Maryland Pastel Society newsletter

IAPS IMPRESSIONS AND HIGHLIGHTS, 2009

Debbie Frazier's Impressions

The IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) convention was more than I could have hoped for.  I viewed it as an opportunity to try out many different artists without having to invest in one artist for an entire four-day workshop.

Alan Flattmann's pre-convention one-day session was a highlight, I would definintely sign up for a full workshop with him based on the session. I have always admired his cityscapes and it was inspiring to watch him work. He did a full demonstration and his technique is  something I have never seen and he is an excellent teacher. He starts with a detailed charcoal drawing and blocks it in so he has a good value drawing/painting. Next, he sprays it with fixative. He then applies his pastels (soft) very loosely to his painting pulling down over his detailed value drawing/painting. He chooses colors according to value. He sprays with fixative, and uses more if he wants an area to go darker. The last work he does is his detail work (windows, etc.). Alan comments that most people note he works backwards because with the pastels he works with lights from the beginning. However, because he is working on that dark charcoal background to begin with he doesn't think he is and also he doesn't muddy his pastels because he works with fixative.

View artwork by Allan Flattman

I also did a two-day post session with Maggie Price. I had heard that Maggie was an excellent teacher and is she ever. Maggie really works with her students to help them understand value and it was difficult in that expansive New Mexico landscape. Those one hundred mile vistas were a challenge. We had one student who really seemed to grasp what Maggie was teaching. Deborah, a fellow Marylander and our incoming president, was the one in our group of twenty who got it.

Maggie then told a story and it all made so much sense. Maggie said that her mentor told her if she ever wanted to be really good, the only way to do it was to paint plein aire. 500 paintings. So Maggie broke it down, so many paintings per weekend, and thought to herself, ok, I can do this. She started counting. When she got to two hundred, she called her mentor and told him and he said that he knew it would work but he hadn't actually ever had anyone do it. So she kept painting, when she got to three hundred, she stopped counting and it has made all the difference in her painting. I would highly recommend a workshop with Maggie.

View artwork by Maggie Price

Besides the amazing workshops, it was so much fun to be with like-minded people and talk about one of my very favorite things, and I am sure yours, pastels and art. Also, it was terrific to have so many of us from Maryland and Pennsylvania at IAPS. Another added bonus was just to be around those famous artists. For those of you who know Richard McKinley, he is a real superstar at IAPS. His workshops get both the biggest round of applause and laughter.