Category Archives: Featured Artists

Featured Pastel Artist: Ellen Eagle

Pigeon Glancing -1

Ellen Eagle holds a BFA with Distinction in Drawing from the California College of Arts and Crafts. She also took Daniel Greene’s workshop and studied with Michael Burban at the Art Students League. Her primary study has been with Harvey Dinnerstein, for whom she was class assistant at the League.
Ellen Eagle is an American artist, best known for her figure drawings and portraits in pastel. At an intimate scale, Eagle’s subjects are friends, fellow artists, and professional models drawn from life by natural light. Her work is characterized by restraint of color, self-containment, and the depiction of her subjects’ emotional states. Eagle’s delicate figurative work can be described as exquisite, able to effortlessly manipulate pastel to create soulful, lyrical portraits. She is known for her reflective self-portraits, which can at times appear whimsical, are a study in the trials and tribulations of the life of an artist.

Ellen Eagle bookHer amazing book Pastel Painting Atelier: Essential Lessons in Techniques, Practices, and Materials, revel in the luminous and vibrant qualities of pastel with an essential course in the history, techniques, and practices of the medium. In this comprehensive yet intimate guide, Eagle explores pastel’s rich but relatively unexamined past, reveals her own personal influences and approaches, and guides you toward the discovery and mastery of your own vision.

If you would like to join Ellen on the Painting holiday in Croatia (June 2016) please register here.

Featured Pastel Artist: Lyn Diefenbach

Lyn Diefenbach
Lyn Diefenbach

The pursuit of masterly quality and technique is a high priority for Lyn Diefenbach whose work is imbued with a celebration of her faith and of life. Her paintings covers a myriad of subject matter, with her bold florals consistently receiving accolades nationally and internationally. Her ability to communicate her ideas has entrenched her as a respected and sought-after tutor, with teaching engagements internationally and across Australia.

Lyn was accepted into the International Guild of Realism in May 2008 and holds Master Pastellist status with the Pastel Society of Australia. In 2014 she was awarded Master Circle in the International Association of Pastel Societies. She has been featured numerous times in the International Artist, Pastel Journal and the Australian Artist magazines.
Her paintings are represented in major regional and private collections within Australian and overseas.

Featured Pastel Artist: DAI YongJie

YongJie Dai "In The Midst of Desert Storm"
YongJie Dai “In The Midst of Desert Storm”

DAI YongJie (b. 1964 -) is a pastel artist based in the province of Ningxia, north China. Dai is a graduate of Fine Arts from the Ningxia Shaanxi Normal University and has studied soft pastel painting from Hang Ming Shi at the China Pastel Research Center in 2001.
Dai paints subjects around his desert environment of the Ningxia province. His paintings have been selected to feature in many Chinese publications.  Currently, a Deputy Director of the Art Council, Ningxia Art Association.

If you would like to contact the artist please leave a comment or send mail to this blog.

Rae Smith in PSA Hall of Fame

Rae Smith "Into the Light"
Rae Smith “Into the Light” 19″x25″

Rae Smith, elected Master Pastelist by The Pastel Society of America in 1997, is their 2014 Hall of Fame Honoree. She has exhibited her pastel and oil paintings throughout the United States, as well as Japan, China, France Italy, Russia, Taiwan and Canada. Rae has been following her painting passion for most of her life, using so many different media or combinations, from pen and ink to water color, oils and pastels, at times specializing in one medium or another. Her work has sometimes been abstract (very large watercolors) and then at other times, more realistic, but always her very own impression of a place, time, or figment of her imagination. There was a time that all of her works were of, or included people, but when she moved to the country, Nature took hold of her, and she began to specialize in Landscape painting and the pastel medium.
“My painting is all about emotion, mood and atmosphere. I am always looking for the ‘out of the ordinary’ feeling in a composition. At times my paintings have been described as spiritual and I would hope I am able to express myself so that one who views my work is touched.”

Featured Pastel Artist: Mike Beeman

Mike Beeman Pastel Collage
Mike Beeman Pastel Collage

Mike Beeman was raised in Banbury, England, and now lives and paints in Wyoming. Painting in oils or pastels, in studio or on location, Mike’s love for a challenge takes him from figurative work to landscapes to still lives. No matter the subject or medium, Mike is focused on capturing the light and creating a mood that will engage the viewer. His work has been selected three times in Pastel Journal’s top 100 annual competitions, the Richeson 75, and International Association of Pastel Societies’ exhibits. Mike is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and his work has won several awards in both regional and national exhibits. The latest award was the Pastel Journal Silver Award at the 14th Annual Pastel 100 Competition.

Mike Beeman
Mike Beeman

Mike is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and the Pastel Society of Colorado; he is also a member of the Pastel Society of the Northern Rockies and the Degas Pastel Society.
You can follow Mike on his Blog Daily Pastel Painting.

Featured Pastel Artist: Anita Stoll

Anita Stoll Pastel Collage
Anita Stoll Pastel Collage

Anita Stoll is known for her pastel landscapes with a very strong abstract sense. Her pastel paintings are inspired by what she observes in nature. At the age of 50 she and her husband moved to the High Desert north of Los Angeles where she was immediately struck with the open expanses of sky and land. Along with that she was overcome by an urge to create. She soon enrolled in art classes in a community college and began showing locally while still holding on to her day job as a buyer for the California airport in Mojave. It wasn’t long before she got into galleries in Taos, San Francisco, Wrightwood and Encino, along with being the house artist of the Antelope Valley Winery. After moving to Coarsegold, CA, she became internationally known by having a feature article on her in International Artist’s Magazine and also The Pastel Journal. She won fourth place in PJ’s annual Top 100 Exhibition of 2006, and she was once again published in the book Best of America Pastel Artists, Volume II

Anita Stoll
Anita Stoll

Anita is a signature member of The Pastel Society of The West Coast and The Northwest Pastel Society. She is currently represented at Timberline Gallery, Oakhurst and at her home studio and gallery Big Acre Studio in Coarsegold. She is a very active blogger and I selected 2 articles for you to read, Face the Wall and Painting Upside Down.

Featured Pastel Artist: Barbara Benedetti Newton

Barbara Benedetti Newton
Barbara Benedetti Newton

Barbara Benedetti Newton was born 1943 in Puyallup, Washington, and attended Art Institute of Seattle. Barbara began her professional art career as a fashion illustrator in 1965. Working exclusively in colored pencil for more than a dozen years, she became one of the masters of the medium and co-authored Colored Pencil Solution Book, published in 2000. In 2002 she began exploring other mediums and has been working primarily in soft pastel since then. Making the transition from a precise, time-consuming, transparent medium to spontaneous, fast-paced, opaque soft pastel has been a journey of discovery. With a change of medium, Barbara also departed from her trademark light-filled still life subjects to impressionistic landscape scenes. Barbara has authored articles in American Artist Magazine, The Artist’s Magazine and International Artist Magazine. Her work has appeared in all editions of the Best of Colored Pencil series and as a feature article in The Pastel Journal magazine. She is past president of the Colored Pencil Society of America, a Signature Member of the Northwest Pastel Society, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and has been awarded Master’s Circle membership in the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS).
Barbara is a very active blogger and has many interesting posts for general public. A pastel demo can be found at the Mighty Art Demos

Barbara Benedetti Newton “For me, painting is a journey of discovery from challenges of mastering the medium to contemplation about my message. I portray natural and man-made objects in a light filled environment. Presenting a variety of relationships is facinating to me – color to form, object to subject, shadow to light. I combine surface characteristics, color, and attention to detail to portray the spare elegance of ordinary objects and everyday scenes through contemporary realism. My most recent work has been creating landscape paintings through the luscious color and buttery texture of soft pastel.”

Featured Pastel Artist: Jill Stefani Wagner

Jill Stefani Wagner
Jill Stefani Wagner

Jill Stefani Wagner works in two quite different mediums: watercolor and pastel. She finds watercolors to be very fresh and intuitive medium and she is ready to throw away many pieces. Pastel on the other side is more forgiving and she will changes color, form, and position until the wanted effect. She strives for realism with a painterly twist, but sometimes allows the rich hues and textures of a scene to dominate. Jill often works from resource photos from her travels but, when weather permits, she loves to paint from life or plein air.
Her pastel paintings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the MidWest, and her work hangs in various public and private collections throughout the United States. Jill’s pastel work has been given the Art Times Award from the prestigious Pastel Society of America Exhibition and she was recently honored with a National Award of Exceptional Merit from the Pastel Society of North Florida. Her work was given two honorable mentions in the Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 Competition. She is a member of the National Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America, Michigan Water Color Society, Great Lakes Pastel Society, Ann Arbor Women Artists and Ann Arbor Area Pastelists. Jill was born in Port Huron, Michigan. She received a B.F.A. from The University of Michigan School of Art and is senior partner of a successful graphic design firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Featured Pastel Artist: Dan F. Gray

Dan F. Gray Collage
Dan F. Gray Collage

Dan F. Gray is an artist from Canada and he has worked in soft pastel since 1975. The great majority of his portfolio are an plein air landscapes of British Columbia, Canada, together with motorcycles and cars blended in colorful nature. He has very recognizable style and at least for me there is some similarity between Dan’s landscapes and some of the James Whistler’s Venice pastel works. Dan had a couple of interesting projects, he was following 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver with his pastel paintings and I especially like his project “2010 Figures” in year 2010. Dan was a host for Canada’s Master Pastelists Exhibition earlier this year and there was already a post about it.

Dan is one of Canada’s leading practitioners of the pastel medium, winner of the Silver Pastel Plate and a Plaque of Distinction from the Canadian Pastel Society. His work has been presented in many newspapers and magazines including Pastel Journal in 2008. On his website you can find 3 very instructional demos.

Featured Pastel Artist: Jean-François Le Saint

Jean-François Le Saint "Le poisson"
Jean-François Le Saint "Le poisson"

Jean-François Le Saint is french pastelist and The Société des Pastellistes de France named him the Master Pastel Artist. I was lucky enough to get a short interview with Jean-François.
Can you tell us something about your art background?
“I guess I am self taught. I did go to art school, but it was a graphic arts school, we were not actually taught painting techniques. They had us try different media and that is how I first came into contact with pastels and instantly adopted them as my favorite technique.”
I find the portraits of the kids to be extra challenging and yet you make it look so easy. Is there any secret to a good kid portrait?
“Probably painting hundreds of them helps :). I can’t say it is easy, but I know that for the result to be good it has to be done without strain. If I encounter difficulties I leave the portrait aside and sometimes pick it up again after some weeks or months have passed. Whatever the subject, if you struggle, it shows in the result and usually it is no good, I think.”
Do you have any favorite old pastelist?
“One of my favorite old pastel artist is Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer. I also often look at the works of Edgar Degas, but I can’t say he is a favorite of mine, although I do like to inspect how he worked.”
Please check the Jean-François Flicker photostream and prepare for the long hours of the pure pastel delight 🙂 . His work was presented in the french art magazine Pratique des Arts in two separate articles and you can find the soft copy versions on the Flicker as well.

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