Monday, December 1, 2014

Texas Treasures a Success! Congratulations!

The 2014 Texas Pastel Show "Texas Treasures", at the Carver, got off to a great start at the reception on November 6th.  Attached is the show Judge’s comments.  Kathleen Cook, a well known Pastelist from the Kerrville/Ingram area, was impressed with the level of work exhibited in this show.  Works from San Antonio, New Braunfels, Canyon Lake, Rockport and Houston are on display thru December 1st in the lobby of the Carver Center.

Also attached is a picture of the awardees (in the background is Bob Rhodes' award winning lighthouse picture).  From left to right, Dan Oxford (Honorable Mention), Diane Brahm (Third Place), Bob Rhodes (First Place), Denise Beard (Second Place and Cindy Morawski (Honorable Mention).

 Those of us with art in the TXPS show at the Carver need to pick those pieces up Tuesday,December 2 between 9:00 and 4:00.(Note that pick up day was moved from Dec. 3rd ).

Congratulations to all who participated in the Texas Pastel Society Show “Texas Treasures”.
I was honored to be invited to view these excellent examples of pastel painting and challenged to select only 5 works to receive special recognition and awards.
I was especially impressed with the variety of subject matter and styles---from the whimsical to the deeply thought-provoking---and from the realistic to the abstract. I found each entry to be a personal reflection of an artist who is reaching deeper into themselves to produce something fresh and new. Knowing nothing of the artists, really, I felt that the work presented in this show was seasoned and maturing. I wouldn’t say that any of the artists were beginners by any means.
Any juror is always presented with the same challenge. To look for and to evaluate the basics, like good design, composition, drawing skills, accurate anatomy, selection of subject, use of the medium, color, valuem etc. From these strong works, the next step is to identify those that are doing something unexpected or are taking artistic risks or are making me think in a new way. Good design compels the viewer to come closer and a good idea makes the trip to the wall worth the effort. That’s the artist’s job---to slow time and help the viewer see life in a different or a more close-up way.
Today, during the jurying, I was rewarded with many pastel paintings that were full of light, energy, atmosphere, humor, drama, poetry and keen observation. After all the technical evaluation and consideration, any juror must then select works that touch her on an emotional level. Other jurors might have selected a different group of award winners, but from the 40 years of my career with producing and viewing artwork and working with the beautiful pastel medium, I am confident that my selections are solid.
Just a word of insight into my selections:
First Place----“Squall Over Louisbourge” by Bob Rhodes had all the good elements of design, and then gave the lighthouse an unusual placement, off to the side, so that the darkening stormy sky could be prominent. I was drawn closer by the wonderful violets and closer still I discovered the delicate and accurate drawing. In this piece and the one of the yellow bird, also by Rhodes, titled, “___________”, I felt the wind blowing, just by the way the pastel was handled. Wonderful color, emotion and mood.
Second Place----“Caffe Italiano” by Denise Beard fascinated me for the edgy composition. An abstraction of realistic objects. Ordinary items presented so up close, so that we lost sight of what they were and could really focus on the shapes. I kept coming back to this piece, getting lost in it, like being inside a jigsaw puzzle. The drawing and rendering of textures is superb. So much packed into a small space as was her second entry of her little deer, “Curiosity”.
Third Place----“Love Me Some Party” by Diane Brahme first just made me laugh and feel good. Then I started looking closer and appreciated the sound anatomy, the great personality of the face, the good composition and the skillful handling of figures in the distance. There is energy and vitality in this party girl and the feeling of dance. Just an all-around competent painting and an unique idea.
Honorable Mention----“Marfa Ruin” by Daniel Oxford gave me something to appreciate in that solid, abandoned building. He found something beautiful in what many would see as forlorn and sad. This composition is excellent and the size relationship of the image and the surrounding mat gave this piece a prominence that a smaller frame package would not have done.
Honorable Mention----“Morning with Bluebonnets” by Cindy Morawski. Is it possible to see something new in a bluebonnet painting? Yes, this unusual dimension in a panoramic format made me want to take a closer look. I loved the way the loose application of strokes appears more solid at a distance, producing many colors in the viewer’s eye. The atmosphere of the sky is also well-handled.
Overall, I would like to praise the Texas Pastel Society exhibitors for their high quality of framing and mat selections. Some of the mat selections worked to enhance the art and the total package of art and frame made such a difference. I am a lover of matting for pastel art. I like the breathing room that a mat will give between the image and the frame, which will then set the painting apart from the surrounding wall.
My applause to each of the entrants for sharing your artistry with me and allowing me the privilege of encouraging you in your artistic journey. I know exactly what it feels like to put your best work out there for another to evaluate. We artists are all out there seeking that beautiful image, that unusual concept, that special communication with our viewers. Always reaching out beyond our current abilities to learn and grow. I hope to see more of your art in the future. Together, we love the pastel medium and celebrate its versatility and brilliance. Many thanks to all.
--------Kathleen Cook, PSA

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