Editor’s Letter | Long Live Realism: Reflections on the Weekend With the Masters

By Kristin Hoerth

Two Children With Pond Yachts by C.W. Mundy.

Two Children With Pond Yachts by C.W. Mundy, a WWTM instructor. The painting is part of the Great American Figurative Show.

There was a time when it was difficult for an aspiring representational artist to get a good education. In the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, when abstract expressionism and similar styles took hold of the art world, countless university art programs ridiculed students who wanted a classical art education. Thankfully, that’s not the case today: There are numerous art schools across the country that offer solid training in realism, and even more workshops taught by experienced artists throughout the year.

There are also events like Weekend With the Masters, a gathering of highly regarded master artists and aspiring students of all ages that takes place each fall in a picturesque destination. I had heard lots of good things about the event during its first three years. So I was thrilled when it recently became part of the art community at F+W Media, Southwest Art’s parent company, and I was able to attend the fourth annual gathering just outside San Diego, CA.

The four-day Weekend featured workshops, demonstrations, and lectures by 20 master artists like Quang Ho, Jeremy Lipking, David Leffel, Carolyn Anderson, Dan Gerhartz, and C.W. Mundy. All of the activities took place on the sprawling grounds of the Rancho Bernardo Inn, which meant that a sense of camaraderie—as well as the smell of oil paint—permeated the weekend.

In addition to the daytime classes was a series of special evening events: a side-by-side portrait demonstration featuring artists Sherrie McGraw and Rose Frantzen; an evening of roundtable discussions in which small groups had the opportunity for candid conversation about art; and a silent auction to benefit young artists through the California Art Club’s Mentor Program and the WWTM Scholarship Fund.

My favorite evening event, though, was the panel discussion on the first night. The four panelists—Daniel Greene, David Leffel, Tony Pro, and Jeremy Lipking—had a lively conversation on topics ranging from beauty to personal style to photography to honesty in art. What stood out to me was the ringing affirmation of representational art as a growing and thriving genre. In a world that is increasingly global, realism connects and communicates with people regardless of language or location; in a world that is increasingly digital, it underscores the importance of the handmade. Here’s to an equally robust future for this essential art form and those who choose to study it.


Featured in the November 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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