USCB art student wins scholarship to national portraiture conference

info@islandpacket.comMarch 11, 2013 

A University of South Carolina Beaufort studio-art student has won one of three national scholarships to attend a conference on portraiture.

Frances McNair, a Beaufort native and freshman at USCB, will attend the Portrait Society of America's conference in Atlanta in late April, with help from a scholarship that covers about $500 in tuition costs.

McNair will attend the conference and participate in classes and workshops, technical discussions and lectures, and receive one-on-one critiques. She'll also be able to meet other artists and agents, and visit area museums.

"I've been following some of the artists that are going to be there on Instagram, and that really inspired me to pursue this," she said. "I know I'll learn a lot from watching these great artists and just being immersed in it for a whole weekend."

McNair first began studying and creating portraits as a high school student in private art lessons. She's only done a handful so far, she said, but has enjoyed the process and plans to do more.

"I like the challenge to capture a person's face and figures," she said. "It's different than landscapes. Slight variations in the face can totally change the outcome."

McNair won the scholarship by submitting a short essay explaining how she would benefit from attending the conference. She also submitted three samples of her portrait work, including her favorite, which depicts her sister, Katherine, in her wedding dress.

Without the scholarship, McNair said, she likely wouldn't have been able to attend the conference. Its cost -- plus the fact that it takes place right before finals at USCB -- gave her pause.

But now, "I'm super excited," she said.

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