art? See more photos when you follow #FACE19 on Instagram, and join our Realism Today Facebook group to share your art!