Artist Of The Month

Elizabeth McCarthy’s A Walk in the Woods

Elizabeth McCarthy’s A Walk in the Woods

Pastel: The Artist Part 2

Sharon Adamy

Continuing the pastel journey, Penny Cooper began using pastels after attending a workshop in the Art Center. In the exhibit her Red Onions were entirely painted during class—about four hours. Another artist who can quickly and elegantly finish a painting is Elizabeth McCarthy whose painting A Walk in the Woods can now be enjoyed at the Tuscany Falls reception desk. McCarthy often paints the same location in changing seasons and her bucolic countrysides with hayfields and snow are refreshing to behold. Another painting, Native Dancer, is on display in the Art Center window.

Some artists paint more quickly than others and preparation times vary. When selecting a topic for painting, it takes hours finding the inspiration among one’s photographs and more time preparing drawings and producing notans which are black and white simplified shapes. Always values are considered when selecting the colors to use.

With an affinity for the unusual, Kathie Janda often selects a portion of a subject as the focus of her work. Janda creates an underpainting with the darkest values arranged in shapes and then uses an alcohol wash before blocking in her subject on paper. Such discipline accomplished, Janda can effectively transform her vision into reality.

One will hear “value” used often when talking to an artist. Value is the lightness or darkness of a color or hue. Most artists make small notans while others will produce black and white copies using their printer. Many employ red or green plastic squares to view their work during the process. This aids in seeing the structure of the painting without distracting colors in order to determine correct values.

Included in the window display are some notans used in the preliminary stages along with the finished painting they represent. There is one sample of a pastel drawing in contrast to the many finished paintings. A chart of tints, shades and tones is used when an artist is seeking colors that complement each other. On display is a color chart also used by quilters for that same task.

The Pastelists presented are a varying group when it comes to methods and preferred subject matter. Gretchen Olberding enjoys sketching “plein air” and sometimes hikes through the countryside in search of just the right spot. Using the sketches and photo reference, Gretchen finishes the painting in her studio. Olberding has had many of her paintings juried into area exhibitions. Recently she has been awarded Signature status in the Arizona Pastel Artists Association where she also serves as treasurer.

One abstract pastel painter is exhibiting with the group. Diane Greeneich has painted exclusively with pastels for the past 14 years. She is drawn to express herself with the glorious colors for which pastel is known and to do so in large abstract and organic shapes. Greeneich creates a notan and a color sketch before beginning her painting. Examples are on display in the Art Center window.

More pastel artists will be featured in next month’s PebbleCreek Post.