Breakout Session Two: What is
Portrait?
Panel discussion with David Kassan,
Rose Frantzen, Burt Silverman and Daniel Greene
With Scott Burdick as Moderator
The panel was asked their views on
portraits in general, especially commissioned portraits
:
David K. –
expresses emotion through portraiture.  He
does not do commissions because he is after the truth. Most clients would not
want their portrait done as David sees them. 
Burt- Feels
he is not a successful portrait painter (!—-I beg to differ with him!)  A society for portrait painting is doomed per
Burt. He is at a loss to give prescriptions. Compares to headwinds: there is a
personal need for self representation. In the larger environment and under the
constraints of a commission he questions ‘here’s what I think is important to
make a good painting?’
Rose-  She attempts to get beyond that by creating
the painting together with her client. She feels people ache to be seen. There needs
to be more looking to find the beauty. 
Daniel- He
has actually turned down some commissions. He is a reporter-paints HIS
impression and not anyone else’s. Portraits are perpetuating an image. You have
the sitter/client point of view and the artist’s view. Painting portraits give
you an opportunity to paint, to practice the mechanics of painting.
David- Adds
that commissioned portraits force you into a box with no individuality.
Rose- Adds
that her job is to discover the person. There is room for growth. With
photography there is not an intentive being. 
Burt- He
feels we have a dual position as an artist and a member of society. He has
found power to be sexy and related a story of being asked to paint Hillary
Clinton. While waiting to meet with her at the White House he felt like the
wait staff. Then she walked in and all he could say was ‘You are so beautiful!’  The seduction of power as he relates it.  Painting is important. Asks ‘how does it
color your perception?’ Painting is not just a composite, it is an accretion.
Photography pretends to be as good as him but it is not. 
Dan- Don’t
solicit approval!
Question: Do you paint what you think
a museum will want someday?
David- has
not had much museum exposure but it would be a thrill to touch his painting on
the wall.
Rose- Tries
not to please the subject. If she can accept the conditions she is in she can
paint it.  Painting is like a laboratory.
You must ‘walk in’ with a welcoming posture.
Burt- It has
to be personal. He doesn’t think of them as portraits, he thinks of them as
paintings. In his opinion the more important the people are the more
compromised is the painting. 
Closing comments by the panel- their
future, random views
David- It is
all about the person, not about him. He wants to be the recorder. He is
influenced by all of us. The better we get the better he will get. He loves
Facebook and the ability it gives us to see everyone’s work. Painting is a
journey, not a destination. It is an intellectual exercise.
Rose-  Business of portrait art/her clients are
looking for her point of view
Burt-
Painting is the anti-camera method. What is the quality you bring to your art?
Criteria of what he wants or doesn’t want. 
Feels photography is a closed circuit.