Show Preview | Arizona Pastel Artists

Sedona, AZ

Sedona Arts Center, March 28-April 10

Dodie Ballantine, Waiting for a Table at Vernazza, pastel, 13 x 21.

Dodie Ballantine, Waiting for a Table at Vernazza, pastel, 13 x 21.

This story was featured in the March 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Pastels steal the limelight this month at the Arizona Pastel Artists Association’s second annual National Open Show, a juried exhibition featuring as many as 90 original works by artists from around the United States. The public is invited to attend an awards reception at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, at the Sedona Arts Center in the city’s historic Main Street District. Artists’ demonstrations are scheduled throughout the exhibition, including one by award-winning landscape painter and judge of awards Aaron Schuerr just before the reception.

Once a popular choice among 18th-century European portrait artists, and later with celebrated Impressionists like Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, pastels are experiencing a renaissance in the fine-art world today, says APAA president Sharon Frey, who extols their unique attributes. “Pastels can stand side to side with oils anytime,” she says. “They are vibrant and strong. As soon as you put a varnish over oil paint, you dull it down. We don’t do that with pastels. You’re seeing the pure pigment—there are no thinners or additives to make them less intense. And if you apply pastels carefully over the surface, scumbling them, you leave behind bits of minerals that reflect light, so there’s a natural iridescence to pastels that other mediums don’t have.”

Visitors to the APAA’s luminous exhibition can find depictions of animals, figures, landscapes, and still lifes in a variety of styles, from realism to abstraction. And the artists also vary in their “technical” application of pastels, says Frey. “Some put down an underpainting in watercolor or pastel, or even with an oil or acrylic wash, and then paint over it with pastels. Some pastelists are blenders, and others are mark-makers, similar to what you’d see in a van Gogh painting. And some paint on sanded paper, whereas others paint on velour.”

Without question, the dynamic show promises to offer something for every art lover. (Works shown here appeared in last year’s show.) “Last year we sold about 10 percent of works in the show, and it doesn’t really matter whether a painting wins an award,” says Frey. “More often than not, people buy a work simply because it appeals to them.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
520.609.7929
www.apaa.wildapricot.org

This story was featured in the March 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT