Tuesday morning I am headed to Albuquerque to attend the International Association of Pastel Societies biennial convention – IAPS

There has been so much hype on social media and I can’t imagine what it will be like, I am very curious and excited!

I started painting with soft pastels during the pandemic when the world was upside down, I wanted to learn something new in the safety of home. My previous painting experience with other mediums made it easy to understand some of the basic concepts, but learning the unique qualities of soft pastels, how layering color and shifting value can be achieved, understanding how different brands of pastels do different things, all filled the need to stimulate my creativity. I discovered how combining gesso and/or pumice gel with pastel creates dimensional texture, and the dimensional quality achieved was able to bridge my style of painting from encaustic to soft pastels.


I was able to learn from viewing videos on YouTube (never thought I’d want to do that pre-pandemic!) and followed artists on social media, eventually found a Patreon group with Karen Margulis. https://www.patreon.com/karenmargulis/posts.

She has been my primary source for pastel lessons. I took an online workshop with her early in the pandemic, and I’ll get to meet her in person next week at IAPS.

At the convention, I’ll be taking all day workshops with Lyn Asselta and Teresa Saia, attending three demonstrations by artists I’ve followed online, and having the “in person” experience after the past few years of zoom learning will be pure joy.

During the pandemic I started to submit pastel paintings to juried shows … some local, some national, even a few international online shows. I had some rejections but also had some exciting acceptances. For me, being accepted into juried art shows validates what I am doing and also encourages me to continue to try new things. I also realized the time I spent learning soft pastels improved my encaustic painting techniques; everything we learn is connected.

In the next few weeks I’ll have paintings included in the following shows:

“For Pastels Only”, Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod – https://ppscc.org/exhibitions/

“99 Voices”, 36th Annual International Exhibition, Pastel Society of the West Coast – https://pswc.ws

I have an encaustic painting accepted into “Crossing Borders” at the Copley Society of Art, a national show, and plan on attending the opening on July 14 in Boston – https://copleysociety.org/exhibitions

The rules for the juried pastel shows do not allow artists to share their accepted paintings until the show has opened but I can share the painting I just sent to the Copley Society.

Dreaming
oil stick & encaustic on board
24” x 18”

Early in July I’ll hear results from a few more juried shows, and my enthusiasm for painting with the soft pastel medium will be even stronger after attending the convention.

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