Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Pastel Society - 115th Annual Exhibition

I got to see The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries briefly this week. It must be the first time I've not had this review up from the beginning - however it's still worth noting who won what, what the exhibition looked like and which pieces I liked! The artists are, of course around all year long even if their exhibition isn't and you can contact the Gallery if you're interested in making a purchase or commissioning an artwork

So this is going to a fairly visual post as I'm still slogging through layouts for my book - which happens to feature work by one of the prizewinners!  Of which more later.

Perspective on part of The Pastel Society Exhibition

The exhibition accepts work in Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conté, sanguine, or any dry media.

This year's exhibition looked very good hung on the walls. To my mind it looked a lot more contemporary than some of the annual exhibitions of some of the fellow FBA societies. Which is not me saying I liked all I saw which was trying to be more contemporary - but I liked a lot of the exhibition.

(You can find links to previous annual exhibitions of The Pastel Society at the end of this blog post).

Click the links in the artists' names to see more of their art on their websites or Facebook Page. You can tell the relative size of work by comparing the size of the Blue Stickers which signify a winner - which are all the same size.


You can also review The Pastel Society Catalogue on ISSUU (it will open to full size if you right click the link in the title and open in a new tab). This means you can also see all the artists selected for the exhibition and details of the works listed including prices.



The prizewinners


You may well have seen the prizewinners on Facebook. Full marks to The Pastel Society for getting their prizewinners up at the beginning of the exhibition and doing some decent marketing of the exhibition on Facebook and via Issuu - I'm sure it will have resulted in an increased awareness that the exhibition was taking place.

You can see them below in alphabetical order of prize. Where I've taken a shot of a group of works by the artist which includes the prizewinner I'll show the shot of the group so you can see the themes and overall impact of the artists' work.

Pastel Society Award for non-Members

1st Prize: The Colours of Venice (pastel on sanded paper 8" x 10") by Tony Allain PSA (47cm x 50cm) £600
It's really nice to see a signature member of the Pastel Society of America with an entry in the exhibition!  I hope we can look forward to more such entries in future years! Tony is also a Master Pastelist of the Pastel Artists of New Zealand. You can also follow him on his blog.

Winner of the Pastel Society Catalogue award for Non-Members

Pastel Society Young Artist Award

BMW Combined Engine Cut Away Diptych by Denise Cutts (Pencil) £2,000
Such a pity it wasn't hung as a dyptich. I can't find a website but did find a Facebook Page - but not a lot of art on it.

Winner of the Pastel Society Young Artist Award

Artists & Illustrators award


Winter Morning, Ronda (Pastel) £550 by Sheila Goodman PS SWA
I always look out for Sheila Goodman's work as she invariably produces something that I like. Looks like Artists & Illustrators agree this year.

I've done this view the other way round
so found it particular fascinating to see what Sheila made of it.
Great use of darks and a suggestion of low cloud

Caran d'Ache Award Winner 

Warm Rocks and Cool Water at Haytor Quarry, Dartmoor (50 x 50cm) £1,450 - Sarah Bee PS.
I always look out for Sarah's work at every Pastel Society Exhibition - she uses all the painting and drawing aspects of pastels so well. She was elected to the Pastel Society in 2005 and has been a consistent prizewinner. I also very much like that she frames her pastels as paintings not drawings.
In July, she's exhibiting at Yvonne Arnaud Art 2014, presented by Guildford Arts, The Mill Studio, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3UX. You can find out about her workshops on her website.

Warm Rocks and Cool Water at Haytor Quarry, Dartmoor 
The winning work by Sarah Bee is bottom left - and it also sold

Conte a Paris Award

Three trees  (Pastel) by Patricia Cain PS NEAC £6,500
One of the truly stunning walls in the exhibition comprised three works by Patricia Cain - former winner of the Threadneedle Prize. I'm used to seeing lots of drawings of construction sites by Patricia - and this work portraying hedges and trees is a new departure. As ever they work on two levels both as structures and when you look ore closely in terms of the variety in use of colours and markmaking - see below. These seem to stem from an RSA Residency at the Barns-Graham TrustI see Patricia has a brand new website.  Click on images to see them open up to more images.

Three Trees by Patricia Cain, Winner of the Conte a Paris Award,  is on the right
Part of Three Trees by Patricia Cain - enlarged to show the nature of the mark-making and use of colours

Daler Rowney Award

The Green Room (Soft Pastel) by Angela A'Court PS £3,000
She worked for many years as an Interior Designer and then became a full time artist a few years back. In 2003 she moved to New York where she now has her studio. She exhibits with the Highgate Gallery in the UK

The Green Room is the middle painting and Daler Rowney prizewinner

Derwent Award Winner

Fields of Pink (Pastel) by Jeanette Hayes VPPS (67 x 117cm £1,700)
Jeanette's work is always full of strong colour patterns producing contrasts with more muted tones and lots and lots of interesting mark-making. She is also the Vice President and Publicity Secretary - so I'm guessing is in part responsible for some of the improvements in the way the exhibition is publicised.

The top artwork is the Winner of the Derwent Awardand the two below sold!

Faber Castell Award

Big Baby by Michele Illing (£1,500)
This work was unusual for two reasons - first, the artist has terrific control over an analogous colour palette revolving around a creamy white and one doesn't usually dogs of

Winner of the Faber Castell AwardNot the usual pose for dogs in art exhibitions - but this one won a prize for Michele Illing

Frank Herring Award and Henri Roche Award

Garden (top right below) by Bess Avery (£800) won the Henry Roche Award and
Garden 1 (top left below) by Bess Avery (£800) won the Frank Herring Award
Her works have a very contemporary and decorative look. It's a great pity that Bess doesn't seem to have a website - all I could find were links to a very unpublic Facebook account and her member page on the Pastel Society website.  However Bess was the featured artist on the cover of the catalogue this year and also wrote some words about the processes she uses which you can read in the online catalogue (see link near top of page)

Bess Avery won TWO awards!

John Longley Award

Across the Lagoon (pastel) by Richard Turner (candidate for membership)
I very much liked this piece and if his other works are also good I should think he stands a very good chance of becoming a member of The Pastel Society.

This award winner is also a candidate for membership of the Pastel Society

PanPastel Award

Not in my Backyard (Pastel) by Annie Phelps £700  (this was selected from the open entry).
I love this one - an unusual subject, such a cheeky pose and a funny title!

Winner of the Pan Pastels Award

Purcell Papers Award

Ceremonial entrance, Gwalior Fort (Pastel) by Felicity House £850
I'm a huge fan of pastels by Felicity House which is why her work features in my book. What's not to like - the design, draughtsmanship, colour palettes and mark-making are always impeccable.  The work underneath is called Goats at Jahangiri Mahal, Orcha.

Winner of the Purcell Papers award

Schminke Award

The Lavender Garden by Claire Spencer PS (which for some reason I didn't photograph. I seem to recall trying but it was very awkward as it was hung next to the stairs).

The Arts Club Award

After the rain (Graphite, charcoal and pastel) by Jean Baldwin (£525)


Winner of The Arts Club Charitable Trust Award

Unison Colour Award

This way (Pastel) by Janette Summerfield RBSA SWA (£430 Sold)
Janette has a very bold and graphic way of using pastels which makes for a striking painting.

Two works by Janette Summerfield, Winner of the Unison Colour Award


Works I liked

Here's a small selection from the works I liked

It was good to see another pastel artwork by Sophie Ploeg, last year's BP Travel Award winner whose exhibition 'The Lace Trail' opens at the National Portrait Gallery next week.  This is Sophie's blog and this is her Facebook Page

Lace Lines (Pastel) by Sophie Ploeg
(it sold on the opening night for £1,650)
I very much liked this work by Patrick Cullen NEAC who's another of those artists where it always seems to me impossible to tell the difference between his pastels and his oils.

Scarecrow (Allotments near Alexandra Palace) by Patrick Cullen NEAC

So I guess the question is going to be which of the art society exhibitions coming up will have:
  • their complete catalogue on ISSUU?
  • an article in DecoArt Magazine (this was the one for the Pastel Society)?
  • prizewinners being publicised on the day of the exhibition opening?
  • comprehensive publicity on Facebook?
That's very much better than most art societies I see - and is definitely something a lot more should think about emulating.


Links to reviews of previous Annual Exhibitions of The Pastel Society

2013 - Review: The Pastel Society - Annual Exhibition 2013
2012 - Review: "Love Pastels" - The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2012
2011 - Review: The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition - Colour 2011 (updated)
2010 - The Pastel Society - Annual Exhibition 2010
2009 - Exhibition review: The Pastel Society's 110th Annual Exhibition
2008 - The Pastel Society UK - 109th Annual Exhibition

This is the link to The Pastel Society Facebook Page

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