Feb 28th Newslett

Hi, it's Willo. I hope you're enjoying your week.

Today I'll share a bit about the recent plein air workshop I attended. Then, I'll tell you about what it was like being a Juror of Selection for the International Association of Pastel Societies Juried Exhibition.

Plein air workshop

I had the opportunity to attend a plein air workshop with Dan Young in Gold Canyon, AZ (by Phoenix) and paint the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman area.

Dan is a wonderful instructor who showed us the importance of shadows and values - especially when all the vegetation looks the same.

He began the workshop in the classroom and then we drove to the location where we were only allowed to do thumbnail sketches and from those do a black and white value painting. After that, we could apply color (in the right value) to a painting of choice from our thumbnails.

Dan is encouraging, did great demos and kept us entertained with his stories of other great artists. The 4 days went very fast. I am sharing 2 images of a plein air painting I did after the workshop. First is the actual scene, followed by my painting.

As you can see, the subject matter doesn't match the scene exactly. One of the important ideas I came away with was the permission to "use other elements" to make the painting work, ie, if you need a tree in your scene and there isn't one, use a tree out of your scene area.

Yes, we can move mountains, trees, bushes and cactus and place them where needed. We have Dan's permission!


The process of being a Juror

I was asked to be one of three Jurors of Selection for the 32nd International Association of Pastel Societies Juried Exhibition 2018.

This show is from March 16 to April 30 at the American Art Company Gallery in Tacoma, WA, and will be an outstanding show of some of the best pastel artists. I look forward to attending the reception April 7-8.

As artists we work hard at our job (being an artist), submitting work to shows, earning points, ranks and kudos along with rejection letters. So reaching this level in my career where I was asked to be a juror was a note of recognition for all my efforts.

What we do as Jurors: 857 entries – 85 accepted.

I was on the panel of three Jurors, and we selected which entries to accept for the exhibition. We viewed these 857 images many times before starting the selection process.

We then had computer conference calls as a unit and discussed each piece until we had met the requirement of selecting 85 paintings. As a side note, each artist could only have one piece accepted even though they could send 1-5 images.

The Judge of Awards, Ned Mueller, will select the award winners from the 85 we pre-selected.

It was an honor to be asked to be a Juror, but then apprehension set in as I question my ability to select others’ work. We all have different visual and artistic viewpoints, and there were so many fantastic pieces and so many qualified artists.

I calibrate my monitors each month and when viewing the images for the selection process, I used my laptop and my Apple monitor to make sure I was viewing the images in the best possible situation.

A suggestion I have is before sending your image for show entry, send your image to someone who has a good monitor and ask them how it looks, ie, too dark, too light/washed out, or even pay to have a professional photographer shoot your images. Our job as artists is promoting our work in the best way possible.

For those that did not get in the show, please submit to other shows. There is a special place for your piece and just keep entering.

It took me 5 years to get a piece accepted into the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and it just made me work harder with each “not accepted” letter.

Upcoming Events:

I'm offering a class. "Choices when plein air painting."

Have you wanted to try your hand at plein air pastel painting? I will be working with artists to learn what to put in and what to leave out when faced with the challenge of painting what you see. Sometimes there is so much to put into (or leave out) of the painting.

Where and when: Roseburg, OR. June 8-10

Details: For more info or to sign up, contact Lora Block at 541-440-0567.

Thank you for allowing me to share my art with you.

- Willo