Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Summer 2011

Welcome to summer! I’ve just come back from the Terri Ford plein air pastel workshop in Chadd’s Ford, PA, physically exhausted but creatively revitalized. Not only was it a real pleasure to watch Terri produce those incredible, OMG luscious paintings of hers (to see some of her work, visit her website:, but she is also a gifted instructor with a great sense of humor and a tactful way of helping you see where you can improve a painting. I think I speak for all 14 students when I say it was one of the very best workshops I’ve ever taken.

Painting outdoors continues to enjoy a widespread renaissance among artists of all media and skill levels and is inspiring a new generation of 21st century impressionists. Even if you’re not a fan – and admittedly it’s not for everyone – the experience of just sitting outdoors in the shade on a sunny day and simply sketching with your friends is a pleasure not to be missed. There’s no need to feel any pressure to produce something “frame-able” – you’re just sketching!  It’s fun, it hones your basic artist’s skills of rendering and observation, and it will, with continued practice, inform and improve your studio work in a variety of ways.

That’s why, for our summer meeting this year, we decided to once again take us all out of the inside and into the outside! We’ll gather at the Howard County Conservancy at the historic Mt. Pleasant Farm on Route 99 (10520 Old Frederick Road: see their website for directions and trail maps: at noon on Saturday, July 23. There’ll be a short business meeting at the picnic tables under the trees and then you’ll be free to wander the grounds, sketch, take photographs, and/or paint en plein air. In addition to the white frame house on the hill, there are nine original outbuildings, barns, gardens, fields, and streams, along with plenty of parking and restrooms in the Gudelsky Environmental Center.

What to bring? A folding chair, a hat, your lunch and something to drink (it’s BYO day!), a camera, and your art gear. Sunscreen and bug spray may also come in handy. You can sketch in pencil, ink, pastel, watercolor, or any medium you choose, or just take photographs, if you want. If you’re not a plein air painter yet but are curious and considering it, you can work beside one of our experienced outdoor painters to see how it’s done, ask questions, and examine equipment. Make art with your friends, feel the breeze, smell the flowers – what’s not to like? See you there!