Last year I introduced Allison Coleman, a returning adult art student of mine, to the wonders of the Portrait Society of America’s annual conference. She said later, “It changed my life.”

Now we both have just returned from her second, and my eighth or ninth, this one located in Reston, Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.

The first night of the 18th Annual Portrait and Figurative Artist Conference of the Portrait Society of America, we wandered around the circle made in a humongous conference room, sitting in the chairs behind a segment of 3 painters actively painting one model. I believe there were 5 models and 15 painters. Seeing the rich variety of viewpoints and media used was part of the education, as the Society continued to educate us through the experience alone, on the superior merits of painting from life, and in this case, a la prima, or, all at one sitting.

On Friday, we cased the art materials’ room, buying what we had determined we would beforehand, in some cases more or different. This year, I found an awesome frame with birch panel insert for the painting that I substituted for my usual auction sale, an event which is so much fun, I went to the Mystery Art Sale and decided what I would have purchased, since last year I bought one painted by my very favorite portraitist, Bart Lindstrom. (link to last year’s article) This year, there were fewer freebies to be had, but we lucked into a few, plus some very good deals.
We did all our scouting on Friday, since Allison had to help in the book selling section this year. They have awesome books. I did buy the book, 100 Masterpieces, the National Galleries of Scotland, by Sir John Leighton, our keynote speaker at the Saturday night Banquet (pix Allison & me). Of course, I got his autograph.

This year, like last, products from Thursday night’s paint-out were sold in silent auction, punctuated by loud ending to aid the bidding process. Two years ago, I bought one of those. Last year I bought a painting from the mystery sale, a fixed-price, blind auction of 6 x 9’s painted by famous artists here and abroad. I always pick one board which hangs several I like, because if two want one painting, drawing names from a hat steals time. 

For four days, we raced from celebrity demonstration to illustrated lectures to sight-size stage demonstrations by the best artists, seeing their creations emerge in mirrors right next to the models’ faces.

In between, we looked at fellow artists’ portfolios, learned new presentation methods, and I competed in same, viewed the International Portrait Competition finalists works, went to a mix-and-talk party with them, and I got so many wonderful interchanges and pictures of them I can only share a few. But I talked to artists from Canada, Scotland, the U.S., and many other countries. One of my break-out sessions, I got to draw several models and be critiqued by

Together, we should be able to strategize better for entering their phenomenal shows and sharing crucial tips, both for painting and for entering their shows.

TA room full of winning paintings (xx out of xxxxx entries), was phenomenal, and included sculpture, relief, drawing, and painting.(Link)  Among the winners was the Estonian who attended art school in St. Petersburg, Russia(Estonia is the setting for my novel, Veiled in White) that I sat with last year. Each year I agree to help a new conference-goer, and I finally got to meet her at the end of the event. She said she found me by my pink hair strands.

Such a fun conference. I’m vetting two more Art on Broad Atelier/j’Originals’ art students to join the circuit.


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Poem Wins Award

Happy my poem, “On Wings,” won an honorable mention in the Love category. I’ll be reading it on May 28, 2016, at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, along with the others. The program starts at 10:00, or earlier. Everyone is invited. After the reading, I’ll post the poem’s url. It will be published in the NCPS’s literary journal, Pinesong.
Dear Poets:
Here’s a complete list of the prize-winning poems and poets as selected by our distinguished judges:
North Carolina Poetry Society 2015-2016 Contest Results
Poet Laureate Award (Preliminary Judge Zeina Hashem Beck, Final Judge Poet Laureate of North Carolina Shelby Stevenson)
  • Description: A single prize of $100 for a serious poem, any subject, any style, maximum of 110 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text). Poems in this category are not published in Pinesong.
    Winner: “Dressing While Dying” by Stephanie Levin
    “Smoke” by Melissa Hassard
    “Pinning Chance” by Susan Lefler
    “Liminal” by Bill Griffin
    “Eclipse of a Blood Moon: Southport, North Carolina” by Mary Hennessy
    “Wild Dogs of Istanbul” by Andrea Bates
    In all other contests, the cash awards are $50 for First Prize, $25 for Second Prize and $15 for Third Prize. All the numbered prize poems and Honorable Mentions were offered publication in the 2016 edition of Pinesong. The number of Honorable Mentions awarded were at the discretion of the judges (maximum of three per contest).
    Caldwell Nixon Jr. Award (Judge Shaindel Beers)
    Sponsored by the family of Sallie Nixon
  • Poems written by adults for children 2 to 12 years of age.
  • Any form, any style, maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “Nezumi to the kiln mice” by Susan Lefler
    Second Prize: “Snow Day” by Bonnie Korta
    Third Prize: “A Six-Year-Old Reads The Watership Down Film Picture Book” by Alice Osborn
    Honorable Mention: “Noah Knows Noise” by CarolynYork
    Honorable Mention: “Winter at Grandmother’s House” by Katherine Wolfe
    Honorable Mention: “Green Snakes, Grasshoppers, and Goldfish” by Stella Whitlock
    Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love Award (Judge Erica Goss)
    Sponsored by Dave Manning
  • Any form, any style, on the theme of love.
  • Maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “In Which Symmetry Holds Up a Mirror to Love” by C.G. Thompson
    Second Prize: “Not on Paper” by Jim Henley
    Third Prize: “Sailing” by David T. Manning
    Honorable Mention: “Toolbox” by Charles Wheeler
    Honorable Mention: “On Wings” by Joanna A. McKeithan
    Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award (Judge Roberta Beary)
    Sponsored by Sue Farlow and Bill Griffin
    (Since Haiku are traditionally untitled, the first line is given in place of the title.)
    First Prize: “my daughter has grown” by Martin Settle
    Second Prize: “fog drifts” by Melinda Myerly
    Third Prize: “mast year” by Peter Krones
    Honorable Mention: “fog weaving” by Debbie Strange
    Honorable Mention: “day’s run” by Mike Blottenberger
    Honorable Mention: “turning 50” by Keith Woodruff
    Joanna Catherine Scott Award (Judge Gilbert Allen)
    Sponsored by Joanna C. Scott
  • Sonnet or other traditional form (with the exception of sestinas).
  • Maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “Eighteen Weeks” by Jenna Cornely
    Second Prize: “Hymn” by Beth Copeland
    Third Prize: “Peach Tree” by JS Absher
    Honorable Mention: “The Dying of the Light” by JoAnn Hoffman
    Honorable Mention: “Benediction” by Jane Shlensky
    Katherine Kennedy McIntyre Light Verse Award (Judge Steven Schroeder)
    Sponsored by Diana Pinckney
  • Any form, any style, including limericks.
  • Maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “Ladylike Behaviors” by Jane Shlensky
    Second Prize: “Me and Sam Ragan Hike Bluff Mountain in Search of a Certain Lady” by Bill Griffin
    Third Prize: “I’m Gonna Lose Weight!” by Melinda Lyerly
    Honorable Mention: “Now I See Maneki-nekos Wherever I Go” by Deborah H. Doolittle
    Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award (Judge Lola Haskins)
    Endowed by Pepper Worthington
  • Any form, any style, on the theme of American heritage, brotherhood/sisterhood, or nature.
  • Maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
  • First Prize: “A Widow on Chester Street” by Ashley Memory
    Second Prize: “Radio Tower” by Preston Martin
    Third Prize: “Touch Me Not” by JS Absher
    Honorable Mention: “Learning to Plant by the Signs” by Jane Shlensky
    Honorable Mention: “Gasoline and Liquor” by Justin Hunt
    Honorable Mention: “Still Searching” by Les Brown
    Poetry of Courage Award (Judge Allison Blevins)
    Endowed by Ann Campanella
  • Any form, any style, on the theme of courage or crisis.
  • Maximum of 36 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “Outer Bark” by Martin Settle
    Second Prize: “Dysthymia” by Susan Alff
    Third Prize: “Remaining” by Stephanie Smith
    Honorable Mention: “Sky Walkers” by Valerie Macon
    Honorable Mention: “Ambushed After My Mother’s Funeral” by Susan Lefler
    Ruth Morris Moose Sestina Award
    Endowed by Ruth Moose
  • Any poem in the sestina form.
    First Prize: “Catch and Launch” by Julie Ann Cook
    Second Prize: “Death Tax” by Holly Cian
    Third Prize: “Neighbors” by Deborah H. Doolittle
    Honorable Mention: “Noir” by Bill Griffin
     Thomas H. McDill Award
    Sponsored by the Board of the NC Poetry Society
  • Any form, any style, maximum of 70 lines (including poem title, any epigraph, blank lines, and lines of text).
    First Prize: “Valentine” by Melissa Hassard
    Second Prize: “Labyrinth” by Susan Lefler
    Third Prize: “The Dance” by David T. Manning
    Honorable Mention: “corpus” by Sarah Edwards
    Poetry of Protest Award
    Co-Sponsored by Bob Katrin and Jacar Press
    First Prize: “Gunfight at the Badgett Range” by Stella Ward Whitlock
    Second Prize: “Winter Solstice” by Beth Copeland
    Third Prize: “Prayers” Mark Smith-Soto
    Honorable Mention: “Bluebird Prospective” by Joyce Brown
    Honorable Mention: “From Abu Grhraib to San Bernadino” by Eric Weil
    Honorable Mention: “Extinction of the Milky Way” by Claudine Moreau
    Congratulations to all the winning authors and all the participating authors who helped make our contests competitive!
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