Category Archives: In their own words

Pastel artists who either guest blog or answer questions in an interview with me

Marcia Holmes, "Floating at Dusk," 2016, pastel, 26 x 26 in. Sold.

Marcia Holmes – From Realist To Abstract Expressionist

For years, I had known Marcia Holmes as a representational painter but in the last couple of years, I’ve seen her blossom into a full-blown abstract artist! I featured one of her newer pieces in my March 2017 round-up and have followed her career ever since.

I was curious to know about her path from realist to abstract expressionist so I asked her to write a blog and I’m delighted to tell you, she agreed!

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Maria Marino – Responding Emotionally To The Landscape

When I think of the work of Maria Marino, I think of pastel paintings full of vitality, texture, and colour. And when I say paintings, I think with Maria Marino’s work, they really are paintings! She applies the pastel so thickly, you feel you could be looking at a thick brush stroke of oil paint.

I’ve featured Maria in my monthly selections and have always been intrigued by the process by which she works. I’ve also been amazed by her very textural ink drawings full of density and dark. So, as you can imagine, I am delighted to have Maria Marino as a guest blogger!

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Wade Zahares, The Shortest Day, 2008, Schmincke pastel on Wallis, 24 x 30 inches. City skies on snowy nights always amused me with the strange colors that light up the night. 

Wade Zahares – Whimsy, Colour, And A Winter Wonderland!

As we close in on Christmas and the holiday season and all the laughter and love that seems to be that much more apparent and visible at this time of year, not to mention all the sparkle, light, and in northern climes, winter temperatures and snow, I wondered who to invite as a guest blogger. How do we celebrate this time of magic and memories of childhood? And then it came to me, the work of Wade Zahares!

I’ve been delighted by Wade’s work for sometime now. His amazing perspectives and unusual viewpoints not to mention his saturated colour and sense of fun and magic appeal to me enormously, so much so that I’ve featured his work twice in my monthly round-ups (in September 2015 and March 2017). I was super pleased when he agreed to do this last guest blog of 2017!  Although Wade paints all seasons, I asked him to put the primary focus on his winter scenes, the season being what it is.

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Tony Allain, "Low Tide Porthleven," pastel, 10 x 34 in

Tony Allain – How To Pastel (Loosely)

If you’ve ever seen Tony Allain in action or seen his work, you’ll know why I’m excited to have him as a guest blogger.

I first featured Tony’s work in my first-ever monthly round-up blog in September 2014 (when I wasn’t writing very much about each pastel!) and then more recently in April this year. I’ve admired the confidence and colour in his work, and also the way he utilizes his sketches to create his pastels. So you can imagine how happy I was to bring his words and art to you.

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Lyn Diefenbach, "Counterpoint," Sept 2017, Pastel on Ampersand Pastelbord, 24 x 24 in. Available.

Lyn Diefenbach – Revealing The Complexity Of The Natural World

I met Lyn Diefenbach at this year’s IAPS convention. I had featured her self-portrait in one of my monthly roundups and admired the detailed complexity of her work for some time so I looked forward to meeting her. And you know what? She’s as delightful in person as you could hope! She’s also a great storyteller and she had me laughing much of the time!

After creating a short interview video with her (see the end of this post), I knew she would have much to say to you so asked her to be a guest blogger. And yay – she said yes!!

Here’s a teaser in case you don’t know her work.

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Sandra Burshell, "Rest," 2016, Pastel on UArt 500 grade sanded pastel paper toned orange and mounted to acid-free foam core, 25x23 in

Sandra Burshell – The Beauty Of Colour, Light, And Atmosphere In Her Roomscapes

It’s my great pleasure to have Sandra Burshell as guest blogger. I’ve featured Burshell’s work twice in my monthly round-ups – the first time was a figure (click here to see it), and this past June, I included her interior, “What Could Have Been.”

I’ve always been intrigued by the way Sandra Burshell applies pastel, with her marks coalescing into a readable form, one filled with light and colour and atmosphere. You’re in for a treat as she shares many images, and also takes us through the progression of “Rest,” a painting that just received the President’s Award at the current Pastel Society of America’s annual exhibition.


In case you don’t know her work, here’s a taste:

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Jeanne Rosier Smith, "On the Edge," detail

Jeanne Rosier Smith On Finding Her Artistic Voice

Summertime…and the living is easy. And that means hanging out at the beach be it by the sea, lake, or river. There’s something about water especially warm, gently moving water that shifts our inner spirit. When I think about being at the seaside, in my mind up pop the wave paintings by Jeanne Rosier Smith.

I happened to pass Jeanne in the hallways of IAPS back in June and casually called out, “I’d love you to write a guest blog – are you up for it? And if so, can you manage to get it done for July?” Happily Jeanne said, “For Sure!”  AND she came through even though she only had about a month to put it together!

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Artist Interview Videos From IAPS – 19 Of Them!

As you know, I was recently at the 12th pastel convention of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) in Albuquerque. One of my self-set tasks was to create as many short artist interview videos as I could during the four days and incredibly packed schedule. I’ve created these interview videos over the past three IAPS conventions and this time, I was pleased to interview 17 artists! I asked each a single question. Some of the same questions were answered by a few of the artists. And happily, two artists (Albert Handell and Bill Creevy) answered two questions!

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Nancie King Mertz, "Irving & 18th," soft pastels on UArt paper, 14 x 11 in. Plein air painted in Grammercy Park as a demo for a class I taught for PSA last fall.

Nancie King Mertz – Urban Architectural Painter Extraordinaire

Painting en plein air is a rewarding experience but usually has challenges. My own work is often done in a quiet(ish) spot as much as possible away from people and activity. This is not the case with this month’s guest blogger Nancie King Mertz!  Nancie seems willing and able to set up just about anywhere – she sees something she wants to paint, she sets up. Often this is in her home town of Chicago but it can be anywhere she travels.

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Carol Peebles, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! –Emma Lazarus, Inscribed on the Statue of Liberty," 2016, mixed hard and soft pastels on Colourfix paper, 14 x 19 in. I drew this while trying to recover from the Presidential election results, contemplating what was inscribed on the greatest symbol of America: the Statue of Liberty. This piece is meant as a symbol of hope and strength to work in solidarity for our values.

Carol Peebles – Awakening The Spirit With Pastel Portraits From Life

I’ve been enjoying portraits by Carol Peebles for some time now. You’ll find one of her pastels features in October’s monthly round-up. Her demos are extraordinary. I’d be pleased to create any of them in the quiet of my studio never mind under the intense gaze of students!

The other thing I love is that Carol uses fabulous and pertinent quotes for the titles of her pieces. They make you think about each piece at a deeper level.

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