Maryland Pastel Society newsletter

PAST EVENTS

Autumn General Meeting

Autumn General Meeting

Bob Stahsahl Entertains!

If you attended the autumn meeting on October 25, I think you'll agree with me that it was one of the best we've had in a while. In this election year, we did some voting of our own, unanimously ratifying the Maryland Pastel Society's by-laws revisions. The major changes included renaming our "Full Members" as "Signature Members," while our "Associate Members" are now "Artist Members," and changing our voting processes so that, in the future, all dues-paying members, Signature as well as Artist, can vote on issues of concern to the MPS. This vote culminated a year's worth of thought and development by your MPS Executive Board, who wanted to be sure that the by laws continue to meet the needs of the MPS and its membership in the 21st century.

We were also treated to a highly entertaining presentation from Bob Strohsahl of Great American Pastels fame, entitled "The Saga of Three Pigments." Although it did NOT start out "Three pigments walked into a bar…" as many of us had hoped, it DID include a lot of very interesting information about how pastel pigments are derived and processed, lovely slides from Bob's European pastel workshops in France and Italy, and a cool demonstration of how calcium carbonate is made, which proved definitively for those of us attending that blowing bubbles through a straw is NOT one of Jack Pardue's many remarkable talents!

Bob also brought with him a box full of Great American's brand new 60 half-stick sets – luscious colors in a cigar-box container that's perfect for painting either plein air or in the studio. He was quickly surrounded by eager artists waving checks, and he sold all but one of the sets; the last one he very graciously donated to the MPS. In the subsequent drawing, Lisa Sheppard was the lucky winner of this prize.

And then it was on to the Paint-Around! This was something new for the MPS, and except for Jack, who's done these before at IAPS, none of us were entirely sure about what we were doing or how it would all turn out. Basically, we set up 5 easels with 5 sets of pastels and 5 photo references. At the start of the 60-minute session, our intrepid painters – Jack Pardue, Jean Hirons, Lisa Mitchell, Barbara Steinacker, and Deborah Maklowski – started work on their paintings. At the end of 10 minutes, timekeeper Joyce Lister announced "pastels down." Everyone shifted counter-clockwise to the next easel, and the next 10-minute painting segment started. After 50 minutes, each artist found him- or herself back at the original painting with 10 minutes to bring it to closure. The pace was frenetic, the audience was attentive, and the paintings evolved quickly. Darks were laid in and moved around; shapes were defined and then modified; highlights "popped" and receded; and WHOLE TREES miraculously appeared and then disappeared in a puff of pastel dust! At the end of the session, there were 5 lovely paintings on which 5 exhausted, pastel-covered artists had worked, each bringing a unique vision and style to the piece. Did it work? Judge for yourself: the 5 paintings are shown below in various stages of completion. Will we do it again? You betcha!
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Barbara calms the waters
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Jack plays the field
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Lisa and Deborah at work