May 2020
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Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society

President - Candace Smith; Vice President - Kim Gates Flick; Secretary - Jen Shuey, 
Treasurer - Leslie Dyer; Newsletter Editor - 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
From the President's Easel

This pandemic should be known as “The Time of Questions”- When will it be over? How will we know? Can you get it again? Will science prevail? What does re-open mean and will it be safe? What is going to happen to my job? How can I work from home? How can I get some relief?

It’s endless and the answers are certainly not definitive. But we can take some solace in humor. I have laughed at the creativity of people re-creating famous artworks by using what’s at home, parodies of works with people wearing masks and t-shirts with funny and supportive sayings.

My sisters and I each chose a t-shirt that reflects our personality from a business called ‘Sheshow’ –

“2020 is a unique Leap Year. It has 29 days in February, 300 days in March and 5 years in April.”

“It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.”

And mine – “I say bad words a lot.”

I actually like the phrase “New Normal” because it means we have to change to adapt to the world. And who better to change and adapt than artists? Historically, artists haven’t always been rewarded in their time for change – the Impressionists, Abstract Expressionists, Surrealists, to name just a few. But they persevered because they had visions they couldn’t put aside, the willingness to use new materials and ideas and the courage to see differently. You just can’t keep creativity down, wherever and however you find it. Personally, I haven’t done a whole lot of art during this “pause” but I’m sure many of you have and I applaud you for it.

Persevere and have courage!

Current News
From Susan McCartney, Head Docent at the Palmer Museum at PSU: " I thought the Pastel Society might enjoy listening to Daniel Massad talk about his work in soft pastels." 
Click on link below.   

Note: Daniel Massad lives in Anneville, PA and has work in the recent show "A Touch of Color" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D..C.  He was also the juror for a recent Images show.

The current IAPS Exhibition is ready for you to view on their website.  The show is at the Dunedin Art Center in Dunedin, Florida, which is closed due to Covid-19. The organizers of the show are planning on holding some online tours and talks about the exhibition. They have a video announcing the prize winners. Here is the link: IAPS 36th Juried Exhibition.   If the link doesn't work, go to their website.  Select Exhibitions from the column at the left . First select exhibitions and then  current exhibition.


UART Online Pastel Contest   Click on the link.
Online Adventures
Anna is currently accepting floral paintings for the May slideshow.  Send jpeg to acraneart@

Online Adventures maybe omitted from the next newsletters because there has been little or no interest from the members in participating. However, if you wish to see this column continue or if you have suggestions for alternate columns, please send that information to the editor.  This newsletter is sent out for your information and enjoyment and to showcase your work.  Please participate!
May 2020

The Importance of Thick Skin
Hard to believe it is May, it seems like some surreal world where time is moving and standing still at once. I hope you are all well, healthy and financially able to stay warm and fed.
We have been under stay-at-home orders for at least a month now. In the beginning, the virus wasn’t close and it felt a bit like a vacation. No where to run to in the morning (well maybe to find TP), living in sweatpants, coffee all day, and working at the dinning room table. It was the same feeling as sleeping in the fort we built in the living room when we were kids.
Artists jumped on 30 day challenges that flooded Facebook and Instagram, signed up for online classes, and joined free live stream workshops. Committing to come through this lockdown as better artists than when they started. The artwork being shared on social media has been truly amazing. Artists are spending time experimenting and using new mediums, they are learning to use new tools online, sharing videos, time lapse paintings, and offering opportunities for their friends to paint or draw with them, some even live streaming. It is all a crazy whirlwind of creativity and it is impressive!
Yet all of this creativity is happening in a vacuum.
Although most artists are introverts we crave the acceptance of our peers. We need each other. We hold each other up, motivate and inspire each other. Not easy to do when we can’t get together. Facebook and Instagram likes are nice, but they can become a crutch, even an addiction. Relying on them for acceptance and motivation can send a creative soul on a downward spiral quickly.
What started as a blessing; being at home alone with our art, has become difficult and it is getting harder to see the blessing through the doubt. It is getting harder to show up and be fresh.
Good thing artists have thick skin. We have been preparing for this since we started drawing as youngsters. Be kind to yourself. You are an artist, you are improving. Remember, you will be the last one to recognize your own improvement, and you are the harshest critic of your own work. Maybe it is time for a mental health day. A day to do something completely different; bake a cake, whittle a stick, go fishing, breathe. Your thick skin can protect you from doubt, acknowledge it, accept it, and then show up anyway!
While you are taking care of yourself and working on your art, take a minute to reach out to other artists during this time to make sure they are doing well. All of us need to know our tribe is there for us.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts on this article and hear how you are managing through this odd time.
Although this article sounds like it is coming from a very personal place, I am actually doing very well. Aside from the usual doubt and scary blank surfaces, I have been having fun in my studio and taking mental health days when I need them. When I sat down to write this month’s article, I had become aware that ‘all work (art) and no play’ is real, and I was seeing artists begin to show small cracks in their thick skin as their confidence started to waiver. We need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and holding up the artists we are connected to.
We may all be in this together, but we need to all get through this together!
Wishing you all peace and good health
Thoughts from the Studio
I thought it would be interesting for the members to read about how Online teaching using ZOOM  went for 2 of our CPPS members.  Only one of the instructors rose to the challenge to write this column.  Thank you, Susan.

This past month because of COVID-19, the Art Alliance of Central PA reached out to its instructors asking for them to consider teaching with ONLINE Zoom. Because I had 14 students enrolled in a 4-week course, I wanted to challenge myself and give it a try. Because of my long term experience teaching pastels since the early 1980's, I felt I had a wealth of knowledge to share, but wasn't clear on where to start with Zoom because it was live, but not in person.  Since I was already experienced with recording demonstrations and making YouTube videos, I figured Zoom could work for me. Becoming comfortable up close to a camera or laptop was my first step, understanding how to use Zoom was next.

The basic concept is each student receives an email from the instructor with a Zoom Link to click on the time of the scheduled class. Having a good internet connection is important. The instructor opens the link prior to the time and accepts each student into the class as they open the link and arrive. Everyone being patient is a big part of Zoom.  

As the instructor, I found it very important to be completely prepared with all art supplies handy, and my easel set with the demo board placed in the visual camera position. Adjustments were made as students arrived. I also included in each class email my lesson plan with clear requests and expectations of my students. My morning class was from 9am to 12 noon. I chose to have students work independently the first hour and then meet with Zoom the last 2 hours. This session included a meet and greet with student questions and a follow up to the prior class. The last hour was dedicated to a clear demonstration connected to the lesson plan. I also have continued after class following up with online tips and suggestions for their art. Many of these students are now registering for the next 3-week session due to run, May 13-27. 

I found that after weeks of my isolation, interacting with my students again was wonderful!  Each student  expressed their happiness in being able to continue learning during Covid-19 home bound. Using email as a follow up to class, enhanced the learning in a private personal email for each student. It was a bit more work for the teacher, but worth it!

My personal teaching challenge was to make sure each student got to ask questions and that my answers connected to all the students needs.  I found they were starved for human contact and artistic stimulation.
I loved to making them laugh and having the sessions connect to their personal learning situations. I was working with beginners, intermediate, and advanced students. Keeping them all focused, attentive, and engaged was my goal.    

One thing I initially did prior to the first two classes was create a YouTube video describing my lesson and giving an assignment. I would love to share my video that was designed for the first class. Please let me know what you think or if you give the pastel experiment a try.

Susan Nicholas Gephart
Artist Spotlight
Jeanne McKinney's painting, “Sea View from Old Head Cliffs, County Cork”, was selected for the Pastel Society of America’s St. Patrick’s Day online Holiday Art Show.

The selected pastel work is emailed to 1700 Pastel Society of America subscribers and posted on the PSA Facebook page.

Also, the painting “Whitehead and Gull Cove, Monhegan Island, Maine” has been accepted into the 2020 Central Adirondack Art Show Online from the View in Old Forge, New York. The exhibition runs from April 25th through May 31, 2020.
Classes and Workshops

If you have signed up for this workshop, you will be notified by either the CPPS president or the workshop coordinators if any changes are going to be made to the scheduling due to the current CoVid-19 crisis.

Karen Margulis  (  will be coming to State College for a three day plein air workshop August 14, 15, 16, 2020. Our CPPS website has more details and a registration page.   $100 secures your place in the limited enrollment class. 

You can also access the registration form for the workshop by clicking here.
Meeting Dates
May 3, 2020
1:30 pm

Meeting Cancelled

August 9, 2020
1:30 pm

November 8, 2020
1:30 pm

Meetings will be held at
Best Western Plus
115 Premiere Dr, State College, PA 16801
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