Arts & Entertainment

Haverkamp Combines Performance & Painting at ArtSpace Demo

334sethportraitAfter his last appearance about two years ago, award-winning portrait artist Seth Haverkamp made a triumphant return to Falls Church this past week.

Last Saturday, Oct. 12, Haverkamp conducted a two-hour master portrait artist demonstration at ArtSpace Falls Church that was described as “performance art” by writer James George and “mesmerizing” by local resident and audience member Beth Peppe.

More than 40 people assembled to watch the speedy and magical transformation of a blank canvas into a striking portrait study of Shaun van Steyn, outreach director for Falls Church Arts. Van Steyn modeled for the event per Haverkamp’s request.

“It was great to have Seth and his wife Kat back in Falls Church again, if only for a short visit,” said Kevin Rechin, friend of the family and another successful artist/illustrator, who introduced Haverkamp to the diverse audience of artists and interested public, many of whom had never witnessed an artist demonstration.

Haverkamp is no stranger to Falls Church Arts and ArtSpace Falls Church; he will be doing more demonstrations and weekend workshops on portrait painting in January and on painting the figure in April in the City for Falls Church Arts’ “Expanding the Arts” studio arts program.

Haverkamp comes from a family of artists – his grandfather, father, and two older brothers all work in the arts. In fact, Haverkamp credits his family as his main support system and inspiration since he was a young boy. He always knew that he wanted to be an artist.

In an interview in 2010, Seth said that in his early school years he loved to draw birds of prey; this continued until he was about 12 years old, when he became obsessed for many more years with fantasy figures à la “Dungeons and Dragons.” He would take a break here and there by doing portrait drawings of his family members.

Haverkamp furthered his arts education at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Memphis College of Art. He finished his liberal arts education at Carson-Newman College.

At Nelson Shanks’ Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Haverkamp took a two-week workshop and was bowled over by the speed, accuracy, and techniques he saw there.

“Nelson Shanks is a modern Vermeer,” Haverkamp said, recalling the 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

Haverkamp continued there for a whole year.

“All good teachers get you out of your safety zone,” Haverkamp said. “Fear holds you back, so being out of your safety zone is challenging but you only improve by working through it.”

Upon leaving Studio Incamminati, Haverkamp settled in a small studio in Falls Church, where his career in painting began. In continuing his education, Haverkamp took classes under master figure and portrait painter Robert Liberace. It was at this time that Haverkamp also started teaching others. He infused his teaching with the strongest elements of all his teachers, along with his personal approaches, for what he feels is a comprehensive technique.

Along with studio work, Haverkamp paints portrait commissions as well. Some notable subjects of commissioned work include: Bill Best, co-inventor of the radial tire; Michael Lockhart, president of Armstrong Flooring; and the daughter of Katherine Graham, former publisher of The Washington Post.

In 2008, Haverkamp was awarded Best In Show in the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition with the painting “Echo,” of his eldest daughter. In 2011, he received an Award of Excellence in the same competition for his painting of his wife, titled “The Matriarch.” In the 2013 competition, Haverkamp received Top Honors along with a People’s Choice Award for “Essie’s Headdress,” a painting of his second daughter.

Haverkamp currently resides in east Tennessee with his wife, who is also an artist, and their four children: Echo, Essie, Penelope, and Caspian.

His portrait commissions bring him to this area, and he will be teaching in the City of Falls Church for FCA in January and April.