He's well known around town, and now artist John Ebersberger has been recognized by his peers across the country and internationally.
A popular teacher of impressionist painting and figure drawing at Maryland Hall, John won a certificate of excellence at the 2008 International Portrait Competition last month at the Portrait Society of America's 10th annual Art of the Portrait Conference in Philadelphia.
John's entry was among the top 32 award recipients out of a field of 1,300 entries from artists all over the world.
For figurative and portrait artists, the competition is the equivalent of film's Academy Awards.
'It's grown to be the leading competition for figurative art in America,' said Christine Egnoski, executive director of the Portrait Society of America.
John was recognized for a life-sized portrait he completed in January 2007 of Mackenzie Carnes of Richmond, Va., who was 7 at the time.
'It's really sensitive and the color is really sophisticated,' Christine said.
To get the setting just right, John had to look no further than his own doorstep. The oil-on-linen painting portrays Mackenzie in a white dress in the soft light of morning, sitting on the front steps of John's home on McKinley Street in Eastport, surrounded by pink geraniums and other potted flowers.
'I paint the majority of my paintings right in my garden and in the streets around where I live,' John said.
Roses climbing along a fence have worked their way into some of his other works.
John credits another highly regarded member of the Annapolis art scene - celebrated portrait artist Cedric Egeli - with teaching him about the technique of portraiture. Cedric is a grand prize medal winner and faculty member of the National Portrait Seminar. He shares a studio in Edgewater with his wife, Joanette, and grown children, Anastasia, Arthur and Ingrid, all accomplished artists.
John's success in portraying light and color was influenced, he said, by Henry Hensche, a member of the famed Provincetown, Mass., enclave of artists in the 1920s and 30s. John became a devoted student, and for 10 years spent every summer studying with the master impressionist until his death in 1992.
Cynthia McBride has represented John's work in her Main Street gallery for 25 years.
'I think it's wonderful that he's now getting the national recognition he deserves,' she said. 'His portraits are excellent. It's an amazing legacy that he's going to have.'
A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, John is a founder of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association.
Last year, he won the second-place ribbon at the sixth annual Paint Annapolis event for his painting 'Charles Street Light.' In 2000, John received the inaugural Annie Award for visual arts from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County. He is an artist member of the Maryland Society of Portrait Painters and an award-winning charter member of the American Impressionist Society, Inc.
John's work hangs in many collections, including at the Naval Academy, at Lockheed-Martin, the First Bank of Alabama and the Federal Reserve Bank of Maryland.
Text and image by Capital Gazette Communications, Inc., Annapolis, Md. USA