August 2017
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Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society

President - Virginia Belser,  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

Congratulations to those members who were juried into the CPPS show in Lock Haven..  For those interested in attaining Signature Membership in the Society, here are the steps:
  1. 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)
The slideshow theme on the website for October is "Autumn".  If you have any paintings depicting autumn, please send them to Anna and indicate "slideshow" in the subject line.  Jpegs need to be at least 600-800 pixels in height.  

Reminder:  If you have ever checked out anything from the CPPS lending library, would you please email Susan Nicholas Gephart and give her the title?  She is trying to do an accurate inventory of our holdings.  Also, you may return any materials at the August 13th meeting.

Check your name on the Member Page of our website.   If your name is in black, it means that you haven't sent in pictures of your work.  Please send in jpegs of your paintings to Anna so she  can update this page.  If your name is in blue, it means you have sent in pictures along with your short bio or artist statement.  (However, if you would like Anna to change your current pictures, just send her an email with the new ones.)

News deadline is the last Saturday of the month.  

The Pastel Society USPS Mailing Address is always at the very very bottom of every newsletter.

Current News

1. There is still time to take part in the August Abstract Challenge.  Email jfosterfineart@ right away if you are interested as it begins on August 1st.

2. Anne Kenyon will give a talk and demonstrate the use of hand pulled prints as a substrate for pastels at the August 13 CPPS meeting.  Anne has been using drypoint/ monoprints, monotypes and collagraphs as a basis for small pastel paintings.  Drypoint involves using a stylus to cut lines in a plexiglass plate which is then inked and printed with a press.  Monotypes, a one of a kind image, involve manipulating an inked plate to create an image; they can be printed by press or by hand.   Dark field monoprints are worked from dark to light and light field monoprints are created by adding ink to a blank plate. Anne will demonstrate a dark field monotype, pulled without the use of a press.

 Edgar Degas created many monotypes and often added pastel to his ghost prints (the second pull of a monotype).  He used the monotype process to explore images in a spontaneous way.  A recent book on his process, Degas: a Strange New Beauty was published by MOMA in conjunction with a recent exhibition of the same name.  A new book by Dawn Emerson, Pastel Innovations, gives detailed instructions for a variety of printing techniques that can be used in conjunction with pastel and might be especially interesting to those interested in abstraction.


by Stacy Mayou
Abstract Origins

I continue to stand at my easel and create the same type of landscapes I have been creating.  I don’t seem to be improving or evolving.  So I set out to read what other artists do to create fresh works of art; hoping for inspiration, guidance and support to stay the course as an artist.

What I found was abstract art.

Karen Margulis talks often about the importance of doing a value study before you paint in “A Tip for More Painterly Paintings”.  Mary Bentz Wilkerson talks about simplifying value and shape in her article, “Five Common Composition and Design Problems”.  Liz Haywood-Sullivan talks in-depth about value and composition in her You Tube  video, “Preview these Composition Tips for Successful Paintings”.  Plein Air painters talk about simplifying shape and finding the correct values of the landscape before them.  I could go on and on, but a simple online search will lead you to all this great information and more.

After hours of reading articles and watching videos, I understand that in order to improve, artists need to learn to abstract.  Artists need to separate subject from color and emotion and separate shape from detail.  They need to simplify the subject into its basic elements.  Artists need to plan their paintings from the initial view of the subject to the final selection of the pastel palette.  Although much of what the artist does is instinct, planning thorough value studies and simplifying shapes helps train the eyes and brain to see the abstract.  The goal is to see the subject abstractly before we even begin to take reference photos.

Not being an abstract artist, I had been taught in art school that you need to have intimate knowledge of your subject before you can truly begin to abstract it.  This information was a revelation to me.  It was as though the fog had lifted along with  a small shift of direction, and a sense that I could be on course for creating successful paintings.

I looked up the definition of abstract just to make sure I really understood the concept. All of the definitions spoke to the idea of separating and extracting basic information, especially when used as a verb…..'to consider separately or to extract or remove something'.                                                                                        
As a practice, if we abstract the values and the shapes from the subject we plan to paint before we begin, then we start to see the world differently.  We begin to see the world abstractly and can move from separating and extracting to conceptualizing and re-conceptualizing.  It is really very magnificent!  I am very excited by this revelation and excited to see if it can help me through the painting plateau I have reached.

Do any of you abstract before you paint?  Do you do value and composition studies?  Do you simplify shapes and colors?  Does the planning and pre-work help your paintings be more successful?  I would love to hear if my revelation is “old news” to everybody except me .  I also question why I didn’t learn this is art school.
Send me your thoughts.  Please email me:

Artist Spotlight

Marianne Fyda has had her painting, Amarylis with Juan Gris, juried into the Pastel Society of America annual Enduring Brilliance show in New York City.

CPPS Artists
Jeanne McKinney, "Long Lane Vista" --winner of the CPPS Best Pastel Award, Images 2017

Marianne Fyda, "Amarylis with Juan Gris"

Susan McCartney , "Why Do You Ask?"

Bill Sweeney, "Looking Up the Down Staircase"

SNicholas Pastel Set by Jack Richeson & Co. Available in October

Susan Nicholas Gephart has been working as a product demonstrator for Jack Richeson & Co., Inc, since 2007. This decade long relationship has led to Susan's invitation to select her own SNicholas Signature 80 Box Set of Richeson's new handrolled pastels. The new line should be available by October 12-15 at Susan's Artist Retreat at Hameau Farm. To find out more:
Richeson New set of 500 handmade pastels.          Anna Crane making a color chart.

Thoughts from the Studio

by Kim Gates Flick
We conclude our introduction of The Principles of Organization with the consideration of Dominance, Movement and Economy. *Please see archived newsletters for previous topics.

The Principles of Organization:
These are the principles that guide the employment of the elements in achieving unity within the visual arts:
  1. Harmony
  2. Variety
  3. Balance
  4. Proportion
  5. Dominance
  6. Movement
  7. Economy
Last month, we ended with the idea of Proportion being so innate with our sense of seeing that it is worthy of separate investigation in regard to each of the other principles.  Let’s hold that line of thinking in consideration of Dominance and the remaining principles. 

Dominance is defined as the importance assigned to certain elements over others within the same composition.  Some features are emphasized and others are subordinate. 

So, what happens when proportions are distorted, exaggerated 
or emphasized?  Our visual sensory instinctively pick up on the variance in proportion before our thought process kicks in to analyze what we are seeing.  It is kind of like first impressions – a sensory reading in context of what we see with what we know. 

Consider the sensory reading concept in regard to this painting by Jerome Paul Witkin entitled, Jeff Davies, from 1980.  This portrait is painted with the emphasis on the physical stature of the figure – the enhanced proportions are given dominance in the ordering of the composition.  The central placement of the figure within the picture plane – fills the entire frame with a full-frontal pose in an immediate confrontation with the viewer.  A dominating figurative composition. One cannot avoid seeing him, nothing else is given attention around him, except a mere slice of forefront.  It is as if he just stood up from the table. If Dominance is the star principle in this painting, then Movement deserves the award for best supporting principle, for its role in this successful composition.  

Movement is defined by eye travel – or as the visual pathway created in a work of art for the eye to travel as directed by the composition.  Let’s look again at Witkin’s painting of Davies:

The central placement and treatment of the white torso gathers the primary attention and then leads the eye out in a circular fashion taking in the rest of the figure, heightening the presence of his dominating stature.  This is not an easy feat. Viewers have an instinctive immediate response to “find the face” within a figure painting and especially a portrait painting.  Here, the artist utilizes the power of Movement within the composition, creating a visual pathway so that the first thing that gets our attention is the round fullness of the white torso and then spirals out to the arms the form a visual “parentheses” around the protruding belly and then finally continuing in a form of visual concentric circles out to the face and the fore-ground.   The success of Movement within an artwork is often achieved by creating a clear – visual pathway for the viewer.  One that is free of distractions or places of visual tension – where eye travel may get “hung-up.”  This is an area often overlooked by many artists, but well-known to the masters.  An area where the principle of Economy can truly be a secret weapon in our development of artistic arsenal.

Economy is defined as distilling the image to the basic essentials for clarity of presentation.

The creation of powerful compositions is about choices, and Economy can serve as a powerful helper in deciding what to include and what not to include as well as to how it gets included or presented.  It can be thought of as a system of hierarchy, as in who (or what) is the boss (the focal point).  In that way, it is a principle that should be ever present.  An artist should always keep the central focal point or content or concept of importance clearly in their minds eye while making all other choices.  Economy should be present at the beginning when looking at your subject.  In-process; that is all along the way as you make the artistic choices that will culminate into the finished work.  It should be present and considered upon completion, as Economy is an extremely important tool in objectively critiquing your own work. Thinking back over the choices made and seeing the visual result of those choices are a powerful learning tool in the development of skill set. 

Let’s have a last look at our example:  It is the principle of Economy that allows everything to fall into place for the successful presentation of this painting.  If we think of Dominance as the star then all artistic decisions should be made in regard to that premise.  For example, the use of the white round central shape – against the soft green, down filled jacket in its soft rendering and choice of subdued color, successfully compliments the focal point.  In contrast, what if the artist used a bright orange for the coat – and other bright colors for surrounding shapes, or his hat?  Then we would have what I referred to earlier as a visual “hang-up.”  Where should we look? Our quiet focal point that we planned to sneak up on the audience is suddenly visually overwhelmed by the loud attention - grabbing colors, more powerful than that of the white T-shirt.  The artist used economy in regard to the Essential Elements* of color, shape, line, value and texture to heighten and support his central focus – by not distracting from it.  Showing restraint, and masterful editing by choosing to let that white quietly emerge as the central focus taking “center-stage” while everything else (all other elements in subordination) diffuses out from it.  No other element oversteps the authority of the central focus, this is what is meant by Economy as hierarchy.  It can also be helpful to think of in terms of priority, like spending money. As artists, we should know where and what our attention and energy is being spent on.  Don’t waste time, artistic energy and materials, in the portrayal of anything less than what you want; or in the creation of visual distractions (hang-ups) that lead viewers away from the central focus of the artwork.  Most of the visual problems of composition could be solved with an understanding of Economy as they are often the result of unnecessary complexity (drama-fests) within an artwork.  Economy is considered to be both practical (as described in this introduction) and highly abstract (a topic for future discussions).  However, it should be noted, that in developing skill in economizing, one risks falling into the trap of monotony, (not presenting “enough” by way of visual interest within the artwork).  After all, the number one enemy of design is boredom!  When we hone our skills of Economy, we face our greatest enemy.  Finding the balance between enough and not enough is where organic unity* lives.  Distilling the essence of where the subject to where the visual interest lies and creating that visual path to the focal point is extremely critical.  Knowing when to pull back and not literally representing every little thing, is also imperative.  Sometimes greater clarity can be achieved by eliminating elaborate details and including only significant essentials.  It is important for us to remember:  Economy, along with the rest of The Principles of Organization, are not a set of rules – but are nuggets of consideration, to be polished over time, in the development of personal practice to reveal their shine within the many-facets that make up an artist’s unique style and expression and become evident in the presentation of the artwork.    

The Jeff Davies, painting is part of the collection at The Palmer Museum of Art.  I highly recommend that you go stand in front of it – to personally experience an example of Dominance and The Principles of Organization at work in his successful painting with a powerful presence.  Truly, it is a masterful display in its visual arrangement of the Principles of Organization.  


by Betty Gobeille
iHola! Greetings from New Mexico!

Now that IAPS is over until 2019, I thought I would tell you a little about my particular experiences and why I chose to attend 5 Demonstrations instead of the Workshops. Basically, Demo's are a lot cheaper and shorter, time-wise. Because my husband was going to be away that week, I had to be able to run home and let the dog out mid-day, each day. The cost was important as well. If you're contemplating attending IAPS anytime in the future, Demo's help you experience various artists' techniques and personalities without plunking down lots of $$ and energy. Don't get me wrong! Workshops are wonderful!!! But they can be intense and tiring! Before signing up for a workshop, be sure to check out all the websites of the artists. It will help you decide what direction you want to take. 
This year, I was curious about 4 artists and also wanted to connect with an old friend.

The first artist demo' I chose was Cuong Nguyen, "The Fine-Tuned Portrait". I have admired his portraits and wanted to know more about his technique. He had a demo' online but his DVD was beyond my budget. He used a live model, and wow'd us with his amazing technique of sketching, then using pastel pencils. And this was only for the face. He uses hard and soft pastels for hair, clothing and background. He emphasized using a very light touch on the face. He then layers colors and varies the direction of his strokes - "They're all over the place!" He worked only on the face. Three hours went by very quickly! No time for the hair!

The second demo' was with Margaret Evans, "Pictures at an Exhibition", a 2-hr. demo'. This Demo' also used a live model posing in the IAPS PastelWorld Exhibition in the hotel. Margaret demo'd how to capture a scene quickly - a fleeting stance, lighting, color - all within 15 min or less. "Get the composition, simplify, choose light, medium and dark areas/shapes and colors. Sketch, block-in, and build up. Don't get carried away with one area! Do the whole thing!" "If a figure is to be included, make a mark, build up around, and work on the figure later." Get the gesture! It was fast and fun!


Christine Ivers, "NightScapes", was a 3 hour demo'. I love night scenes and hers are amazing. Chris makes her own surfaces and often adds grit in a random pattern. She then uses a simple grid on her board. She takes lots of photos, then prints out whichever one she plans to use in black and white. Then she adds the same grid to the photo so that her transfer to the board is correct. This allows her to do some very complicated city scenes. She also covered how to get those 'glowing' lights and reflections. Her final comments were, "Name your paintings!" and "Don't sign your paintings like you sign your checks!"


The fourth demo' was Casey Klahn's "See Differently - Landscapes". Casey is an abstract artist with "an intuitive, colorist process". He's a character! His favorite artist is Henri Matisse. And he said, "Something is 'done' when there's only one thing to fix." More Klahn quotes - "I don't care if a painting is 'done'!" "Space is a place on a piece of paper made for an artist to use/change." "Color has power! But the color brown lacks power." He likes using the jumbo Sennelier black & white pastels. Not everyone cares for Casey, but he does generate a lot of energy! And his key objectives are, "Evoke, Innovate, and Surprise!!!" He's an interesting dude!


The fifth and last demo' was with Colette Odya Smith's "North Light". "Art is how we try to relate to reality." She loves working with nature, water and rocks in particular. She uses lots of photos and small sketches, collecting them as she hikes and travels. Her favorite format is the square. The surface she uses the most is a 4-ply solid cotton rag museum board with the ground either under or over an underpainting. She says to "Choose what you love; get emotionally involved; fall in love with your painting; and then share it with others!" 


There you have it! 5 Demo's!  I hope you will consider attending IAPS in the future. There's never enough time to experience even a quarter of what's available there!!!   Also, I hope that you're curious about a few of these artists now.


p.s. I'm throwing in a couple of photos of the 'Paint Around' - a true crowd pleaser!  (Stan Sperlak, Desmond O'Hagan, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Margaret Evans, Tony Allain)

Betty Essex Gobeille
Corrales, New Mexico
"Not Really New, Not Really Mexico"

CPPS Show Information

Juried Show
(Entries have closed)

Location - Station Gallery in Lock Haven, 2 East Bald Eagle Street, Lock Haven PA - August 11-September 3

Delivery:  August 5th from 3:00-5:00pm and August 6th from 1:30-3:30pm.   Bring selected work to Station Gallery, 2 East Bald Eagle Street, Lock Haven PA 17745  

"Painting"pooling available for painting delivery. Contact Susan Nicholas Gephart to make arrangements . Email:  814-360-2116  Drop work off early at Susan's house, Thursday, August 3 or Friday, August 4, 10am to 1:00pm, or by calling for time arrangement. Home address: 351 E. Bishop St., Bellefonte, PA 16823

Dates of Show: August 11th-September 3rd

Reception: August 11th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Station Gallery
Please plan to attend and share the invitation to friends, family, and your collectors. An E~invite will be sent soon.

Pick-up: Sunday September 3, 1 to 4pm

Jurors: Carol Ann Simon Cillo and Steve Getz

Members' Show Submission Form

Location: State College Framing & Gallery, Hills Plaza, 160 Rolling Ridge Dr, St College, PA 16801

Number of Paintings: 1 to 3 (one being larger 16x20)

Delivery Dates: Monday, September 25th to Friday, Sept 29th.  Times: store  hours: 10am- 5pm
Phone: 814-234-7336

Show dates:   October

Reception:  Sunday, October 8th, 2017  from 1 pm to 4 pm  
​(​Note: Saturday ​is a ​home football game)  

Pick-Up: October 28th  store hours 10am - 5pm

Pastel Workshops

 2 One Day  Workshops

Saturday, August 5, 2017 10am – 2pm ~PASTELS only: 

Saturday, August 12, 2017, 10am – 2pm ~PASTELS only

Location:  Station Gallery, Lock Haven, PA (sponsored by Clinton County Arts Council)
Price: $35.00 CCAC member or $50.00 non-member 
Class Size: 10
Class description: In this short 4-hour class, learn the basics of soft pastels, and how to take your photos or sketches and use them as inspiration for a pastel painting. Some supplies will be available to use and a supply list will be provided. You are encouraged to contact the instructor and discuss your personal plan and what materials will be needed before the class.
Contact Susan Nicholas Gephart to register or ask questions. 

CPPS 2018 Workshop

 Virginia Belser and Roxanne Naydan have selected the 2018 visitng artist and will make the announcement at the August meeting.

Meeting Dates

August 13
Best Western Plus
Premiere Drive
State College, PA

November 12
Altoona, PA

Art Shows to Enter

Pastel Society of New Hampshire - deadline September 3 - information

Pastels Chicago 2017 - deadline September 4 - information

Artist's Magazine All Media Competition - deadline October 16 - information
 Check out.the OnllineJuriedShows website for many possibilities
A few are listed below: 
Deadline August 6th  = Pastel Society of the Southwest
Deadline August 9th = Pastel Society of North Carolina
Deadline September 3rd = Arkansas Pastel Society


Quotes of the Month

"Space is a place on a piece of paper made for an artist to use or change."

Casey Klahn, Pastel Artist

"If we don't feel intensely about a subject,
perhaps we should leave it to someone else to paint."

Margot Schulzke, Pastel Artist
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