Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Fall, 2010

Fall 2010

Bridge Into Town by Deborah Maklowski

During the last weekend in August, I participated in the first annual Ellicott City plein air painting event, sponsored by the Howard County Arts Council and a number of local organizations and businesses. It was only my second plein air event, so I'm certainly not what anyone would consider "seasoned," but heck: it was in my own town!  How hard could it be?

Several days before the event, I drove around the historic part of town, looking for good painting spots. I drove up and down streets that are less than 5 miles from my house, but that I'd never set foot (or, more precisely, tire) on before. I parked and contemplated buildings and vistas that I'd driven and/or walked by hundreds of times without having really ever seen, and I was amazed. I then spent all that weekend painting plein air in a town I was suddenly seeing in a whole new context. I learned more about Ellicott City in those 20-some hours of observing and painting than I'd managed to learn in 11 years of living right next door.
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Patapsco by Maria Marino

I think this is a gift all artists have been given: to be able to see the world around them in ways that others cannot. It's just that, sometimes, we need to stop simply looking and make the effort to see. This is especially true for those things, places, and people that are most familiar to us. Our responses to that insight will vary widely (just compare my work from that Ellicott City weekend with Maria's!), but they are each informed by that special gift of observation that all artists share.

At our September meeting we will have the opportunity to see a wonderful, nationally known artist share his own responses to the natural world: Terry Ludwig, pastelist, pastel maker, and teacher extraordinaire, will give us an indoor landscape demo and discuss his process and conceptual approach. He will also be bringing a yummy assortment of his world-class pastels with him for sale – at a discount! So bring a notebook for sketching and note-taking, and, if you want to buy some of the best pastels on the planet, bring cash or your checkbook, and join us on Saturday, September 25, noon to 4pm, at the Glenwood Community Center in western Howard Co. And as always, bring some of your latest pastel work to display for your MPS colleagues and a tasty snack to share: we'll be drawing names for the "food prizes" right after the business meeting. See you there!