Sunday, December 8, 2013

Allan Berman

Les Mademoiselles Classiques” © Allan Berman
Name: Allan Berman
Bio: Allan Berman was born in San Francisco in 1942 and through the years has become well known for his realistic trompe L'oeil portraits, still life, and wildlife paintings. Allan studied under the late modern day master, Roberto Lupetti, enabling him to ally his style of realistic portrayal with classical technique. Allan has gained national and international recognition as one of America's premier pastel artists.
From 1976 to 1080 he was Resident Still Life Artist at the New Masters Gallery, Carmel, California. He started to garner awards in 1998; among his portrait commissions are those of Sylvester Stallone and Buddy Holly. (Allan is a keen musician, and Elvis tribute artist, performing for President Clintons 50th birthday celebration live on television.) Allan is also a formidable photographer, his ability displayed by his stunning images of Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. He is a past member of the Sierra Pastel Society and has featured in numerous publications – I recently came upon this artist in an old copy of Pastel Artist International, issue 6, 2001.
Allan’s studios are in Palm Desert, Ca.
Medium: Pastel; photography
Subjects: Still life; portraits.
Style: Realistic
Navigation: This minimalistic website is easy to navigate. The website is copyright up to 2010 so I don’t know if it is being actively maintained. No awards are mentioned later than 2003.
Gallery: Paintings; Photography
Image View: Thumbnails open in a viewer; you may scroll through. Download is possible, although the file size is small. Les Mademoiselles Classiques dates from 2000. It is 14 x 18 ins, 404x317, 371 KB.

Demo/Facebook: No

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jeanne Rosier Smith

Seabreeze” © Jeanne Smith
Name: Jeanne Smith, PSA
Bio: Jeanne Rosier Smith studied art at Georgetown University, at the New Jersey Center for Visual Art and the DuCret School of Art in New Jersey. After earning her Ph.D. and spending ten years teaching college English, she began painting professionally when her youngest child started school ten years ago.
Jeanne Smith is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, the Connecticut Pastel Society and the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, and a juried artist member of the Copley Society, the Salmagundi Club and Academic Artists. She has exhibited at the Massachusetts State House, the Boston Artists Guild, and nationally at the Pastel Society of America, the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Arts Club and American Artist Professional League shows, among others. She has won numerous awards, including a landscape prize in the 2013 Pastel 100; the IAPS Prix de Pastel in 2012; the Grand Prize in International Artist Magazine's 2012 Rivers, Lakes, and Seascapes Competition; and the Art Spirit Foundation Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Pastel at the 2011 American Artists Professional League ShowHer work was featured in the October 2012 International Artist Magazine.  She is represented by Sosebee Gallery on Nantucket, Powers Gallery in Acton MA,  Gallery 31 in Orleans on Cape Cod, and Francesca Anderson Fine Art in Lexington MA. Her paintings are in collections across the US and in France, Monaco and New Zealand. 
Jeanne offers weekly classes and weekend workshops at her Sudbury, Mass studio and is in demand for classes and demonstrations nationally.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape, especially the sea; still life; portraits.
Style: Representational
Navigation: This website is easy to navigate; galleries are well laid out and clear.
Gallery: Multiple galleries of Landscape; Seascapes; Still Life.  Also Portrait, and New Work
Image View: Galleries consist of thumbnails that may be enlarged, or viewed in a slideshow. Pictures cannot be downloaded, and the Prt Sc option is discouraged by the use of a large copyright watermark.
Facebook: Yes 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Marie-Christine Coupillaud

 Méditation” © Marie-Christine Coupillaud
Name: Marie-Christine Coupillaud
Bio: Born in Libourne, on the Dordogne  (Christian Signol’s “La rivière espérance”) in 1952, Marie-Christine Coupillaud lives in the south-west of France, at Artiguelouve, near Pau, where she took watercolour lessons before experimenting with oil paint and finally discovering pastel in 2000. After working on her own in her studio, she took two training courses with the professional artists of the Société des Pastellistes de France in 2004 and 2005. Her work attained sufficient quality to enable her to  later participate in the International Pastel Festival in Feytiat, near Limoges. She also exhibits with the Société des Amis des Arts de Pau. Her work has won numerous awards, and accolades in the press.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape, especially mountains. One of the few pastellists this side of the Atlantic who paints a lot of mountains, with the exception perhaps of Andrew Hemingway. Also, seascapes; still life; animals.
Style: Realism tempered with a painterly approach.
Navigation: This website is in French, and in English.
Gallery: The Pyrenees; the Countryside; Venice; Animals; Still Lives; The Ocean.
Image View:  The presentation of images is unique among websites I have seen to date. There is a series of viewers for thumbnails on one side, and the centre of the page has two large viewers for the main themes. The thumbnail viewers play the thumbnails in series, but may be enlarged to occupy the centre stage. Pictures cannot be downloaded as such, but one can always use Prt Sc to save the screenshot.
Demo/Blog: No
Facebook: Yes

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jackson's Pastels

Jackson's Pastels are new to me (as of November 2013) and are manufactured by Jackson's Art Supplies. The full set consists of a modest 64 colours supplied in square half-sticks. There is a very useful range of neutrals in grey and in earth shades; two rather day-glow shades of pink and orange respectively; and a set of blues and greens that includes shades for blue and turquoise seas. When I checked the catalogue the full set appeared to be retailing at an astonishing £7.95 - at that price they are perfectly pitched at the beginner who wants a decent range of colours without breaking the bank. This set retails at the price of about 3 full sticks from the main pastel makers. I have given them a brief trial, and they glaze well over existing layers on paper such as Canson Mi-Teint Touch. They are much softer than Nupastel, and harder than Blue Earth - somewhere in the region of Rembrandt perhaps. There is no colour chart, so I have photographed the set for posting here. I have no information on light-fastness or pigment to binder ratio at this time. 
I have added this brand to my list of pastel manufacturers posted at
Jackson's Pastels

Sunday, November 17, 2013

William Rambaldi

Il Macchinista” © William Rambaldi
Name: William Rambaldi
Bio: William Rambaldi lives in Bologna, Italy, where for many years he has been practising the art of pastel. 
Recently William has recently been practising an innovative expressionistic technique with soft pastel. The painting is carried out in two phases: first a technical study; then a second phase based on the artist's intuition, in an instinctive and impulsive application of soft pastel. From the amount of work that William has been posting on the Passionate about Pastel Facebook page, this seems to be a productive means of painting in pastel without losing anything of the quality of the artwork or the medium.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape; Figurative.
Style: His interpretive paintings focus on the reality of the subject and exaggerate the emotional side of reality rather than that perceived objectivity.
Navigation: This website is in Italian, but it easy to navigate. Links remain available at the side of the page.
Gallery: Paesaggi (Landscapes); Ritratti (Portraits); Figurativo (Figurative).
Image View: Thumbnails enlarge in a viewer on the same page, and may be scrolled. (Don’t be put off by the manner in which the thumbnails assume a “frosted glass” appearance on mouseover – just click for an enlarged view.) Information is provided on title and dimension. There is a further zoom feature which is very useful as one can zoom in with the + and – buttons or the scroll wheel on the mouse, and this gives an excellent window on the artist’s technique and surface. Don’t miss the Apri L’originale button that looks like a square with an arrow at the top left corner – this brings a hi-res copy of the painting onto a new webpage and is very exciting. Il Macchinista is 40 x 50 cm, as is Il Barcone.
Il Barcone” © William Rambaldi

Demo/Blog: No
Facebook: Yes

Friday, November 8, 2013

Loriann Signori

Field at Dusk ” © Loriann Signori
Bio: Loriann Signori  graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Swain School of  Design (now part of UMass at Dartmouth) and went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts, graduate honor awards in the  American University, Washington, D.C.
Her awards include 1st place  Montgomery Art League in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010; 1st place, Shades of Pastel, National Exhibition, 2009; and Best in Show, Maryland Pastel Exhibition, 2009. (She is a Signature Member of the Maryland Pastel Society).
Gallery Representation: Waverly Street Gallery, Bethesda, Maryland, and John Matthew Moore Gallery, McLean Virginia.
Loriann lives and works in Silversprings, Maryland.
Medium: Pastel; oil
Subjects: Landscape.
Style: Impressionistic, Loriann states that she is a painter of luminosity. She has been influenced by Hans Hoffman, Rothko, Wolf Kahn and Richard McKinley, in particular their work with colour temperature.
Technique: Loriann  points out that each painting goes through a process that begins with an underpainting and progresses with thin layers of glaze. it is often necessary to scrape, rub or sand the surface in order to maintain the translucence sought. Small plein air paintings and colour notes precede the studio work.
Navigation: A FineArtStudioOnline website.
Gallery: Pastels; Oils
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge twice, and may be scrolled. Little information is provided on dimension. Field at Dusk is an exception at 6x6 ins, and I have featured it because it is near actual size and must represent the artist’s plein air passion.

Coizie Bettinger

Pumpkin Glow ” © Coizie Bettinger

Name: Coizie Bettinger

Bio:  Coizie Bettinger’s father was an artist - she still has a sketchbook in which she and her father both  painted versions of Cape Cod lighthouses.
Coizie majored in biology, took a graduate degree in Family Support and Education and directed adoption programs in Vermont, while never giving up on her painting. Moving to the Pacific Northwest, and discovering pastels gave her new impetus.  Coizie has taken classes from some prominent pastellists; her work has been hung in juried shows, and is collected through the U.S from Maine to Alaska. Coizie is a member of the Northwest Pastel Society and is represented by River Gallery, Mount Vernon, and Scott Milo, Anacortes, both in Washington State.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape.
Style: Reductionist approach, more a “spirit of place.”
Navigation: A FineArtStudioOnline website with a very clean, uncluttered feel to it.
Gallery: Paintings:  Art’s Alive; Recent Work; Old Favourites
Image View: Thumbnails enlarge twice, and may be scrolled. Information is provided on medium and dimension. Pumpkin Glow is 18x24 ins, 500x361, 138 KB
Blog/Demo: No
Facebook: Yes

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Parag Borse

Wrinkles and the Rooster ” © Parag Borse

Name: Parag Borse

Bio:  Indian artist Parag Borse, from the small village of Karjat, graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai in 2002. (The Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art is the oldest art institution in Mumbai, and is affiliated with the University of Mumbai. The school grants Bachelor's degrees in fine art and sculpture, and Master's degrees in fine art.) He derives inspiration for his realistic work from the beautiful natural surrounding around him. His rigorous efforts have brought him success in holding several painting exhibitions.
Parag has had two solo exhibitions at Leela Kempenski, Andheri and he was invited to participate in the Art Fusion Show arranged by the Nehru Center, Worli.
Parag has recently come to international attention by winning the Ruth Richeson Pastel Award in the 2013 Pastel 100 and having a feature article written around his award. He also was a finalist in the People and Figures competition in issue 90 of International Artist, April/May 2013.
Medium: Pastel; oil; watercolour.
Subjects: Mainly figurative.
Quote: I feel the real bliss lies only in blankness. And it is only through blankness that the reality can be experienced. The moment we shed our prejudices, we have direct access to the reality. Above all, what matters, is the joyful moments that an artist experiences through portraying the reality on his canvas.
Style: A very colourful representation of his subject matter. He takes great care with the tone and colour of his ground, often incorporating it into his finished work. Influences cited include Monet, Sargent, Bouguereau; and from the 20th and 21st centuries such diverse figures as Ken Howard and John Yardley, Richard Schmid, Scott Burdick and Morgan Weistling.
Navigation: Trust the top links; there are apparent links along the bottom of some pages (e.g. Philosophy) that lead nowhere. There are also some random blind links in the text.
Gallery: Galleries 1 through 5 include paintings in both oil and pastel.
Image View:  Images are viewed in a window and may be scrolled and saved. Information is provided on medium and dimension. Wrinkles and the Rooster is 31 x 27 ins, 343 x 400, 131 KB. In his interview with the Pastel Journal, April 2013, Parag describes the genesis of this painting: Passing through the market…he was touched by the prospect that the woman might have raised – and loved – the bird, but found herself forced to sell it for food. “It seemed that her intense poverty had rendered her helpless…apart from the beauty of the scene, I was touched and moved by the harsh reality of her life.” Now take another look at the painting!
Blog/Demo: No

Sunday, June 23, 2013

François Barbâtre

Petite pharmacie” © François Barbâtre

Name: François Barbâtre

Bio:  François Barbâtre claims to have been born at the age of nine. That was when he discovered, in school, that the leaf of a plane tree might be painted to resemble the real thing. From then he never looked back. At high school he became disenchanted with his art teacher, to the extent that he declined to enrol in the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It was necessary to look elsewhere for an authentic education in painting. A brief excursion to Italy lasted long enough to discover Cimabue in Florence, and the mosaics of Ravenna and Venice. Approaching thirty, he found himself a master in the person of Robert Tatin, with whom he studied Seurat, among others. In Paris, rue Rambuteau, the famous Roché pastels converted him to that medium, and he met there a kindred spirit, Sam Szafran. At the 1977 Paris Festival d'Automne he showed his paintings and acquired a dealer. His apprenticeship was over, from now on he had only his art to rely on.
Barbâtre has exhibited in France, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Brazil; his most recent exhibition was a retrospective in Galerie Jacques Elbaz, Paris. His studio is in Montmarte.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Still life; figurative.
Style: Pared back, minimalist. His eureka moment was seeing Cézanne watercolours at the impressionable age of sixteen.
Navigation: This website is in French. Navigation is from the top and always available.
Gallery: Oeuvre: Récentes; Aperçu.
Image View:  Thumbnails provide some information on title and dimension on mouseover. They enlarge in a  pop-up and may be scrolled and saved. Petite pharmacie is 24 x 33 cm, 1656 x 1201, 579 KB.
Blog/Demo: No

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Francisco Giral

“Picadors” © Francisco Giral
Name: Francisco Giral
Bio:  Spanish artist Francisco Giral was born in Fraga, Huesca, in 1948. He has specialised in portraiture and in painting animals, with a strong bias for horses. He works from his own photographs taken in stud farms, horse shows and polo matches.
His works are in private collections in Germany, France, UK, Portugal and Spain.
One of his exhibitions was held in the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona in 2001. To coincide with the 100th anniversary of horse racing in Zaragoza, Francisco was invited to exhibit at the Club Double F during the showjumping competitions held during the Pilar fiesta in 2002. He has also exhibited at the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid in 2004.
Medium: Pastel; oil; graphite; sanguine.
Subjects: Portraits; bullfighting; horses
Style: Representational.
Navigation: This website is in Spanish. Navigation is easy throughout; main menu remains available at side.
Gallery: Oleos (oils); Pastel; Grafito (drawings); Grafito Sanguina (sanguine drawings); Venta de Laminas (Prints for sale).
Image View:  Scrolling thumbnails enlarge and play in a Flash slideshow; you can choose which to view, and pause and reverse the slideshow but you may not download them.  Dimension and title are not provided.
Blog/Demo: No
YouTube: There is a video of Giral’s oils posted to YouTube by Galeria del Cuadro.

Michel Jaillet

“Danse Flamenco” © Michel Jaillet
Name: Michel Jaillet
Bio:  Michel Jaillet was born in Dijon, France, in 1944. He had a Eureka moment at the age of thirty when his profession of designing and fitting integrated kitchens required him to learn drawing, perspective, form etc.  He began to paint in oils for some years until he had another conversion, to pastel. Its techniques, its ability to blend, its sensual, tactile nature soon had him won over until he tried it out in still life, animals, portraits, nudes, landscapes – the whole gamut of artistic subject matter. Michel likes to work pastel both in fine, almost photographic detail, but also to exploit its ability to capture the fleeting moment.
Michel’s work is permanently on view in Vannes, Brittany, at L'atelier du cadre, 75 rue de Vincin and at Parfum d'art, 110 avenue de la Marne.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Just about everything. See Gallery!
Style: Representational.
Navigation: This website is in French. Navigation is easy throughout; main menu remains available at side.
Gallery: Animaux (animals); Divers (various); En mer (at sea); Flamenco; Fleurs (flowers); Le Golfe (the Gulf – of Morbihan, presumably); Musique; Nature Morte (still life); Paysages (landscape); Venise (Venice).
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in a Javascript viewer and may be scrolled but not saved.  Dimension and title are provided. Danse Flamenco is 80x 65 cm.
Blog/Demo: No

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lynn Goldstein

Facing West – Steadfast ” © Lynn Goldstein
Name: Lynn Goldstein
Bio:  Lynn Goldstein has been creating art professionally for nearly thirty years. After seventeen years as a graphic designer and illustrator Lynn took the plunge in 1998 to becoming a full-time fine artist work in pastel and other mixed-media. Early in her career as a graphic designer, a weekend job in a Japanese print gallery introduced her to prints and Japanese formats, which has had some bearing on her subsequent work.
Lynn graduated with a degree in Fine Art from West Virginia University, and later studied with some of the finest contemporary artists in the United States. She has earned signature membership in the Maryland Pastel Society and membership in the Pastel Society of America. She is also a juried studio artist at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia.
Lynn has taught many workshops in the mid-Atlantic region, and also workshop classes at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, where she also has volunteered her time as a docent, guiding tours of the gallery for many years. This experience has allowed Lynn to study, understand, and pass on the best of America’s art masterpieces.
Lynn has exhibited widely in nationally juried exhibitions and galleries, and her work may be found in private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad. One of her paintings is in the permanent collection in the Jean-Haffen Museum, Dinan, France, where she did an artist residency in 2011.
Her work is represented at the Washington Street Gallery in Lewisburg, West Virginia, and has been exhibited at Koehnline Museum of Art in Des Plaines, Illinois, Eleven Pleasant Street Gallery in Kennebunk, Maine, and at the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, among other locations. Additionally, her work, in particular her Reaching series on tree canopies, was profiled in the August 2009 issue of the Pastel Journal.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape
Style: Representational.
Navigation: Main menu always available top of page. Sub-menus nested under Portfolios and Information
Gallery: Landscapes; Inspired by Iceland; Abstracts; Sold Work.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in a Javascript viewer and may be scrolled but not saved.  Dimension and title are provided. Facing West – Steadfast is 24 x 36 ins
Facebook: Yes

Arlene Richman

“Sitting Pretty” © Arlene Richman
Name: Arlene Richman, PSA
Bio:  ​Arlene Richman is a native New Yorker. Her education was focused on both practical art and art history, first at City College of New York, then the Fashion Institute of Technology, and finally at Tufts University, where Arlene received a Master of Arts degree. Arlene also studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Maine; and has taken workshops with various pastel masters, including Frank Federico and Albert Handell.
She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America and of the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, as well as a member of the Salmagundi Club of New York.
A regular exhibitor in juried shows, including the annual Pastel Society (British Federation of Artists) show, at the Mall Galleries, London, 2004​, Arlene has been Prizewinner in the Pastel 100 for Abstracts, 2005 and 2012.; and most recently (2013) she won First Place – Pastels and the People's Choice Award, Cape Cod Art Association exhibition.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape; Abstract.
Style: Arlene claims her main influences come from Post Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and Lyrical Expressionism.
Navigation: This is a clean, uncluttered website. Main menu always available top of page.
Gallery: Abstracts; Landscapes; Chairs.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in a viewer and may be scrolled. Dimension and title are visible on mouseover of thumbnails. Download is not possible. Sitting Pretty is 21 x 26 ins.
Blog/Demo: No

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rachel Estrada

“Heavenly Alchemy” © Rachel Estrada
Name: Rachel Estrada
Bio:  Rachel is a native of Northern Virginia and lives in Leesburg with her husband, William.  Frequenting the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. with her three sisters when she was 8 years old is when her deep admiration for the Pre-Raphaelite artists, their dedication to excellence and her own passion for art began. Throughout high school, Rachel studied pastel and portraiture under portrait artist Patricia Rice . She briefly attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she intended to study nursing. But as she began drawing bones  she quickly returned to her first love, which has always been painting. Rachel studied classical portraiture with Lisa Semerad, Timothy J. Chambers, and in New York with master pastelist, Daniel E. Greene.  Rachel has work in private collections internationally, is a member of the Portrait Society of America, and is a member artist of Gallery West in old town Alexandria, Virginia. She also travels abroad for new inspiration and has painted a variety of scenes and subjects from her time in Israel, Ireland, and Greece. 
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Portraits; Still Life
Style: Realistic.
Navigation: All links remain available on top of page.
Gallery: Portraits and Figures; Still Life and Floral; Reproductions; The Emerald Isle.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in a viewer and may be scrolled. Download is possible. Dimension and medium is recorded. Heavenly Alchemy is 24 x 30 ins, 595 x 481, 58 KB
Blog/Demo: No

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nicole Vasseur

“Le bord du chemin” © Nicole Vasseur
Name: Nicole Vasseur
Bio:  Nicole Vasseur was born in Bourges, France, in 1954. She taught herself the basics  of drawing, tried out oils and acrylics, before specialising in pastel.
She joined an artists’ association in Saint Florent sur Cher, in 1988, becoming President from 1997 to 2002. She is currently vice-President of this Groupe Artistique Florentais.
She has had solo exhibitions of her work in 1997 and 2002, and had shown in group exhibitions in Paris as well as in regional shows. She has won many prizes for her pastels (see website for details) and has been guest artist at Marmagne, Sancoins, la Chapelle St Ursin, at Lunery and at Lye in 2009. Holding a Diploma from the Fédération Nationale de la Culture Française, she has participated in the Festival National des Peintres et Sculpteurs de Bordeaux ; the Salon des Peintres et Sculpteurs of Nantes, the Autumn Salon of l’Ecole de la Loire at Blois ;  and at the Art and Poetry Salon of Touraine at Tours.
Nicole teaches pastel, including a session at the Université Populaire de Bourges in 2004.
Most recently Nicole’s laurels include the 2010 Grand prix du Salon des Amis de Montmartre at Issoudun ; 2012 Prix du Conseil Général at St Florent sur Cher ; Grand prix du Salon des Aix d'Angillon ; Prix de la Communauté de communes at the Salon de Pastel en Périgord, and in 2013 the Gold Medal at the 31st salon of the Val du Cher à St Victor (03) – and the 1st Prize for Pastel at the Salon des Arts Bourbonnais at Vichy.
Medium: Pastel
Subjects: Landscape, flowers 
Style: Representational.
Navigation: Website is in French. Galeries opens to a selection of themes; once chosen, one cannot move from one themed gallery to another, but must navigate via back-button or return via Main Menu which remains available at side of page.
Gallery: Galerie Paysages (Landscape) ; Galerie Fleurs (Flowers) ; Galerie Tableaux Modernes (Modern Paintings) ; Galerie Abstraits (Abstract); Galerie Divers (Various).
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge somewhat in pop-up window and may not be saved. Dimension is stated. Le bord du chemin is 85x100 cms.
Blog/Demo: No

Monday, May 27, 2013

Peter Seltzer

“Threads 3” © Peter Seltzer
Name: Peter Seltzer, MPSA
Bio: After an early career as a schoolteacher, followed by a period running his own business,  Peter Seltzer took the plunge to being a full-time fine artists, As a result Peter is now a  Master Pastellist  of the Pastel Society of America; he is also a member of Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists and Hudson Valley Art AssociationHis awards for his artistic achievements are too numerous to mention here; suffice it to say that he has won the Dianne B. Bernhard Gold Medal Pastel Society of America, on several occasions, and 1st place, Still Life category in the Pastel 100, 2005. 
Apart from private collectors, his paintings are in some prestigious  public and corporate collections, including the Butler Institute of American Art, Harvard University, Uniroyal Chemical International,  and American Savings Bank.
His work has been featured in the Pastel Journal in 2001, 2002, 2006 (in depth interview, June issue), 2009, 2010 and 2011; also in the Artists Magazine, 2002, 2011, and American Artist, 2004, and 2007. Peter has also been showcased in a number of pastel books, including Best of Pastel 1996, 1998 and 2006; and the French l’Art du Pastel, 2006. He is included in Who’s Who in American Art.
Medium: Pastel; oil.
Subjects: Still lifes and Figures. 
Style: Representational in execution. Compositionally complex.
Says Seltzer: “It’s not unusual, when I hear people respond to my work, they use that word (meditation).  It’s a question I’ve been pondering for some time: You (the interviewer) recognise a quality of transcendance; other people pick up other things. It makes me wonder when an artist creates a visual theme, especially one that uses personal symbols, how important is it that the viewer understand what those symbols represent? I finally came to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter. I’m expressing something personal, but people tend to find their own way into the piece.”
Navigation: A FineArtStudioOnline website.
Gallery: Gallery; Portraits.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in viewer and may be scrolled. Download is possible.  Each image is named, with medium and dimension provided. Threads 3 is 16x20 ins., 550 x 443, 93.6 KB
Blog/Demo: No

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Brian Sauerland

“Snapped” © Brian Sauerland
Name: Brian Sauerland, PSA
Bio: Brian Sauerland received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1990 from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. While attending  there he began working with pastels and he has concentrated since then on paintings in pastel.  Brian is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, and holds memberships in Chicago Pastel Painters, where he is Vice President and Distinguished Member (DCPP), the Midwest Pastel Society, the Wilmette Arts Guild, and the Great Lakes Pastel Society. Brian has been winning awards for his work since 1986; most recently an Honorable Mention in the 14th Annual Pastel 100; a Bronze Award in the 13th Annual Pastel 100; and a feature article in the Pastel Journal April 2012 issue.  Also the Jack Richeson & Company Award - 2011 Chicago Pastel Painters 3rd Biennial National Juried Exhibition.
Brian currently resides in Palatine, Illinois.
Medium: Pastel.
Subjects: Landscapes, still lifes and portraits. 
Style: Representational. Brian says he is influenced by many styles and periods of art including Impressionism and by various artists such as N.C. Wyeth, Edgar Degas, and John Singer Sargent. 
Navigation: A FineArtStudioOnline website.
Gallery: Winterscapes; Landscapes; Still Lifes; Portraits.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in viewer and may be scrolled. They will enlarge further in a new pop-up and download is possible.  Snapped is 15x24 ins.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Alan Larkin

“Drinking the new spring wine” © Alan Larkin
Name: Alan Larkin
Bio:   Alan Larkin received his B.A. in art from Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota in 1975 and his M.F.A. in printmaking from the Pennsylvania State University in 1977. He has been teaching drawing and printmaking for the last 31 years at Indiana University South Bend. Alan spent the first 13 years of his time at IU South Bend working almost exclusively in the area of printmaking, particularly lithography. In 1991 he began to focus more on pastel drawing and oil painting.
He has won numerous prizes in regional and national competitions for his artwork including the Great Lakes Pastel Society Award at the 29th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society of America in 1999 and the Best of Show award at the 75th Annual Hoosier Salon Exhibit in Indianapolis. His works are in numerous private collections including the corporate collections of Pillsbury, NIPSCO, and Lincoln Life Insurance Companies. He is represented by the Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the Spurious Fugitive Gallery in South Bend. Articles have been written about him in both American Artist Magazine and the Pastel Journal.
Medium: Pastel; Oil; Lithography
Subjects: Portraits; Figurative.
Style: Representational.
Navigation: Navigation is straightforward. There is no content in the About the Artist link, other than the 2009 promise of “coming soon”. How hard can it be to cut and paste something from Google and save one (me!) the search?
Gallery: Complexities (One pastel); Contemplations (medium not mentioned); Dressing up (13 pastels); Games (8 pastels); Illuminations (2 pastels); Interludes (Oils only); Interventions (3 pastels); Myths and Metamorphoses (5 pastels); Premonitions (lithographs); Reveries (4 acknowledged pastels); The Small World (medium undeclared).
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge in Flash viewer; information is generally (not always) provided on medium and dimension. Download is not possible.  Drinking the new spring wine is 20 ins square.
Demo/Blog: No. 

Al Zerries, RIP

“Horse Race” © Al Zerries

Name: Al Zerries
Bio:  Al Zerries was born in New York City, and graduated from Pratt Institute with a major in advertising. After graduation, he served in the Army as a 1st Lieutenant, Airborne and Ranger qualified. After his military service, he worked for over twenty years as an art director, TV producer, and creative director at a number of Manhattan ad agencies. He also taught advertising at the School of Visual Arts.
In the mid-nineties, Al began to paint -  he studied with Burton Silverman 1998-2000.  Since he began showing his work in 2001, he was in over 225 national and international exhibitions, with his paintings winning awards in over half those events. His work was honored with 15 Best In Show awards. Continued acceptance earned him the status of Elected Member or Signature Member in more than 30 distinguished societies, including the American Artists Professional League; Audubon Artists, Incorporated; Degas Pastel Society; the Watercolor U.S.A. Honor Society; the American Pastel Society; and numerous regional art groups.
Al’s work appeared in the pages of the Pastel Journal, December 2008; and also in The Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Artist.
Al was the victim of a hit-and-run in February,  2009.
Medium: Pastel; Oil
Subjects: Portraits; Figurative.
Style: Representational.
Navigation: Navigation is straightforward.
Gallery: Watercolors; Oils; Pastels.
Image View:  Thumbnails enlarge on new page; no information is provided on dimension. Download is possible.  Horserace is 600 x 329, 44 KB
Demo/Blog: No. There is a tribute to Al on YouTube .

Monday, May 6, 2013

Brian Cobble

“310 – W 7th” © Brian Cobble

Name: Brian Cobble, PSA
Bio:  Brian Cobble was born in 1953, in Ohio. He got his BFA in 1975, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, and in 1977 his MFA from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He attended the  Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine in 1977.  Although his training was chiefly in oil painting, Brian fatefully turned to pastels  when oil paints began to irritate his eyes, pleased and surprised at what he could achieve with them.
Brian had his first solo exhibition in 1978, and ever since has had numerous solo and group shows, garnering many awards along the way. In the last decade he has been awarded First Place, Art Spirit Foundation, Dianne B. Bernhard Gold Medal Award in the 31st Annual Open Juried Exhibition for Pastels Only, Pastel Society of America; he was named Master Pastelist, by the  PSA in 2006;  he won the Pastel Journal Grand Prize Award in the 2007 Pastel 100; and in 2008 he was awarded First Place, Twelfth Juried Exhibition: Web Show, International Association of Pastel Societies. He was the Juror for Landscape and Interior in the 2012 Pastel 100; his evaluation of art typically begins with a sort of “gut reaction” - stating that “If you’re jealous of it, it’s probably good”.
Brian’s work has been featured in numerous publications, from American Arts Quarterly, through Southwest Art, the Pastel Journal (April 2006 and April 2008), Dallas Arts Review, the Artist’s Magazine, and American Arts Quarterly.
Apart from private and corporate collectors, Brian’s work can be seen in such varied public collections as the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas; the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia; and the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas.
To learn more about the art of Brian Cobble, one can do no better than read the two essays on his website. There is little point in my rehashing them here – read the originals! Brian Cobble’s own essay refers to his influences, his work ethic and his technique.
The artist  currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Medium: Pastel.
Technique: Brian works chiefly on Strathmore Series 500 Illustration Board or even watercolour paper mounted on board for larger works. A coat of clear gesso for tooth is followed by underpainting in oils, acrylics, or gouache, before pastel is applied.
Subjects: Landscape. According to critic Roger Winter, “If Cobble has a signature subject, and whether or not he does is, to his credit, a debatable issue, it would have to be called the built environment.”
Style: Representational. Cobbles landscapes are quintessentially American; often unpeopled; there is certainly an echo of Edward Hopper; although Cobble cites George Inness, Charles Burchfield, Maynard Dixon, Daniel Garber, Samuel Colman, among the artists who inspired him.
Navigation: Navigation is simple, straightforward.
Gallery: Pastel Gallery; Print Gallery
Image View:  Thumbnails scroll along bottom of viewer, whose large images may be downloaded;  if you click on the latter they open in a scrolling Flash viewer with no download facility.  310 – W 7th is 13 x 22 ins, 825 x 334, 274 KB
Demo/Blog: No; but read the essays.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ellen Eagle - Pastel Painting Atelier

Artists in pastel are like any other interest group, composed of members with hugely varying backgrounds, but fiercely unified in their medium. Only they appreciate the enormous variety of expression that can be attained with what seems to the uninitiated to be fairly limited means. But when you see,as I do in my blog, the great number of individuals who pursue their art with unique vision, personal style, and devotion to a theme, exploring the medium on all manner of supports, exploring the technique, inventing, creating, always learning in the never ending pursuit of perfection.  And make no mistake about it, among contemporary pastellists there exist great artists, and great art.
So, when a new book on pastels is published, all pastellists worthy of the name prick up their ears and want to know more. We all have a library of cherished works, containing “how-to” books and glossy “best-of” – I like both, although I think the latter may well have been superseded by the website. But for sheer hands-on practical purposes, a book is needed – for techniques, recipes for pastels and grounds, anecdotes – to slip bookmarks into and to read in bed!
When Daniel E. Greene wrote his seminal book, Pastel, in 1974 it was too soon for me, but I found Alan Flattmann’s 1987 book  hugely informative and influential. The Art of Pastel Painting inspired me,  showed me how, amazed me with Alan’s paintings, and remains a firm, often consulted favorite.  I have acquired many pastel books since, and have learned much, but nothing quite matched Flattmann’s work – until now.

Ellen Eagle is in the same tradition as Flattmann – a practising artist who talks lovingly and knowledgeably about her art.  Her book is for the practising artist, and as such is divided into practical chapters, covering a little history, the materials, the techniques, the genres. There is something new to be gleaned even for the most experienced. To begin with, Ellen referenced some pastellists from history that somehow I had missed, and was able to talk about rare paintings she had taken the trouble to see.
After that, her main divisions, in logical sequence, are: Basic Materials; Advanced Studio Practices; A Look at the Genres; The Working Process; On my Easel; Display and Handling.

Basic Materials
The advanced artist might be tempted to skip this section – but hold! Have you thought of testing your colours for their lightfast qualities? Ellen has, in a simple but clever sunlight test. She demonstrates the effects of varying wet and dry marks – and marques – on differing supports. She explains the difference between many of the major brands that she uses; she shows how to sharpen those hard pastels to use in her smaller, exquisite portraits. And she shows how she likes to organise her pastel collection – I’m glad to say we are like-minded in this regard, we both make colour charts and like order to prevail in the studio!
The important topic of toxicity is discussed adequately, without fuss. Then Ellen tests  some pastels on various popular supports  - an essential part of deciding how to proceed with a project. How much tooth will you need? Will you want to wet the support at any stage? What about tone? Do you want to make your own ground? Your own pastels? Ellen knows how – she paints on her own gessoed boards.
Are you lucky enough to have space for  a studio, or are you just putting up with a painting space that could be improved? Read Ellen’s thoughts on light, ambiance, backdrops, easels, mirrors. And above all, I urge you, keep a notebook. Use it for notes on what you do, what you used. I learned this early on, and it saved me painful repetition when painting series, even though I tend to keep a sub-set of pastels aside in those circumstances. Random thoughts rub shoulders with thoughtful analysis. The progress of a painting - or not – is recorded; it’s personal, not a  literary endeavour. Just keep it legible and try not to smudge it too much with charcoal!

A look at the Genres.
I was really looking forward to this section. Ellen on Portraiture was bound to be special. If you know her work, you will realise that this artist has immersed herself in painting the human spirit; there are no trite, banal portraits in Ellen’s oeuvre. Even her smallest scale works stand out as paintings that have taken time and consideration and effort to achieve. Her subjects vary in age, gender, race, aspect, stance, dress, opinion – yes, you can see that in their faces. “My Portrait of Julie” is a case in point – a painting from a ruin at Pompeii, full of history and wisdom  – the texture, the direct gaze, the jewellery! ( It is also instructive to see what other paintings she included in this segment  - Harvey Dinnerstein’s enigmatic self-portrait with plumb line.)
It is such a privilege to read Ellen on portrait painting. This is an artist at the height of her powers, talking about what she knows and loves best. This chapter alone justifies the book. Her patience, her stillness, her empathy – all are necessary  to achieve her purpose. Read, and contemplate, and learn.
Since I work mainly in still life, I was particularly interested in what Ellen had to say about this genre, and who else was featured – my absolute heroes in this genre are Jane Lund,  Andrew Hemingway, and Dan Massad – Dan is featured here. Ellen considers still life to be portrait of items chosen out of the artist’s affection for them. This certainly gives them a personality and a value the artist must convey to the viewer. She may arrange objects, or find them ready and waiting, another facet that I am in sympathy with. Her own paintings in this genre are, well,  unexpected!

The working process is explained at length – not just the physical process but also the thought process, which is perhaps more valuable. Ellen keeps daily notes of her work, so that her diary may in form both the work in progress, and future paintings. This section also answers intellectual challenges faced by her students in the Art Students League, a clever way of expounding further on artistic problems.

Finally, Ellen talks us through work in progress on her easel, a selection of six pieces, including three portraits and three still lifes. Again, both the mental and physical progress are probed and analysed with affection and intelligence. A minor complaint in this section is that the painting of the Bee Balm is shown larger than life, and while it is easier to see its development  “à la loupe”, I would like to see the little 11.6 x 7.1 cm painting life size.

Display and handing
The book ends with a section on framing, display, and caring for pastels; and closes with an extensive list of museums world-wide where pastels may be seen – including some in the National Gallery in Dublin that I was unaware of!  
There are some small areas I might suggest could be altered in future editions. When Ellen discusses supports she refers to Canson as a paper whose tooth is rapidly filled, and this is indeed the case; but there is also Canson Mi-teintes Touch, which is a sanded paper quite different from the standard Canson, and not mentioning it might give rise to confusion for beginners.  Nor does velour get a mention, although I can quite see how Ellen would have little use for it in her practice. And after all the book is not meant to be an encyclopedia of pastel. More seriously, when Ellen writes about manufacturing one’s own pastels, she suggests the wearing of latex gloves to avoid allergic reactions from the pastels. But latex is itself prone to give rise to a very unpleasant allergic response, so it might be better to suggest vinyl gloves, or some material other than latex.

Apart from those minor caveats, I believe this book deserves to become a classic. It is a major addition to the literature, written by an experienced and sensitive artist and teacher. I shall return to it again and again, and slowly savour the advice, the wisdom and the art of Ellen Eagle.

Pastel Painting Atelier; Ellen Eagle; Watson Guptill $35.00