Show Preview | Pastel Society of New Mexico

Hispanic Arts Center, Albuquerque, NM
November 1-24

Paul Murray, Bell Tower, pastel, 23 x 15.

Paul Murray, Bell Tower, pastel, 23 x 15.

This story was featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

On November 1, the Pastel Society of New Mexico unveils its 22nd annual juried National Pastel Painting Exhibition at the Hispanic Arts Center at EXPO New Mexico. The show features 140 pastel works by 90 member and nonmember artists, including Patsy Lindamood, Miguel Malagon, Paul Murray, and Marilyn Drake. An artists’ reception and awards presentation is on November 1 from 5 to 8 p.m., and artists’ demonstrations are scheduled every weekend during the show.

Paul Murray, who has attended the show nearly every year since 1995, says, “Nationally, it’s a highly regarded show. I think the artwork these days is so much more sophisticated than it was back in the late ’90s. It’s a much more difficult show to jury into now than it was just five or six years ago.” Murray brings one work to the show that depicts one bell tower of the Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe lit by the last rays of the setting sun. “My favorite times to paint are at the edges of the day,” he says. “This warm, enveloping light permeates everything and adds an attractive mystery.”

Natasha Isenhour, Great Eastern Sun, pastel, 12 x 9.

Natasha Isenhour, Great Eastern Sun, pastel, 12 x 9.

Participating artist Natasha Isenhour says, “I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in this show. There are a lot of well-known artists but also a lot of new emerging artists.” Isenhour brings two works: GREAT EASTERN SUN, which depicts two black-headed grosbeaks facing east into the early morning sun, and BIRD IN HAND, a painting of the artist’s own hands cupping the pastels she used in creating another bird piece. “I paint birds all the time,” she says. “It’s kind of what I’m known for.”

Murray notes that in its earlier years, the show consisted mostly of traditional landscapes. But, he says, “Today the subject matter is a little more personal, better thought out perhaps, and I think the talent level is a lot higher than it used to be.”

Show chairman Nicholas Tesluk agrees. “There are more portraits, abstracts, even some surreal works,” he says. Also important is how the medium itself has matured over time. “People will be astounded by the many different ways pastel can be used,” Tesluk adds. “Now with antireflective glass, you almost can’t tell the difference between a pastel and an oil painting.” —Laura Rintala

contact information
www.pastelsnm.org

Featured in the November 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November 2013 print issue or digital download
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