Finding Inspiration while Life Happens

Welcome to our March Guest Blogger Laura Pollak

(www.laura Pollak.com

Life happens! Things get in the way. Kids get sick, and parents need our help. Months can go by without standing in front of our easels. And the longer the time away, the scarier it gets to pick up that pastel stick or paintbrush! Then the inner dialogue begins,  and what a mean little devil that Negative Nancy can be!

So here are some things that have worked for me to get going again.

First, as corny as it sounds, physical exercises ‘opens my channels.’ It gets rid of my bad energy and lets happy and productive thoughts seep in. Of course, meditation to get yourself grounded and relaxed is another healthy direction.  

WARM UP

When you’re ready to get in front of the easel try this simple exercise:

  • Pick an artist that you love.  Whether it’s representational or abstract… just look at their work and decide why you like it.   
  • Take scraps of paper; whether it’s your beloved sanded paper, or even brown craft paper.  (You can always use little pieces of paper or paintings that failed and you’ve wiped down leaving a ghosted image.) 
  • Pick up some pastels that have a palette of the person’s work you admire and consciously try NOT TO MAKE A PAINTING!
  • DO NOT TO COPY THE PAINTING. Just experiment with marks and shapes. 

REMEMBER YOUR WARMS AND COOLS AND LIGHTS AND DARKS

Remember that a Concert Pianist doesn’t step out on stage without doing their ‘scales’, warmups and daily practice.   These will be your exercises.     I even took a workshop with a wonderful artist who closed his eyes in front of the class, took several deep breaths and then started painting.   We need to get our brains in the right place!

Continue to work on your warm up project. And take the pressure away, the results will never see the light of day. You are trying to find a new palette of colors that play together nicely. Then look at your values: lights and darks and warms and cools. Try colors you would never reach for and marvel at the interactions!

4″x 4″ WARM-UP Painting by Laura Pollak
4″ x 4″ Warm-up Painting by Laura Pollak

BREATHE

Have you ever noticed when you’re painting that your stomach goes up in a knot! Be aware of that and make sure you relax and breathe! It’s ONLY PAPER!

Well, last month, I went into a panic. Why? Because all the ‘Shows’ have their entry dates coming up and I had NOTHING to enter. I hadn’t painted since October! Is it smart to paint for shows? I cannot think of anything worse. What crazy pressure! But then again…there is also nothing more motivating. 

So, from January 2ndthrough January 27thI painted all day, every day. I came up with a lot of junk., or as a very kind friend said, “They’re not ready for ‘Prime Time’.” Twenty-seven paintings in twenty-five days. Just like fashion photographers…I took a lot of shots hoping somewhere in the mix there would be something worthwhile. Out of all that work came about five paintings that were ‘worthy’ of entering. Every night, I was dreaming about what I’d do next, different ideas, unique palettes, how I might underpaint… you get it. I was on a roll to the point that I could produce two paintings a day! In the GROOVE!

This month, with teaching workshops and gallery exhibits, I’m torn away from my easel yet again, so I have to start my practice of not making paintingsall over again.

Climbing out of a rut can seem impossible, but I can assure you that if you try to just Warm UpRemember Your Warms and Cools and Lights and Darks, and Breathe, and you’ll get out of your rut and into the GROOVE in no time!

Values are to Painters as Notes are to Musicians

Guest Blogger for February: Vianna Szabo

“There are only 3 colors, 10 digits, and 7 notes; it’s what we do with them that’s important.”  Jim Rohn

Values are the unsung heroes of great paintings; they are the foundation that color sits upon.  Understanding how a range of values affects a painting is easier to understand if you compare values to musical notes.  I think of the lighter values as high notes and the darker values as low notes.   Just like in music the note by itself is unimportant.  It is the intervals between the notes that give them context.

Usually value scales are numbered but I like to think of them as a  Do, Re, Me scale.

Musicians need to know the range of notes their instrument will play: Artists need to know how light and how dark their palette will go.  Can your palette play all the range of notes you need for your painting?  If a painting is all one value it is all one note.  You cannot make music with one note, but you can with three.  Beautiful design and form can be painted using three values.

This watercolor by John Singer Sargent is made up of three value masses, light, midtone, and dark.  

A value range should describe design, light and form, which guides the viewer’s eyes through the painting.  Values that do not work are equivalent to a musician playing off key. It is unpleasant to hear notes in a song that are off key.   It is confusing to look at a painting where the values are not cohesive.

Compare the two copies of “Girl with a Pearl Earring” with Vermeer’s original to see how important an understanding of value range is.

You can key a painting like you can key music.  High key paintings have a value range from light to midtone.  Low key paintings are midtone to dark value range and paintings like “Girl with a Pearl Earring” have a full value range from light to dark.

“The White Stuff” is an example of a high key painting.  I think of this as a series of high musical notes together- think early Joni Mitchell.

“Goodnight Moon” is an example of a low key painting- think of the first verse of “Old Man River” by Paul Robeson.

If you struggle with values try comparing them to musical notes to fine tune your understanding of their importance in painting.

https://viannaszabo.com

Reprinted with permission Copyright Vianna Szabo 2017

Rockwell in Our Midst!

PASTELS USA Chairman Jerry Boyd did his best Norman Rockwell impersonation at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento. I wonder if those who saw him pose realized that Jerry is such a talented artist in his own right!

Jerry posted on Facebook:

Here I am at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento this afternoon pretending to be Norman Rockwell. If I lost the beard and mustache, procured a pipe, and shed about 50 pounds…I’d look just like him don’t you think? As my granddaughter Sage pointed out, (and something I noticed from the very beginning) in the original painting, why does the image on the canvas appear to be a charcoal drawing when he’s using a brush and palette of oil paint? My only explanation is that the image catches him as he’s about to make the first stroke of paint. I’m still wondering about his choice of brush in his painting because it appears to be a soft watercolor brush.

Jerry Boyd as Norman Rockwell

Great Job, Jerry!

Membership Online Show 2018

Winners in our online Membership Show 2018

Best In Show Signature/DP

Flights of Imagination by Debbie Patrick

Best In Show General Member

Rose Red by Mary Aslin

First Place Signature/DP

Espiritu by Christine Obers

First Place General Membership

Seize the Day by Judith Leeds

Second Place Signature/DP

Butterfly Orchids by Marie Tippetts

Second Place General Membership

Incoming Tide by Linda Roemisch

Third Place Signature/DP

Top of the Canyon by Stan Bloomfield

Third Place General Membership

Distant Glow by Alejandra Gos

Honorable Mention Signature/DP

Verdigris Vision by Diane Fechenbach

Honorable Mention General Membership

Folk Dancer by Carol Lois Haywood

18890--3112018924-18615
Buffalo on the Plains by Russell Frank  12” x 16”

18890--Roemish 31020181651-1534
Incoming Tide by Linda Roemisch  8” x 10”

18890-a_place_to_go-31020181025-6050
A Place to Go by Jen Evenhus  6” x 9”

18890-adagio_for_violin-3420181829-2159
Adagio for Violin by Evalynne McDonald  20” x 20”

18890-autumn_on_the_river-221201874-47413
Autumn on the River by Patti Hasan  14” x 11”

18890-blessed_are_the_peacemakers-3420181711-38068
Blessed are the Peacemakers by Nancy Woodward  10” x 11”

18890-blue_and_gold-3420181246-6140
Blue and Gold by Pat Suggs  18” x 24”

18890-blue_beat-11320182041-886
Blue Beat by Brenda Borland  14” x 14”

18890-butterfly_orchids-11420181321-4747
Butterfly Orchids by Marie Tippets  16” x 20”

18890-bygone_days-22820181037-2216
Bygone Days by Janis Ellison  12” x 16”

18890-catching_a_dream-22820182235-17735
Catching a Dream by Tai Meng Lim  17” x 21”

18890-changed_my_mind-3320181429-9788
Changed My Mind by Linda B’Eze  15” x 16”

18890-chichi_morning-3120181445-230
Chichi Morning by Sandra Place  9” x 11”

18890-clouds_roll_by-22820181629-19132
Clouds Roll By by Patricia Connelly  8” x 10”

18890-corinne_s_world-3720181645-42073
Corrine’s World by Mary Villon de Benveniste  21” x 19”

18890-dawn_radiance-3320181819-13659
Dawn Radiance by Melissa West  9” x 12”

18890-distant_glow-21320181759-24947
Distant Glow by Alejandra Gos  9” x 11”

18890-dustbowl_basin-3220181425-19422
Dust bowl Basin by Judy Richardson  11” x 14”

18890-early_morning-22620181423-12867
Early Morning by Lynn Bryne Simon  10” x 12”

18890-elegance-2222018857-6435
Elegance by Barbara Reich  11” x 14”

18890-espiritu-22320181446-6707
Espiritu by Christine Obers  18” x 24”

18890-evelyn_trio-22820181059-14109
Evelyn Trio by Cynthia Riordan  16” x 18”

18890-feather_and_foam-3420181151-4111
Feather and Foam by Kimberly Wurster  30” x 20”

18890-first_light__malibu_lagoon-3120181712-31787
First Light, Malibu Lagoon by Virginia Kamhi  19” x 26”

18890-flights_of_imagination-11520182335-7640
Flights of Imagination by Debbie Patrick  18” x 24”

18890-fox_pond-3420181040-49003
Fox Pond by Karen Miller  9” x 9”

18890-foxie_lady-22620181916-14402
Roxie Lady by Marianne Harris  9” x 12”

18890-freeze_frame-22520181545-1513
Freeze Frame by Diane Stolz  18” x 24”

18890-garland_of_grace-3320181740-10302
Garland of Grace by Debbie Harding  8” x 14”

18890-gentle_wave-22720181341-6251
Gentle Wave by LaVone Sterling  11” x 14”

18890-golden_dream-3120181447-9735
Golden Dream by Shirley Anderson  12” x 16”

18890-golden_glory-2172018144-19692
Golden Glory by Becky Johnson  5” x 7”

18890-grand_dane-322018756-13105
Grand Dane by Jory Mason  24” x 20”

18890-harper_s_profile-322018124-2181
Harper’s Profile by Tricia Kamin  14” x 11”

18890-high_desert_glare-3420181455-3282
High Desert Glare by Gary Huber  20” x 30”

18890-hot_heifer-342018821-2222
Hot Heifer by Barbara Noonan 38” x 26”

18890-incoming_tide-2720181244-13658
Incoming Tide by Helen Turner  12” x 16”

18890-innocent_smile-232018158-29810
Innocent Smile by Irene Georgopoulou  23” x 19”

18890-just_singing_autumn-332018143-2156
Just Singing Autumn by Marilyn Hurst  12” x 9”

18890-landscape_in_blue_and_gold-3320181037-16017
Landscape in Blue by Jan Thomas  6” x 9”

18890-last_vacation-2620181334-19399
Last Vacation by Shelton Marks  18” x 24”

18890-mathew-342018193-15928.jpg
Matthew by Rita Romero  18” x 16”

18890-messages-22620181052-17692
Messages by Denice Peters  9” x 12”

18890-morning_on_the_canal-2242018127-1905
Morning on the Canal by Willo Balfrey  9” x 12”

18890-mountain_high-3420181824-1418
Mountain High by Linda Mutti  9” x 12”

18890-mulberry_plantation_view-22620181113-39352
Mulberry Plantation View by Karene Infranco  20” x 30”

18890-my_pacific-312018910-27178
My Pacific by Nancy Carrillo  9” x 12”

18890-october_snow-2282018215-190
October Snow by Jean Choi  16” x 12”

18890-one_winter_morn-1172018641-3093
One Winter Morn by Elizabeth Rhodes  7” x 10”

18890-out_to_pasture-3420181621-2154
Out to Pasture by Christine Troyer  16” x 20”

18890-pharaoh_s_owl-2222018149-10442
Pharaoh’s Owl by Judith Smith  8” x 6”

18890-polly-3220181640-5992
Polly by Stephanie Long  18” x 24”

18890-primeval_cathedral_ii-21620181541-39339
Primeval Cathedral II by Debbie Patrick  20” x 16”

18890-rocky_yuba_river_glen-3220181228-8297
Rocky Yuba River Glen by Paul Harmon  13” x 19”

18890-rose_red-3420182156-18
Rose Red by Mary Aslin  22” x 27”

18890-safe_harbor-3320181218-1739
Safe Harbor by Clark Mitchell PSWC-DP 10” x 30”

18890-sanctuary-22220181254-15390
Sanctuary by Patti Christensen  12” x 18”

18890-seize_the_day-1620181740-7521
Seize the Day by Judith Leeds  18” x 22”

18890-soulmates-342018752-14205
Soulmates by Barbara Archer-Baldwin  11” x 14”

18890-south_umpqua-3320181437-2199
South Umpaqua by James Patterson  12” x 16”

18890-spice___rice-22620181238-6645
Spice and Rice by Christine Ivers  18” x 24”

18890-spring_is_here_-3420181222-10161
Spring is Here! By Kris Buck  12” x 16”

18890-stari_headdress-342018535-12662
Stari Headdress by Tonya Carpenter  14” x 11”

18890-still_waters-3320181829-32845
Still Waters by Linda Melber 11” x 14”

18890-summer_sunset-3220181316-43638
Summer Sunset by Catherine McKeever  12” x 16”

18890-sunset_at_the_outer_banks-3420181345-889
Sunset at the Outer Banks by Mary Stahl  19” x 12”

18890-sunset_in_the_carmel_woods-3120181641-9100
Sunset in the Carmel Woods by Barbara Belvedere 16” x 20”

18890-super_moon-22620181639-15978
Super Moon by Ellen Gust  8” x 14”

18890-sweet_dreams-22120181621-1489
Sweet Dreams by Barbara Benedetto Newton  13” x 12”

18890-talking_about_me_3-322018322-5365
Talking About Me III by Yale Maimon  9” x 12”

18890-the_chestnut_pollard-3420181343-36422
The Chestnut Pollard by Sharon Bamber  15” x 16”

18890-the_little_hunters-22520181051-15850
The Little Hunters by Heidi Reeves  20” x 16”

18890-the_music_lingers_on-2920181747-6178
The Music ‘Lingers On by Lynn Attig  9” x 12”

18890-the_triangle_of_respect-3220182058-6473
The Triangle of Respect by Gerald Boyd  20” x 20”

18890-top_of_the_canyon-2222018119-5888
Top of the Canyon by Stan Bloomfield  17” x 22”

18890-truckee_river-3420181220-5386
Trucker River by Anne Sanders  12” x 16”

18890-twilight_view-22220181752-12763
Twilight View by Lynda Conley  12” x 18”

18890-verdigris_vision-3420181413-4026
Verdigris Vision by Diane Fechenbach  11” x 14”

18890-vigoroso-22520181614-59289
Vigorously by Joanne Cotton  17” x 23”

18890-w_kueblers_sons_bottlers-342018107-8643
W. Kuebler’s Sons Bottlers by Betsy Kellum  18” x 14”

18890-waiting_room-342018947-1576
Waiting Room by Cheri Saffro  26” x 18”

18890-where_the_heart_is-22420181030-6337
Where the Heart Is by Vianna Szabo  6” x 8”

Folk Dancer
Folk Dancer by Carol Lois Haywood  14” x 11”

Membership Online Show 2012 – 2017

Our featured painting is the 2014 PASTELS USA BEST OF SHOW “Morro Strand” by Diann Johnston.


Membership Show 2017 Awards:

SIGNATURE/DP MEMBERS AWARDS

Best of Show        Diana De Santis 

First Place           Daggi Wallace

Second Place       Ann Sanders

Third Place         Gerald Boyd

Merit Award        Ellen Gust

GENERAL MEMBER AWARDS

Best of Show         Cindy Gillett 

First Place             Anna Wainright

Second Place        David Lazarony

Third Place          Christina Karras

Merit Award        Diane Mann


 

Membership Show 2016 Awards

Best of Show         Stan Bloomfield

SIGNATURE/DP MEMBERS AWARDS

First Place              Kathryn Hall

Second Place        Jennifer Evenhus

Third Place           Linda Mutt

Merit Award        Dug Waggoner

GENERAL MEMBER AWARDS

First Place             Becky Johnson

Second Place        Jane Radstrom

Third Place          Daggi Wallace

Merit Award         Tai Meng Lim


Membership Show 2015 Awards

Best of Show        Christine Obers

SIGNATURE/DP MEMBERS AWARDS

First Place              Vianna Szabo

Second Place        Diana De Santis

Third Place            Barbara Benedetti Newton

Merit Award        Debbie Patrick

Merit Award       Sharon Will

GENERAL MEMBER AWARDS

First Place             Aaron Schuerr

Second Place        Stan Bloomfield

Third Place           Marianne Harris

Merit Award       Daggie Wallace

Merit Award       Lynn Simon


Membership Show 2014 Awards:

Best of Show       Dug Waggoner

SIGNATURE/DP MEMBERS AWARDS

First Place            Clark Mitchell

Second Place       Kathryn Hall

Third Place          Gerald Boyd

GENERAL MEMBERS AWARDS

First Place             Gary Huber

Second Place        Esther Engelman

Third Place           Bobbie Belvel

MERIT AWARDS

Pat Suggs | Tina Moore | Judy Miller | Jan Thomas | Helen Scheel


Membership Show 2012 Awards:

Best of Show          Ruth Hussey

SIGNATURE/DP MEMBERS AWARDS

First Place              Tina Moore

Second Place         Margot Schulzke

Third Place            Gerald Boyd

MEMBER AWARDS

First Place              Jan Y. Miller

Second Place         Morgan Green

Third Place           Cynthia Riordan

MERIT AWARDS

Janet Patterson | Willo Balfrey | Gary Huber | Jan Thomas | Bonnie Zahn Griffith

Judge and Jurors Selected for PASTELS USA 2019 Haggin Museum!

By Gerald Boyd, Chairman of PASTELS USA 2019.

Our 33rd Pastels USA exhibition is set for next May at the Haggin Museum, and we have secured a commitment from three artist/judges as the “Jury of Selection”. The Awards Judge will be Dawn Emerson of Terrebonne, Oregon.

The Jurors of Selection will be: Debora L. Stewart of Clinton, Iowa, Gary Huber of Buffalo, Wyoming, and William Truman Hosner who lives in Ferndale, Michigan.

10556523_652014288229735_7885122921940025345_n
Dawn Emerson

Dawn Emerson won our Pastels USA Best of Show in 1997 with a painting called “Horses” (a recurring theme in her paintings) She has authored a book called “Pastel Innovations”.

 

 

21336_1872422w750
Debora Stewart

 

Debora L. Stewart does beautiful abstract and very impressionistic works, and I thought it would be refreshing to have a Juror of Selection with a different vision and direction than the majority of us.

 

GaryHuberBighorns
Gary Huber

Gary Huber is a landscape painter who was one of the artists featured in our magazine/show catalog at this year’s exhibition.

 

 

 

W. Truman Hosner
W. Truman Hosner

William Truman Hosner is a familiar name to most of us as not only a high profile nationally known artist who is equally adept at portrait/figure and landscape works, but has supported our shows consistently. William was our first three-time Pastels USA Best of Show winner.

 

 


Allow me to highlight two new rules for the upcoming show which you will note when you read the prospectus.

For those of us who work most often from photos, we will require the artist to have taken their reference photos themselves. Many societies such as PSA are going that direction and the reasoning is that the artist experiences the subject for themselves and composes what they want to emphasize in the viewfinder or screen of the camera. There are “copyright-free” photo sites where you can purchase essentially professional quality photos for reference. While this, like many other rules, is dependent on the honesty of the artist, it is overall a good idea to use this practice so that you may enter your piece in any exhibition with a clear conscience.

The second rule is “less”, rather than “more” restrictive. The age of a painting has always been an issue for most societies and so we are expanding from a maximum age of two years to three years for a painting. This will help with those who can’t enter the same painting in overlapping shows or who get worthy paintings eliminated by our “one painting per artist” rule in Pastels USA. Two years from when you do a painting goes by awfully quickly it seems.

PSWC Art Scholarship Winner 2018 Paige Baldwinson

by Russell Frank

_Maybe Not_ by Paige Baldwinson
Maybe Not… by Paige Baldwinson

We are pleased to announce our 2018 Scholarship winner. We had numerous very talented school aged artists submit their applications. The decision for the PSWC Board of Directors was very difficult.  The balloting did come to a definite consensus of whom our scholarship should be awarded to for this year. Paige Baldwinson is our scholarship winner.

Paige is currently a high school senior and is attending Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California. She stated that she is carrying an exceptional 3.94 grade point average and has been on the honor roll all four years. She informed me that she intends to pursue a degree in fine arts and then obtain employment utilizing her art education. Paige plans to attend University of California at Santa Barbara’s art college. She is a wonderful addition to our successful graduates who have won our scholarship competition in previous years.

Her extracurricular activities include participation in the Cal North Olympic Development Soccer Program, Varsity Soccer at Archbishop Mitty High School and Competitive Club Soccer traveling team for eight years. She was involved with a Habitat for Humanity Home Building Project, tutoring children in South San Jose, and at Full Circle Farm providing food for the needy. She has also taken art classes including a UCLA Summer Art Program and summer art programs at her high schools in 2013 and 2014.

She stated that “For as long as I have been drawing seriously, I have been interested in drawing people.  I was initially drawn to portraits because of my fascination for the human face….what began as a hobby has now turned into a driving passion that I hope to develop into a career. I am interested in realism and constantly improving my accuracy and proportions over time.” She works mainly in charcoal and pastel.

The board wants to thank Sabrina Hill, a PSWC board member, for contacting Paige’s art instructor, Sandra Jones, and informing her of this scholarship opportunity. A special thanks to Sandra Jones for passing this information on to a very talented student artist.

This year I sent out the scholarship information to 57 high schools, a junior college and universities within Stanislaus County. I also included schools in Sutter and Placer County in California as well as schools in Chandler and Mesa Arizona. Next year I plan to focus on the above schools as well as schools in Sutter, Siskiyou and Trinity Counties.  If you are in another county, please seek out students in your area and inform them of our scholarship.

Our scholarship is offered on an annual basis to graduating seniors in high school, junior college students and up to a junior in a four year university or an accredited art school. Our annual final application acceptance date is March 31 of each year.  Keep this in mind if you observe a talented student for our next year’s scholarship opportunity.

For more info: scholarsship@pswc.ws