Maryland Pastel Society newsletter


Spring, 2010

Spring 2010
Well, if anyone is in any doubt that spring is here, I have the Mad Cardinal to prove it. This crazy little guy spent two days attacking his own reflection in our window, convinced it was another male cardinal trying to horn in on his nesting territory. I finally called my vet, who advised me to hang brightly colored and busy magazine images in my window, which would make it impossible for the bird to distinguish his own reflection among the mess and jumble of so many other colors and shapes. It seems to have worked; he's left the window alone ever since – probably off nursing a headache and wishing the kids would pipe down!
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But I thought it was a good metaphor for our own experience: sometimes it's just really hard to find ourselves amid all the noise and activity surrounding us. How do we fix that? We prioritize and simplify; we focus on what's most important to us and let everything else fall away, even if only briefly. For many of us, that's a quiet day with our pastels in the studio or outside, stretching our wings by trying new approaches, new subjects, new materials.  
To help us stretch, Pennsylvania artist Alice Laputka (see her artist's statement and profile here) has very kindly consented to join us at our spring meeting to talk about and demonstrate abstraction in painting. It will be a good follow-on to the work we did in our last meeting on value and composition: these principles are especially important in abstract painting. Alice will talk about abstraction, why you should try it, different ways to approach an abstract painting, and the importance of a strong knowledge of composition and color. She will start with a brief slide show to illustrate these points, offering several tips about composition that should help you improve your paintings, whether abstract or representational, and then she will give us a painting demonstration, perhaps with some audience participation. She will use several brands of pastels and will work on sanded paper she prepares herself, using ground pumice and colored gesso and/or acrylic paint.  

We will also celebrate our successes by announcing the included artists and award-winning paintings selected by juror Cindy Packard Richmond in our first-ever juried all-member on-line pastel show!  

It should be educational and fun – I for one am really looking forward to it! And as always, bring your latest pastel painting and a tasty snack to share: we'll be drawing names for the "food prizes" after the business meeting. That's Saturday, April 24, noon to 4pm, at the Glenwood Community Center in western Howard Co.

See you there!
Deborah Maklowski,
MPS President