PSWC Board Members are the backbone of the Society. They volunteer their time, talent, and efforts to support the mission of the Society to promote pastel arts and education. We are always looking for additional volunteers to take on Board positions. Training and lots of encouragement is given free of charge! Contact any board member for more information.
Meet Our Board
PRESIDENT & EDITOR OF PSWC MAGAZINE
Susan’s first memories of making art were at her grandmother’s round oak table, with lots of blank paper and a fresh box of crayons at her Iowa farm. Having had some training along the way, she describes herself as “mostly self-taught” in Pastel her favorite medium as well as oil, and colored pencil. She has taken workshops with Tina Moore, Bob Gerbracht, Gill Dellinger, Richard McKinley, Kim Lordier and Margot Schulzke.
Susan has spent the last 38 years in California. Twenty years were spent in production weaving and teaching. After retiring she returned to painting full time.
She has been inspired by the beauty of the High Sierras where she lives 5 months of the year. She travels throughout the United States taking photographs along the way which gives her a huge selection to paint from in her studio.
Susan has pastels and watercolors in many private collections. She is a member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast, an associate member of PSA, Blueline Arts, Placer Arts, North Tahoe Arts, and American Women Artists.
She was juried into the 42nd Mother Lode National Art Exhibition, the 55th Haggin National Art Competition which also selected her painting for an Award of Merit and the original was reproduced on their banner and posters for the exhibit at the Haggin Museum of Art in Stockton, California Her work was accepted into the 24th Pastels USA International open exhibition which was held at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, California, the 27th Annual International Open Exhibition which was held at the Marin Society of Artists Gallery Ross, Ca., and the 28th Annual International Open Exhibition which was held at the Art Center Morro Bay, Morro Bay, Ca. She has won the Pastel Painters of Maine Award and has Signature Status with the Pastel Society of the West Coast. She also placed 2nd out of 1300 entries in the Crocker/Kinsley competition/2015. Her painting was hung at the Crocker Art Museum in April and May of 2015. Her painting “Thinking of things to do was chosen by The American Women Artists to hang in the Rockwell Museum in Corning, NY in April of 2018.
Bonnie paints the western landscape using the rich pigments of pastels and oils to create paintings that have the brilliance and bold color characteristic of these mediums. Working in a representational yet impressionistic approach, she tells a story with her paintings; one that will resonate with the viewer from their own viewpoint.
I am drawn to these mediums because they allow my best representation of the landscape with the brilliant pigments creating texture, light and mood in my paintings. My goal is to create works that draws the viewer in; allowing them to use their senses to experience the time of day, the warmth or coolness, the message of the painting – for themselves, to merely “get lost” in the work, experience it and make it their own. If that happens, then I have done my job.
Bonnie grew up in north central Montana on a ranch near the Missouri Breaks. Early on she experienced the rugged country, the big skies, the vegetation of this landscape mostly from the back of a horse. Memorable childhood vacations included trips to Glacier Park to enjoy the sharp contrasts of the landscape from central Montana. These trips continued through the years and painting some of the views of the park has been part of those experiences. Her parents were ranchers; her mother a talented visual artist; her father a musician. Art appreciation came early and studying the affects of light on the landscape and the colors were imprinted deep. She declared at an early age that she was an artist and that carried through along with a career in the medical arena until she began painting full time in the mid 1990’s.
Bonnie has studied with several instructors such as Lorenzo Chavez, Robert Moore, Ned Mueller and others in developing her work. She works mostly en plein air taking every opportunity to paint from life. “My work turned the proverbial corner once I started painting seriously from life. You learn to see better, to capture light accurately and express yourself differently when working from photo. I do studio work as well, often with the aid of plein air studies.”
The artist is a current resident of southwestern Idaho and spends significant time in MT and UT painting throughout the year. She participates in numerous plein air events in the western US, judges competitions and offers workshops in pastel techniques, both studio and plein air. Her work is represented by galleries in MT, ID, OR and WA. Collectors include corporate and private throughout the US, Canada and Australia. Bonnie’s work can be seen on her website Instagram – @bonniezahngriffith and her Facebook page Bonnie Griffith Landscape Artist.
CHAIR of PASTELS USA
It has been said that painting is a journey. As artists, each of us is on a personal trek of expression. I use my art to show my views and visual perspectives of the world. I work in dry pastels, focusing on the beauty that is around us. As an artist I hope to pass along the world of pastel painting through my art and teaching others through art classes. I find it rewarding to be the first to introduce a beginner to pastels, and both rewarding and challenging when I have the opportunity to work alongside the experienced painter.
When beginning a painting, I usually look for a concept to portray and then a mood of the painting is established. I do think of paintings as a form of language. It is a way to communicate that crosses over written or spoken words. It enters a visual understanding. It is at this time that the viewer can perceive a story or a mood depending on interpretation. Because of this, it is most rewarding when someone else makes a connection to one of my paintings.
As an artist, I have tried multiple mediums, but pastels have been my greatest enjoyment and challenge. Pastels are so versatile that I am continually discovering new approaches to their use, application, and presentation. Pastels have a never-ending variety of applications and it is stirring to discover a new aspect of the medium. Artists such as Margot Schulzke, Anita Wolff, Richard McKinley, Waif Mullins, Alain Picard, and the late Bob Gerbracht have each been wonderful mentors.
It has been an honor to have my work judged and selected for awards by distinguished artists and judges of distinction, including the curators of art for the Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento, CA), Oakland Museum of California, and the Haggin Museum (Stockton, CA).
I am a member of Pastel Society of the West Coast, Pastel Society of Oregon, Placer Arts/Placer Artists League, and Sacramento Fine Arts/Northern California Arts (NCA).
Master Artist – Sacramento Fine Arts/NCA
Signature Artist – Pastel Society of the West Coast
Signature Artist, Sierra Pastel Society
My studio is located within the Packing Shed Studios in Newcastle, California.
CHAIR of ONLINE MEMBERSHIP SHOW
Early in his life Dug and his family recognized his ability to draw, color and create by any means necessary.
This Sacramento born, California native utilized his artistic skills that continued to follow him through to high school, where he was named staff artist for the school newspaper. Junior college continued the progression of his talent and paved the way to the intense environment at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. Graduating with a BFA in Advertising Design opened the door to a 40 year career as an art director, graphic designer and illustrator in San Francisco bay area. During those productive years he employed all of his artists skills and tools to articulate a wide variety of projects. Today Dug paints in soft pastel but oil and watercolor are still drawn upon to implement his passion for creativity. The learning process continues.
Many years ago I fell in love with Pastel because of the speed and tactile feel of its drawing capabilities, the opaque coverage, the color brilliance and serendipity experimentation that gave a perfect voice for my work. There is an intimate connection between my fingertips, my mind, my design sense and my heart in addressing the painting surface. The rapid layering of color and textures throughout the painting process responds to my painting style of representational impressionism. I also love the speed and performance of watercolor. It has been a great teacher in making me both humble and enlightened. Mistakes and accidents are part of the watercolor process and if you let them happen the results are amazing. Because of my affinity for these two mediums I sometimes employ them together in a painting.
Dug is a Distinguished Pastelist member in the internationally recognized Pastel Society of the West Coast (PSWC). Early in 2014 his painting “55th @ Broadway” was awarded Best of Show at PSWC’s Membership Show. He has been selected in two successive years in Pastel Journal’s annual Pastel 100 award show, accepted in the Pastel Society of America’s 2013 & 2014 Enduring Brilliance at the National Arts Club in NYC and selected in the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) 2014 show at the Voce Gallery in Boston. Also in 2014 two of his paintings were accepted into PSWC’s Pastels USA 28th Annual International Open Exhibition Show in Morro Bay with his painting “Brace Yourself”winning the Terri Ford award. Two of his works were accepted into the 2015 IAPS Show for their convention in Albuquerque, NM. Those two paintings were also accepted into the 2015 PSWC’s Pastels USA 29th Annual International Open Exhibition with “Duck Landing” winning the University Arts award.
CHAIR of MEMBERSHIP
I have always done some sort of art, starting in grammar school. As life happens, I grew up, started a family and career and put all the art on hold.
In 1998 I got really sick and went undiagnosed until 2001. Unable to work any longer, I finally got a diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis. My professional career ended, and the kids were grown and out of the house. I picked up a paint brush, took a class and I firmly believe that ART saved my life.
Today I create daily, with watercolor, pastels, pen and inks, alcohol based inks, acrylics, collage, oils and cold wax, and my doodle work. I teach workshops in Alcohol Ink Pours, and Doodle Art.
I was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley and love the opportunities that the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Central Coast and the deserts of California, have to offer for creation.
CHAIR – MUSEUM LIAISON
W. Truman Hosner
W. Truman Hosner earned his BFA at Wayne State University in Detroit, following it with post-graduate work at the Center for Creative Studies where he eventually returned to teach.
Before moving into fine art, as a nationally recognized illustrator he produced illustrations for brands such as Readers Digest, CBS-Fox Video and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Truman then studied at the Scottsdale Artists School with Harley Brown and Dan Gerhartz.
Paintings by W Truman Hosner have been featured in national and international museum collections and exhibitions ranging from New York City…to California…to Canada…to France and Spain...to Asia.
“Painting from life, the integrity of Hosner’s art is never in question as he
conveys through his works the evolving moods and dynamics that can be
captured only through the art of plein air painting.”
-Harry Goldson, Suttons Bay Galleries
CHAIR of PUBLICITY
Cynthia is a California native who has lived in the Bay Area most of her life. She has felt compelled to respond to the beauty around since childhood and her artistic creations have taken many forms. Today she works in oil and pastel.
Cynthia’s paintings have been in national juried shows at the Triton Museum, Haggin Museum and Salmagundi Club in NYC. She was awarded Best of Show at the 2016 Sierra Pastel Society’s International Exhibit and is a Signature Member of PSWC. Her landscapes are painted on site, en plein air, usually in one sitting. Her goal is to make each a statement of a moment in time, with nature providing the light, color and movement. She hopes each carry some of the excitement she felt while painting.
Cynthia’s portraits are done from life or in the studio using photographic reference and color studies. Capturing her model’s likeness and a sense of the person are her primary objectives.
Cynthia is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and has an MBA from Santa Clara University. She is the mother of three sons and lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband.
CHAIR of SOCIAL MEDIA
Rita Romero is a contemporary realist artist working in oil and soft pastel to create fine art paintings and commissioned portraits. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Rita began drawing and painting at an early age, winning her first award in a high school art competition. Her artistic journey and continual search to achieve a balance of craftsmanship and artistic expression has been heavily influenced by the work of recognized Masters – both old and new – of classical realism. The art of Rita Romero is a celebration of the current renaissance of classical realism and the dramatic power of representational art. She doesn’t aspire to simply paint realistically, but rather to capture a moment, a human experience or an emotional dialogue with the viewer.
Rita’s art has won numerous prestigious awards. Most recently, her pastel paintings won Best of Show in the Richeson75 Figure/Portrait 2017 competition, and Best of Show in the Pastel Society of the West Coast’s Pastels USA 2017 show. Her paintings been exhibited in national juried art shows, as well as the Triton Art Museum, Haggin Museum, the Edith Lambert Gallery and M.K. Sloan Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, and the Salmagundi Art Club in New York. She has also had pastel paintings featured in the February 2017 “Male Muse” issue of Poets and Artists magazine, and the February 2017 issue of the International Artist magazine.
A mostly self-taught artist, Rita acquired a strong foundation in design while obtaining her graphic art degree in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has built upon that foundation with continuing education in drawing and painting with internationally recognized contemporary masters such as Sadie Valeri, Virgil Elliott, Kate Stone, David Kassan, Cuong Nguyen, Justin Hess, and Thomas Nash.
CHAIR OF SCHOLARSHIP
Co-Chairs: Pam Comfort & Ranjani Mohana
Pam Comfort has dabbled in a variety of media over the years, but it wasn’t until this past year that she discovered the beauty, flexibility and tactile satisfaction of working with pastels. Pam recently retired from her post as Deputy County Superintendent of Schools in Contra Costa County, California and has been doing a lot of international traveling. She is drawn to paint subject matter that attempts to reflect the wonder and sensation of particular scenes encountered on these travels.
Having seen the call for a volunteer to assist with the PSWC scholarship program, Pam says she thought it might be a good way to use her professional experience and connections to educational organizations – as well as a way to become more involved in this wonderful community of pastel artists. Along with travel, Pam has been enjoying time with her six grandchildren and languishing on the lake near her home in the Sierra foothills.
Ranjani Mohana was born and raised in India and currently lives in Northern California. Her creative passion drove her to explore sewing, crafts and painting. Ranjani is mostly a self taught artist and is currently concentrating on painting with pastels. Her painting skills have been soaring high this past three years.
“Indulging in nature and admiring God’s creation was an exciting journey; I am not only able to see it in my everyday life, I am now able to capture them all, the beautiful little flowers on the roadside, the sunlight playing hide and seek through the orange grooves, the beautiful lamp emanating light, the reflection through the glass window…you name it, there was beauty to uplift one’s spirit and leap with joy everywhere around us. Thus the inspiration, my imaginations combined with my love for pastels brought me to this indulgence in drawing in pastel.”
Most recently, she is exploring her skills in abstracts with acrylics.
One of the highlights of Ranjani’s career was in 2010 when she was selected by the Co Founder of SF MOMA Art Gallery, Mariam Parmenter, to create 50 paintings of size 6”x6”, for the 50-50 Show at the Sanchez Art Center, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd, Pacifica, CA. The show went from July 29 – August 30, 2010.
CHAIR OF SOCIETY AWARDS
Mary Beth Sasso
My art is a personal journey in which I see the beauty of life whether in a person, animal, place or thing. I am so grateful for my gift.”
Mary Beth Sasso specializes in pastel portraits of both people and animals capturing the true nature and personality of each subject. “When I chose a subject that speaks to my soul, the true essence of its beauty completes my vision of an exquisite piece of art. It becomes a part of me.”
Ms. Sasso was born in Connecticut and as a young child exhibited a strong talent in all areas of art with a natural ability to draw. As a teenager, she began studying under the mentorship of nationally and internationally known Master Pastelist, Claudia Post, www.claudiapost.com and for the next 7 years was her teaching assistant during her summers off from school.
Ms. Sasso attended Paier College of Art and received a B.A. in Graphic Design from Central Connecticut State University and went on to have a successful career as a graphic designer for over 30+ years. In 2008 Ms. Sasso reconnected once again with Ms. Post and returned full-time to her fine art roots with exhibits at various galleries in Connecticut along with teaching teens and adults in Connecticut schools and private studios.
She is an Adjunct Art Professor at Santa Rosa Junior College successfully teaching adults beginner level pastel painting and basic drawing skills in addition to teaching private classes and commissions.
Ms. Sasso is also a Certified Teaching Artist at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, which partners with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. As a CTA of LBC’s arts integration residencies, Ms. Sasso brings art into a classroom to lead students through six interactive sessions combining an art form and another academic content area to dive deeper into learning. In addition, she also taught art for Sebastopol Center for the Arts Summer Arts Camp and Petaluma Arts Center.
Most recently she became an RYT200 Yoga Teacher. “My passion for art and yoga will enable me to offer workshops combining art and yoga for the mind, body, and spirit. A truly meditative and creative experience.”
CHAIR OF STRATEGIC MARKETING & PLANNING
Deborah Shea received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Design at the University of California at Davis. She studied with Wayne Thiebaud, Roland Peterson and Frances Butler. Since that time she has also taken classes and workshops in botanical drawing, watercolor and acrylic painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. She had a long and successful career as a creative directior, designer and illustrator prior to becoming a full-time artist. She currently resides in Redwood City.
CHAIR WAYS & MEANS
Pat Stoddard Aragon
For PAT STODDARD ARAGON, drawing and painting has been her life long occupation spanning more than 50+ years. Her subjects have always been of the western genre, horses, cowboys, and dusty scenes. She sold her first commission of a chestnut Arabian horse when she was 14.
Besides raising a family of 4 children, she successfully handled a mail-order animal portrait business for many years, working in pastels from her client’s photos. During the summer she would sit on the tailgate of her pickup at local horse shows and do quick $15 pastel portraits of horses for their owners, with many commissions to follow! She taught art classes from her home studio as well as in the adult education system, and was a commercial artist and a cartographer (map drawing) for a Sacramento, CA advertising firm… before computers!!
“Painting anything Western” about sums it up for Pat. She has always been a ‘western’ person, worn jeans and cowboy boots, had horses and animals all around her and lived way out in the ‘boonies’, so to speak. The most way-out place was when she ended up on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming! In 1990, after her husband passed away and her children were raised, she went there just for a visit, and to paint her favorite subjects up close and personal. But, she married a Shoshone Indian cowboy and spent the next 18 years there on a ranch where they raised cattle, horses and hay.
Working in oils or pastel Pat’s artwork records her ranching and western subjects from this firsthand experience. She has many memories stored away of special cowhorses, the cowboys, ornery range cattle, brandings, Indian PowWows, Rodeos, and cattle drives. In between herding cows from horseback in beautiful, wild open country… she painted. She is glad to share her experiences through her award winning artwork. Pat returned to California a few years ago and now lives on her family’s ranch in Newcastle, CA. A little tamer than Wyoming, but still surrounded by cattle, sheep and wildlife. Every day all around her seeing inspiration for paintings!!
Pat has been a member of PSWC since it’s beginning, is a member of the American Women Artists, and was a past President and signature member of the Sierra Pastel Society. She paints at her studio at the Newcastle Packing Shed Studios and Gallery – 455 Main St #8 – Newcastle CA 95658. To see more of Pat’s western art, stop by her studio or visit her website www.patstoddardaragon.com