Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Spring 2011

Spring 2011
As some of you know, I lost my mother on January 24, a few weeks before her 88th birthday. I got to spend a couple of days with her just the previous week, and she was still the kind, busy, and curious person she’d always been, despite her declining health. She was winning money playing dominoes and still wanted to tell me mildly off-color jokes. Why am I telling you this? I was going to write a cheerful letter about embracing change, inspired by spring and home renovation and my new studio/office space in the remodeled basement, but in the middle of writing it, I realized two things. First, that of all the changes we face, few are as profound as losing a loved one: next to that, a new studio seems pretty prosaic. And second, that this new studio space is merely the latest in a long line of spaces set aside for me to draw and paint, the first several of which were provided by – you guessed it -- my mother. She had been a dancer and wanted my sister and me to dance too, but quickly gave up on that idea once she saw us actually dance. (Ugh!) I just wanted to draw and was drawing all over the walls and books, so she bought me a huge roll of butcher paper and a paper cutter and let me have at it. Though we moved all over the U.S., sometimes multiple moves in a year, she saw to it that I got art lessons in each new town and always found me a place to work in each new house. She got my dad to design and build my first drawing table, which resembled a small, misshapen army tank made out of plywood. It shook like a tree in a storm whenever I had to erase, but it was mine, and it represented their emotional investment in my dream. She never failed to encourage me and believe in me, and I know that any confidence I may have in myself now derives from a lifetime of her confidence in me.

In a way, she is also responsible for this new studio space of mine: a small inheritance was still enough to be able to finally afford the necessary renovations. I have not been in the studio at all since the day she died, except to pack it up and move it downstairs, but I know that once it’s all set up again, I will be able to get back to work doing exactly what she wanted me to do:  the thing I love most.

I hope you can all find the space and time to do that, too, and to think about the people whose encouragement and confidence have helped you achieve your own goals and the people who look to you for encouragement and support as they achieve theirs. Not coincidentally, you’ll find a lot of those supportive people at the Maryland Pastel Society meetings. Our next one is on Saturday, April 16, from noon to 4pm, at the Glenwood Community Center in western Howard County. We’re extremely pleased that Massachusetts artists and MPS member Rosalie Nadeau will be joining us to do a still life demo. A master plein air painter and inspired teacher in both oil and pastel painting, Nadeau balances powerful color with classical form. Her vibrant work has been featured in such magazines as Pastel Artist International, American Artist, The Pastel Journal, and Cape Cod Life, and in several books, including Painting the Impressionist Landscape, Pastel School, The Pastel Artists Bible and the cover of Painting Shapes and Edges. Her work was selected for the permanent collection of the Cape Museum of Fine Arts, as well as for corporate and private collections nationwide, and has earned her signature memberships in the Pastel Society of America, Connecticut Pastel Society, and Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod. As always, bring your latest pastel painting to share with your colleagues and something yummy for the food table: we’ll be drawing names for the “food prizes.” See you there!

MPS President,
Deborah Maklowski