February 2017
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Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society

President - Virginia Belser, Vice-President - , Secretary - Peggy Klinger, 
Treasurer – Susan McCartney, Newsletter Editor – Jill Foster, Resource Officer  – Jill Foster
To promote fellowship among members,
To raise public awareness of pastel as an artistic medium,
To enhance creative painting with pastels,
To offer educational activities that foster growth among members

Letter from the Editor

The 30/30 challenge group had 7 members in it.  They were Kim Gates Flick, Susan Nicholas Gephart, Shirley Vogelsong, Stacy Mayou, Mary Rohrer-Dann, Virginia Belser, and Jill Foster. They each painted one painting a day (or at least painted every day) over a period of 30 days-January 1-30. They posted their work and shared painting tips with each  other via email.  Everyone really enjoyed it even though there were some days that were tougher than others.

Did any others try the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge during the month of January? (Stacy wrote about it in her December column.)  If so,  would you like
to share some of them with us?  The photos can be posted in 3 different ways:  1] Send them to Anna to appear in the March slideshow banner on our website, 2] Send them to Jill to use in a 30/30 column in the newsletter, or 3]  Post them yourself on the CPPS Facebook page.  You also could send them to all three news sources.

The slideshow for March/April will  feature 30/30 paintings.   If you have paintings that fit this theme, please send them to Anna now and indicate "30/30 slideshow" in the subject line. Be sure that your jpegs are at least 600-800 pixels in height.  And be sure to include the title of the painting along with your name!  [The webmaster's email is always at the bottom of the newsletter.]


Meeting Dates

February 12
May 14
August 13
November 12

Best Western Plus
Premiere Drive
State College, PA
1:30 PM in the conference room
Dates subject to change.

Current News

CPPS Pre-Meeting Activity

1:30, February 12 features a Still Life Paint Around with a brief meeting to follow. 
For those of you not familiar with a "paint-around", essentially there will be a still life set up. Three or four artists will arrange their respective easels around the still life and begin a painting for 15 minutes. At the end of fifteen minutes, each artist rotates to the easel on the left. Again, each artist paints for 15 minutes and then rotates to the left. This continues until each artist has returned to his/her original easel. The resulting paintings are a unique collaborative piece, bearing all the imprints of each participating artist while still bearing the essence of the originating artist.  So-- bring your painting materials and easels and we will have several still life stations set up for this fun event.  A brief meeting will follow at 3:00

Figure Drawing Activity with Altoona Artists

Art In Common (Altoona art organization)  and CPPS are jointly offering a figure drawing event in the afternoon on Friday, Feb. 10, from 1:00 - 3:00 at Bloom Yoga and  Wellness located at 1506 12th Avenue in Altoona. We will be drawing yoga participants as they work through their poses in a professional yoga studio. To avoid leaving dust or mess we will be sketching in our socks, slippers, or bare feet and restricting our mediums to pen and pencil. Limited to 12 artists, this opportunity offers great practice for drawing human figures.  To reserve your spot email Debbie Decker at
2017 CPPS Shows
CPPS Officer Vacancies

30/30 Challenge Paintings

Below you will read comments from some of the people who accepted the challenge:

Shirley Vogelsong during the 2nd week:  "A comment I have about painting the 30/30 day challenge is, it is a challenge. Painting mini pictures got me through the first week and the following week I found out if I manage just to paint a little bit, it is fun and helpful. Comments and encouragement from the others was a big help to keep me going and enjoying what I was doing."

Stacy Mayou during the 2nd week:  "I am really enjoying the 30/30 challenge as a group. The interaction has been helpful and seeing everyone's work daily is inspirational. Painting daily isn't difficult, in fact I'm quite enjoying that, successful daily painting is a challenge. Probably having to learn that not every painting will be successful, but the act of painting itself is what matters has been the biggest take away for me.  I think painting daily has allowed me to try a few things I hadn't before - an entire painting with no blending - and hearing how others work has prompted thought and experimentation as well." 

Susan Nicholas Gephart - 2nd week:  "It's not about  a masterpiece or even finishing.  Sometimes it is simply about the process of creating.  The brain gets stimulated and your sense of well being increases -  a kind of high that is the best!  Even a short session of 15 minutes can be a learning experience. It is most fun when color is placed on color!  Pastels are the best!  I do think we are all encouraging each other and that's what is making this work so well.

Mary Rohrer-Dann - Beginning of 3rd week:  "I love this challenge, which is compelling me to make time every day (or at least almost every day) to paint or draw.  Even on the days I haven't painted, I'm thinking about painting, thinking about color."

Stacy Mayou - End of 3rd week: "this group has been very intimate, it is non-judgmental zone where we can experiment, be successful and fail without fear. I think that has been a big reason we are all still painting daily and sharing."

Jill Foster - "For me, this challenge was not about creating a work of art or even a finely finished piece.  It was about having fun, experimenting with methods and materials, and learning from each other.  My main focus was to try to regain my passion for painting."
Below are a few of the paintings done in the first and second weeks of the challenge. (Sorry, this program doesn't allow me to caption groupings of images.)

Artist Spotlight

Recent pastel work by Anne Kenyon will be featured at the Elk Creek Cafe, 100 W. Main St, Milheim, Pa. during January & February 2017.  The restaurant is open Tues 4-9, Wed. & Thurs. 4-10, Fri & Sat 11:30-11 and Sunday 11-2. The show features larger works and Penns Valley scenes.


by Stacy Mayou
2017 is well underway now and because we all know how time flies, perhaps, this is the perfect time to talk about this summer and fall! Our pastel society will be having two shows in 2017; a juried art show in August and a member show in October. These are great opportunities for individual artists and our organization - recruiting new members, helping current members and building community relationships. As an organization, we want to represent all of our members and make sure everyone has the chance to show and submit entries. Also, we want to show the community our best, help them understand our mission and unite pastel artists in our area. With that in mind, knowing that putting our ‘best’ work forward isn’t as easy as it sounds, I decided to delve into what judges look for in show entries. The difference between the artist and judges’ impression of their work is interesting. Often, what we think is our best, because of a personal connection, does not resonate with others. So, how can we critically look at our own work?

Research showed, there is a repeated theme of elements to concentrate on. The top three things judges look for when viewing art for a show are:

• Composition - Any one or combination of
     ⁃ Design
     ⁃ Value
     ⁃ Color
• Strong focus and/or idea - draw them in through the subject or idea
• Freshness - Incorporates
     ⁃ passion - feel that the artist had to paint the subject
     ⁃ excitement - the physical draw to the painting
     ⁃ breathing room, areas for the eyes to rest as they move around the image

Other elements that were repeated in the research;
• Mood - keep it consistent 
• Consistency of Style - if you’re working in an impressionistic style use it through out the entire   piece
• Technical Proficiency

With regard to technical proficiency, the research strongly indicated this was looked at last. Technical proficiency does not necessarily make a great painting, and in reverse, lack of technical mastery does not always distract from a great painting. Good news for us beginners as we work to master our medium!

One great thought from artist, Bill Hosner, is that when you think about showing some of your work, show a few people - your "test market". These can be people who know you and your work, have been following you, and are not necessarily artists. If you hear "Wow" and there is much discussion, then you have some great pieces. If you hear "that's nice" or "I like that", then maybe those shouldn’t get entered. He also suggested asking artists you associate with direct questions, like, "is the composition strong?” or “are the colors balanced?” This can begin a real discussion about the technical aspects of the work.

A couple other items to note:
Everything I read reiterated to keep entering shows. Rejection at one doesn’t mean rejection at another. Many of these shows have several hundred submissions, even thousands. Rejection doesn’t mean your work isn’t good. The judges could have just viewed hundreds of works before yours and were tired.  

In order to be competitive in front of the judges, your submission photo has to be professional. Judges look at each submission for an average of 3 seconds. If a poor quality photo is submitted, you don’t stand a chance.

March’s column will focus entirely on photographing your work, it’s importance and tips on how to do it.  Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this column, would like more information and source material or have any questions.

Future Workshops

William Truman Hosner, guest artist

"Concepts for Painting the Figure in Outdoor Spaces"
August 1/2/3. 2017 with a demo July 31
Windmere Hall
State College, PA

Members $500. Non Members $530 (includes CPPS membership).
(Price of workshop does not include the model fee)
$ 100 deposit due 1/15/17.
Minimum 10 to 15 maximum  participants

A few openings are still available.
 The registration form is now posted on the website.


Other 2017 workshops

2 Nicholas Studio 3-Day Plein Air Pastel Workshops

Tue, July 18, 2017 – Thu, July 20, 2017, 10am – 4pm

Tue, July 25, 2017 – Thu, July 27, 2017, 10am – 4pm

Location:  Studio of Susan Nicholas Gephart, 351 E. Bishop St, Bellefonte PA
Price: $80 per day with 1 day only options
Class Size:  3-4 people
Class description: Each day we will meet at Nicholas Studios for a morning demonstration.  Late morning we will travel in my car loaded with our gear (or car pool) to a local site to plein air paint.
Contact Susan Nicholas Gephart to register or ask questions. 

Thoughts from the Studio

I was reading the October 2016 issue of the Pastel Journal and found some interesting information from Christine Swann that I thought the membership would be interested in knowing...especially if you work mainly with only one brand of pastels.

She found that brands of pastels vary in power or intensity depending on the amount of pure pigment and the amount of filler (talc, clay, kaolin, etc.) used in producing the pastels.  When she was working with only her Sennelier set, her paintings didn't have any contrast because almost all of the pastels from that company had the same "power". No contrast means no punch to the painting.  So, she began to experiment with the different brands and to decide on the "power" each brand had by drawing the pastel across the palm of her hand.  Hard to see?  Very little pigment. Easy to see?  More pigment.  This is her breakdown of the "powers" from the various companies.
  • Lowest Power - all brands of pastel pencils
  • Low Power (25%) - Rembrandts; NuPastels; Jack Richeson hand-mades; Daler-Rowneys; any student grade pastel
  • Mid-power - Giraults; Unisons; Terry Ludwig lights and mid-tones; Diane Townsends; most Blue Earths; Jack Richesons; and Winsor&Newtons
  • High Power (75%) - Terry Ludwig darks; Schminckes; and Art Spectrums
  • Highest Power - Senneliers; Henri Roche's; and Great Americans

Quote of the Month

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."

Twyla Tharp
dancer and choreographer

New and Signature Members

See #4 in the by-law summary for information on how to attain signature status within the Society.

By-Law Summary for New and Current Members

  1. Read the by-laws as they are the rules that govern the Society.  The by-laws can be accessed by clicking on the Resources button on our website Home page.
  2. Ask for a current membership list from the president or the treasurer.
  3. There is a 2 month wait before a new member can exhibit with the Society.
  4. Signature membership is attained by having three different paintings being juried into three different shows over a three year period.  As soon as your dues are paid, you are considered a full member and the three year period begins.  Save proof to submit to the president (acceptance letters, show brochures)
  5. Dues are to be paid in November and no later than the end of December.
  6. Meetings are usually at 1:30pm the second Sunday in February, May, August and November.  Meetings are currently held in the Best Western Plus, Premiere Drive, State College, PA
  7. Paintings for shows must be properly wired, have a neutral mat and be at least 80% pastel.
  8. Any news you have about yourself being juried into shows or having shows, please share by emailing the newsletter editor
  9. The Society email list is confidential and should not be submitted through forwards, etc. to outsiders.
  10. Elections are held during the November meeting.
Group emails are sent out by the president and not individual members.
The above list is a brief summary of some of the by-laws to help you get acquainted.  
Complete set of by-laws can be read on the CPPS website.  
Welcome to the Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society


Art Shows to Enter

Pastel Society of Southeast Texas -- Deadline February 26 - prospectus at www.passtelsociety of

PA Art of the State - Deadline February 28 - Enter at

Arizona Pastel Artists' Association - Deadline March 7, 2017 - Prospectus online at

PA Watercolor Society 38th Juried Exhibit  - Deadline May 15, 2017 - entry forms

Pastel Society of America - Deadline June 13, 2017 - Prospectus at www.pastelsocietyof  

SAMA -Ligonier - Deadline August 2017
For registration or additional information:
(724) 238-6015
NW Pastel Society; Pastel Painter Society of Cape Cod; and probably others,  Check it out.
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