Best of the 2009 Learning and Product Expo: Chicago

Note from Grace: This guest blog comes from my coworker Kelly. Enjoy!

Linda Kemp teaches workshop attendees new applications for negative painting.

The first of two Learning and Product Expos was held in Chicago this past weekend. Artists came from all over to take workshops with their favorite instructors, score some excellent deals on art supplies and check out new products. As an editor for North Light Books, it was exciting to see some of our authors in action and so many of our readers at the show., a media sponsor of the show, had a booth with show attendees scooping up deals on books from North Light, issue compilations from The Artist’s Magazine and DVDs from ArtistsNetwork.TV. North Light authors Laurie Humble and Joyce Faulknor signed their books at the booth, too. You can see them giving one another’s books the once over (right).

In addition to deals at manufacturer’s booths, the workshops drew a lot of interest from the crowds, especially the free demonstrations held in the shows pavilion stage. Patti Brady, author of Rethinking Acrylic, gave a free demonstration on the properties of acrylic paint (below), while Linda Kemp, author of Watercolor: Painting Outside the Lines, taught workshop attendees new applications for negative painting (up top).

Patti Brady gives a free demonstration on the properties of acrylic paint.

My favorite part of the show was the Next Top Artist competitions held on Friday and Saturday. Each competition began with five contestants who were given three colors and were asked to complete a painting on a given subject in eight minutes. From there, the judges eliminated two contestants. The remaining three contestants were given another color for use in their palette and a new subject to paint in five minutes. The winner received a gift certificate from show sponsor Dick Blick, $100 in books from North Light, Holbein acrylic paints or Sennelier, as well as bragging rights for at least a year. Congratulations to Christy Groner (at right) who won first place in the acrylic competition on Friday for her portrait of Ed Brickle from Canson and to Judy Gray who one first place in the pastel competition on Saturday for her portrait of audience member Susan Henshaw.

Visit the Learning and Product Expo website to learn more about the show and to register for the Pasadena show in October.

—Kelly C. Messerly

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