I returned a week ago from Atlanta, USA having attended a 3 day conference of workshops, lectures and meetings, where I was made to feel very welcome by numerous fellow artists and experts, just like my last trip to New York some 8 years ago. The sell-out Gala Awards Dinner was huge, with even some of the 800 delegates unable to get a place. I was honoured to be on one of the reserved tables with other finalists and special guests, which included owners of the top art suppliers in UK and USA. I sat next to a cosmetic surgeon; we had a interesting conversation about fascial muscles, I think we was surprised I could even name a few; we both agreed portrait artists should understand them more ! As my exhibition piece was a self portrait, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised when I was approached, stared at in the lift or pointed out ... "hey, you're the pencil portrait guy in the exhibition". Slightly embarrassing but fun I have to admit. In short, a truly memorable event.
For the record I would like to say thank you to all who made my stay in Atlanta a wonderful experience; hope to be back again. ( Images below: the awards and the Face-Off session in the large hall, where selected artists paint one of a dozen models, while attendees watch, the finished paintings being auctioned off later. I have some experience of this format at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in London and it is great fun.)