Inside the 2015 American Portrait Society Conference. Part III: The Finalists Are...

Some of the Finalists at the 2015 International Portrait Society Competition (video).

This was one of my favorite parts at the Portrait Conference in Atlanta. To see at close the exceptional talent from portrait artists around the world competing for the grand prize at the elegant Grand Hyatt Hotel.

After looking through the elegant room with ambience lighting the contending artworks which included drawings, oils and sculpture I knew which ones were my favorites. Yes, if was not one but two that captured my liking and knowing that it a casting ballot for peiople's choice going on I was excited to get my vote but for whom?

Little did I know that $66,000 were to be awarded at the grand ceremony later on the week but that I would get the chance to meet the artists whose work had gotten my liking.

My vote went to Theodora Daniela Capat from Sweden, Portrait of Sir Henry Sahlstrom (Pencil and


Yes, my vote went to Daniela (I didn't read names or other details as I din't want to be biased by other things only focus on the artwork). I was in awe at her work the intricacies and the love she put in that piece is clearly visible. My second favorite was David Sandell:

He was from England, and he is just excellent! This marvelous artwork was done in colored pencil and it just WOWS at you (was kind of funny though as I was filling out my ballot, I saw a bold headed guy headed to the showroom's exit with the same exact pose. The full room didn't notice him but my brain lighted up with recognition it was HIM!) I just stop him and said: "It is you on the wall, isn't it? That was wonderful! Congratulations" He smiled faintly and said just thank you. Little did I know that he was not just the model for that paintint but the artist himself (learned that on the night of the ceremony). I was so thrilled!

I also met Daniela Capat. I even sat next to her! While waiting for the doorsto open at the auditorium the night of the ceremony. She looked familiar to me and asked her if she was related to this well known artist there. She wasn't to please me (maybe my English or her English, lol!) but her face told me so very clearly. Then that night when she got in the podium I saw the same girl clearly on the big screen and knew it was her. I was thrilled again but also felt dumb, I wish I had known earlier so I could have told this two people how extraordinary their work was on my eyes.

If I have to choose a third favorite, I would have chosen David Kassan with his portray of "Dorothy", he is an amazing, amazing artist and how lucky am I also. Before writing this post I didn't know he was the guy whose beautiful video appeared on YouTube (you have to watch it is just a few minutes long).

David and Daniela are just kids really and seing that craftmanship and care to detail that should be inherited to portraiture makes feel exhilarated and happy because the future of portait is in good hands!

Of course they didn't "win" but I can bet they are not unhappy with what they have achieved so far. Well done guys!