1st Place — Irene Bailey

Juror: Terry Strickland

The Ventulett Gallery
Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church
805 Mt Vernon Hwy
Atlanta, GA 30327


Dates: October 14, 2021 to November 14, 2021

Click a thumbnail image to view a larger image. The Juror’s comments are shared below the image galleries.

Award Winners


Advisory Board Submissions (non-juried)


Jurors Statement, 2021 Fall Portrait Competition, Sept 24, 2021

Thank you, Portrait Society of Atlanta for inviting me to jury your 2021 Fall Exhibition.

It was an honor and privilege to be able to do so for you. The submitted work was diverse in style and was a pleasure to view. I used three self-imposed criteria for the jurying process: 1. technique and craftsmanship, 2. composition, and 3. concept.

Technique and craftsmanship are vital in any work of art but especially so in the genre of portraiture. Good draftsmanship, beautiful paint quality, expressive mark-making, and capturing a likeness or expression are vital qualities of successful portraits.

The composition should always be a consideration when making any work of art. A dynamic underlying abstract design is the foundation for every art element that follows. The unusual placement of a model on the canvas, use of a strong value scheme, and lines that draw our eye back into the painting and to our focal point are tools we use to invite our viewers to linger over our work.

Having a concept is important even for portraiture. It could be as simple as the desire to capture an intriguing face in a beautiful light, creating life-like flesh tones with paint, or as complicated as a narrative story created with symbols, background elements, or costuming.

My first place choice, The World is My Oyster, had me coming back to it multiple times to discern its meaning. The model has an open, confident, and intriguing expression and body language. In the background is an Asian tapestry, and her costuming makes me think of a playful court jester. These elements must be important to the model and are visually powerful. The angles created by her arms and legs are dynamic rather than static which is refreshing in a portrait. The quiet area of her shirt allows our eyes to rest amid the busyness of the pants and tapestry. The artist has also wrangled the values in a complicated composition to a pleasing result. Painting the background values similar and darker than the figure has allowed the focal point to remain on the face. This painting checks all the boxes for my criteria, technique, concept, and composition.

My second-place award goes to The Pugilist’s Story. A pugilist is a boxer or a fighter. The artist has chosen to paint someone whose “life has been recorded on his face.” That’s a phrase often used to describe someone whose wrinkles and lines on their faces are evidence of their life story. This model has chosen to record his life tattooed in phrases and symbols important to him. And now the artist tells that provocative story. The painting works on a technical and compositional level as well, as it has beautiful paint quality, color, and attention to detail.

My third-place award goes to the painting Briana. The painting has a simple concept, the desire to capture the beautiful youth, and the subtle expression of the model. The artist injects a symbolic element with the inclusion of a heart pendant. The drawing and anatomy are excellent execution. The colorful flesh tones and successful use of transparent versus opaque paint create a stained-glass quality that makes the painting glow. This composition is made stronger by the use of dark and light patterns throughout the painting.

The four Merit Awards each have many attributes to commend them, and they were all in the running for an award. Each captured something more than simply a likeness, the goal of all great portrait artists.

Kudos to all who put their work out there to be judged. Thank you for trusting me to be your juror.

Happy painting and drawing! Cheers,
Terry Strickland