Announced winners of the Facebook Autumn competition

Jennifer L Hoffman "Winding Through"

There is a new blog created to announce the winners of the free art challenge “the First Annual Autumn Arts Challenge and Contest”. The challenge was organized on the Facebook where participants were uploading their entries. There were surprisingly many pastel entries and organizers added pastels as one of the categories. The best of the show painting was in pastels as well.
The global event has ignited the interest of artists, galleries, and collectors. Hundreds of new original works were created during the month of October 2009 specifically for the Autumn Arts Challenge. read new blog

Pastel anatomical illustrations from 19th century

Long before the use of the X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound and digital technology, the use of images played an important role in the medical education of students. Anatomical illustrations were cutting edge in the eighteenth century, and Jan Van Rymsdyk was known as one of the best anatomical illustrators in the world. Van Rymsdyk has kept his stature over the past two and a half centuries… Read more

The Problem with Green, Part 2

Whenever color is concerned, it’s best to begin with the color wheel. By studying the relationships of individual colors and how they interact with each other, we develop a better understanding of why certain colors work when placed together. This is a powerful tool in choosing what to place in a painting. Nature works. It shares an atmospheric relationship and a light source that creates the natural appearance we accept. Our paintings, on the other hand, are created “artificially” with pigments on a flat surface. We have to create the illusion of reality and harmony… Richard McKinley blog


Creative Spark – Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Don Williams "Sixty-Six"
Don Williams "Sixty-Six"

Creative Spark Challenge by the Pastel Journal magazine.
Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary:  Show one or more pastel paintings that celebrate the beauty in seemingly commonplace subjects. E-mail your image(s) as JPGs with a resolution of 72 dpi to by December 22, 2009. Include the title, dimensions and a brief description. Please type “Creative Spark” in the subject line and include your name, e-mail and mailing address. The “editors’ choice” will be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine… The Pastel Journal

Sarah Blumenschein winner in Still Life/Floral category

Sarah Blumenschein "Sunflowers, Red Pears, Turquoise Cloth"

Sarah Blumenschein won the first place in the Still Life/Floral category of the Artist’s Magazine 26th annual competition with her pastel painting
New Mexico artist Sarah Blumenschein looks forward to the brief springtime appearance of red Bartlett pears in her local grocery store because of their beautiful red color. Sunflowers, Red Pears, Turquoise Cloth is a joyous assemblage. “I tend to try to enhance the colors and the effect of the light,” Blumenshein says. “I really like the challenge of capturing how the light bounces between things.” A systems engineer before turning her attention to art full time in 2000, the artist began experimenting with pastels in 2003. She’s found them to be the ideal medium for her, and the still life genre suits her for a similar reason. “Still life allows me to be a mom and an artist,” she says. “I can set up a still life and paint for a couple of hours, then stop and come back later.”… The Artist’s Magazine

Frederick Somers winner in Abstract/Experimental category

Frederick Somers "Ruby’s Crowned Waters"

Frederick Somers won the first place in the Abstract/Experimental category of the Artist’s Magazine 26th annual competition with his pastel painting.
For more than 30 years, Frederick Somers has noted those small sections of flowers and grasses sequestering pools of water in the Minnesota farmlands. In winter, as the days grow shorter and darker and the sun sits lower in the sky, the longer wavelengths of light create vibrant purples and reds, like those in Ruby’s Crowned Waters. The painting originated from a reference photo he’d snapped impulsively from his truck window. “Near the peripheral edges of my sight, I saw colors of the most brilliant light blues, reds and greens,” says Somers. “When I turned my head, they were gone. I believe the colors were some kind of prismatic effect.”
Somers began by painting shapes and values, then added details and final color notes. He used the flat side of his pastel and a “dry wash” applied with Viva towels—a frequently used tool for both adding and removing color. By this means he achieves the perfect balance of hard and soft edges and bright or dull color. The Artist’s Magazine

Rita Kirkman honorable mention in Wildlife/Animal category

Rita Kirkman "4 at Rest"
Rita Kirkman "4 at Rest"

Rita Kirkman got the honorable mention in the Wildlife/Animal category of the Artist’s Magazine 26th annual competition with her pastel painting.
“My work is more about composition and light than subject matter,” says Rita Kirkman. In animals she sees aesthetic lines and expressiveness.
She works mostly from photos and plays with compositions on her computer. Her piece 4 at Rest mainly derives from one image, but two cows were pasted in from other shots. She liked the overlapping diagonals—and enjoyed breaking a compositional rule by using an even number of elements. The artist, who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Dayton in Ohio, begins her pastels by applying Art Spectrum pastel primer with a wide brush to Gatorboard (a plastic foam board). She then applies pastels in thin layers, building values from dark to light. “On large pieces such as 4 at Rest,” says Kirkman, “I don’t like to blend; the pastel sits on the primer so the underlying tone and texture show through, allowing that crispness and sparkle only pastel can achieve.” Artist’s Magazine

Terry Donahue winner in Wildlife/Animal category

Terry Donahue "Fly Over Country"
Terry Donahue "Fly Over Country"

Terry Donahue won the first place in the Wildlife/Animal category of the Artist’s Magazine 26th annual competition with his pastel painting.

“While on a road trip through Nebraska, Terry Donahue saw in the distance what looked like a “white tornado.” On closer inspection he realized the sight was a swirling mass of migrating snow geese. For the next three days, the artist photographed the marvelous creatures, and, from these reference photos, he created his winning pastel, Fly Over Country. The title is a wordplay based on a comment by a political pundit who described the Midwest as flyover country—dull and not worth a visit. Donahue, who returned to Nebraska two weeks after the snow geese migration to watch sandhill cranes in flight, clearly feels otherwise.
“I don’t do thumbnail or rough sketch drawings prior to starting a piece,” says the artist. “Some works fall together quickly, whereas others build from a particular vision or impression of mine and are continually forcing themselves in new directions. These works take a little more time to finish; Fly Over Country was one…”  Artist’s Magazine

More on Signing Your Artwork

Liz Haywood-Sullivan Cityscape 4
Liz Haywood-Sullivan "Cityscape 4"

Liz Haywood-Sullivan is giving some nice tips on how to sign your pastel work.

“This may seem simple but be sure to sign your artwork – redundantly. Sign your painting on both the front, AND the back. And on the back please write the name of your painting. And this is why…
I just finished hanging a show. As we went to label the show we ran into an issue. An artist had two paintings accepted into the show but we couldn’t figure out which piece was which so we couldn’t place the labels. The titles of the works didn’t give us a clue and there was no writing on the back of the paintings. The problem was that one piece was for sale and the other was NFS. We wound up making a guess based upon the titles but hope we haven’t made a mistake in case the wrong one sells! This may seem like a small detail, but to folks hanging a show it can become a problem and the issue could get lost in the confusion of prepping for an opening…”  Liz Haywood-Sullivan blog

PanPastel video by Deborah Secore

Deborah Secor "Dancing Sky"
Deborah Secor "Dancing Sky"

Great demo on youtube by Deborah Secor where you can see how Deborah is using PanPastels. You can also see it in the pastel video section on top-right of this page.

“This is the painting I did in the new video demonstration that PanPastels has produced. You can take a look at it here.
In the video I use PanPastels on my favorite paper, Pastelmat. You get to watch over my shoulder for a half hour as I paint and talk. I share a lot of techniques you can use with the Pans and a bit about painting the landscape, too.
So grab a cup of coffee and take a bit of time to watch me paint. I hope you enjoy it!” Deborah Secor blog

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