Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Art of the Portrait 2012: The Vendors

One of the perks of attending the Art of the Portrait Conference is the vendor room, where dealers from across the nation (even across the ocean) gather to offer special deals just for Portrait Society of America members.  Many of these sellers are specialists whose products are only available for direct mail order or internet purchase, so this is a wonderful opportunity to see and handle the products in person.  And not only can attendees pick up great deals on the items for sale, they also have the option of asking questions about the products directly from the owners of the company.

Crowds gather at the Natural Pigments booth.

This year I had the opportunity to talk personally with several of the vendors.  Jack Richeson spoke excitedly to me about his new company The Brush Peddler (he recently handed the reins of  Jack Richeson & Co. to his progeny) which is small enough to carry the unusual items he discovers during his world travels, including an entirely synthetic varnish from Eastern Europe which mimics the qualities of the best copal varnish and which he hopes to soon stock.  Rosemary Thompson of Rosemary & Co. told me about the added measures she and her employees go to make sure her ferrules remain firmly attached to the brush handles (Rosemary's pet peeve is when ferrules on other manufacturer's brushes come loose and the brush ends wobble).  Newcomer Kyle O'Brien of New Wave Art Materials shared with me the effort the company put into developing their patent-pending, unique, palettes, from design testing by artist control groups, to mixing over five dozen varnish combinations until finding the one most pleasing to their clients (I ended up purchasing their Academian™ palette which is specifically designed for the layout of pre-mixed color strings and it is almost too beautiful to use).  And chemist George O'Hanlon of Natural Pigments shared with me some of his upcoming plans, including writing an article on what makes 17th century paintings more archival than 18th century works, and what makes 18th century paintings hold together better than their 19th century counterparts.  He also announced his plans for creating Frankfort Black, the bluest black known, from ingredients gathered from the wineries near his factory's new Northern California location.

(photo courtesy of Garth Herrick)

(photo courtesy of Garth Herrick)

Bart Lindstrom speaking to the lovely  Rosemary Thompson of Rosemary & Co.

Sometimes, the vendors arrange to have demonstrations given on the sales floor to show what can be done with their materials.  For the past several years, David Kassan has been one of the artists to give these demos, and it has become an event to which many people look forward.  These expositions are not part of the conference schedule, so attendees have to be careful to take note of when the vendors set up these events.

Mario Robinson examines David Kassan's drawing kit.
(photo courtesy of Garth Herrick)

General Pencil's Limited Edition David Kassan Drawing Set

General Pencil recently teamed up with Colorfin to create a Limited Edition Drawing Set for Kassan which he demonstrated to the crowd gathered near the General Pencil booth.  The set contains the materials Kassan regularly uses in his life drawings, from charcoal pencils of varying hardness to a pan of black PanPastel.  Included in the set is a printed step-by-step drawing tutorial by Kassan.  The set is available for pre-order now.

(photo courtesy of Garth Herrick)

(photo courtesy of Garth Herrick)


Katherine Thomas said...

Oh wow... I would love to have been there!

Jason de Graaf said...

That carpet is an acid trip waiting to happen.

innisart said...

@Jason The carpet is designed especially for artist use; you can drop a wet oil painting face down on the carpet, and no one will ever know the difference.