Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: The Pastel Society - Annual Exhibition 2013

The 114th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society opened to the public on Tuesday and continues until 22 June at the Mall Galleries.  There's lots of good pastel artwork on display,
however, if you're unable to attend, there's also a virtual exhibition of all the artwork online.

Catalogue Cover of The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2013
(artwork by John Tookey PS)
This year the exhibition is being sponsored by Caran d'Ache (Pastel Pencils and Pastel Cubes) and Carole Hübscher, President of Caran d'Ache, attended the Private View on Monday night.  The exhibition was opened by Philip Mould who gave one of the best "opening an exhibition" speeches I've heard in a long time!

The Pastel Society - Private View at the Mall Galleries
First some impressions of the exhibition and then the prizewinners.  Click the links in artists' names to see more work on their websites or at their galleries.
  • there's a lot of monochrome charcoal and pencil work in this year's exhibition - and for some reason an awful lot of the work is to do with trees!
View of the monochrome wall in the North Gallery
Enormously complex drawings of trees
alongside the pared down artwork of Pastel Society member Angela A'Court
  • there are some simply stunning groups of pastel artwork by artists such as:
    • Keith Roper - his abstracted work normally features landscapes of big skies and flat land and townscapes of Lincolnshire, The Solent and the Fens
    • Sheila Goodman - whose work gave me the urge to buy it all!
Pastels by Keith Roper (with some reflections!)
Pastels by Sheila Goodman
  • I was a little surprised to see a work in oil pastel in the exhibition - mainly because I don't recall seeing one before - or at least not one labelled as such!  There again having checked the Call for Entries Page on the Mall Galleries website it is clear that acceptable  media for the competition is "Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conté, sanguine, or any dry media."


A couple of things struck me about the prizes this year.

  • First, I was very impressed with the way in which the sponsorship of The Pastel Society has been increased.  There are a number of new awards which involve lots of pastels being awarded as prizes!
  • Second two of the artists who won prizes were international entries. Astrid Volquardsen travelled from Hamburg to attend the exhibition and Halla Shafey flew in from Egypt.  It's very apparent that the international entry is not only increasing but is successful in terms of selection and winning prizes.

Winner of the Artist Magazine Award
Group of works (in cream frames) by Norma Stephenson
Artist Magazine Award: Group of works by Norma Stephenson PS

NEW Arts Club Charitable Trust Award
Self portrait by Lucas Reynes-Matter

Buzzacott Award
Brancaster, Towards Scolt Head by Rebecca Lloyd

Caran d’Ache AwardSpring Classics by Roger Dellar PS

Winner of the Caran d'Ache Award
Spring Classics by Roger Dellar PS

Conté à Paris AwardRed Monocle by Melodie Cook

Daler-Rowney Award
Autumn surf by Astrid Volquardsen (Here's Astrid's blog post about her visit to the exhibition and winning the award - Daler-Rowney Award at the Pastel Society UK Exhibition.  She also sold her painting later in the evening.
Winner of the Daler Rowney prize - Autumn surf by Astrid Volquardsen
Here's Astrid opening her very large box of goodies from Daler Rowney!

NEW Derwent Award: Under the Radar by Libby January PS  Her suite a works created a very coherent corner within the exhibition.  I'm not usually a fan of abstract art but I liked her group of artworks.

Winner of the Derwent Award
Under the Radar by Libby January PS
NEW Faber Castell Award - Borton E. Moore by Ken Paine PS

Frank Herring & Sons Award - Wells Harbour by John Tookey PS  One of John Tookey's works  (top in the photo below) was the cover of this year's catalogue while the bottom picture work won this award.  Both sold during the PV.

Winner of the Frank Herring & Sons Award
Wells Harbour by John Tookey PS
Henri Roché Pastels Award - Nocturne by Robin Warnes PS  I have great respect for art media which has been around for a very long time - and since Henri Roché Pastels were founded in 1720 I was keen to take a peek at Robin's prize and he was kind enough to let me have a look. The prize was two sets of the handmade pastels originally used by famous artists working in Paris including Degas, Whistler and Sisley.  I salivated, took lots of pics and then had a lovely chat with Robin about dark pastels.

Two sets of petits Roché Pastels

John Longley Award - Green and red flags by Paulene Tunnicliffe

NEW Pastel Society Young Artist Award (Second Prize) and Purcell Papers Award: Self by Christopher Grey.  It's always good to see good new artists entering work and winning prizes.  Christopher enjoys drawing in charcoal and painting people and is currently studying at the Lavender Hill Studios.  Apologies to Christopher as my photo below is not the best of the drawing as yet again there were lots of reflections to cope with - and I can't see the screen on my camera at the moment!  It's just blurred shapes!  However I think we'll be seeing more of his work in future.  His work is excellent and I encouraged him to think about entering drawings into the RSPP exhibition and to consider timing re an entry for the BP

Winner of Purcell Paper Award
and Second Prize, Pastel Society Young Artist Award
Self by Christopher Grey
Winner of the Schminke Award
Dusk, Cityscape (£700) by Dave West
Schmincke Award - Dusk, Cityscape by Dave West This was a very striking work - and I see from his website that Dave West likes creating pastel paintings of the urban landscape at night.

NEW Pastel Society Young Artist Award (First Prize) - Indian crested porcupine by Lara Scouller  A very nice fluid drawing - which you can see on the Home Page of her website.

Pastel Society - Non Member Catalogue Award Both works (below) were featured in the catalogue which normally only features work by members.
  • First Prize - Girl from the south of Egypt by Halla Shafey  This is a very striking work.
Winner of the Unison Award
Arrangement in Blue and White
Liz Balkwill
Unison Award - Arrangement in blue and white by Liz Balkwill AFAS.  This was an exercise in realism with a nod in the direction of the Dutch School of still life.  Unfortunately, due to not being able to see the image on my camera, my top is doing a comprehensive job of spoiling the lovely dark background.  I have to confess my jaw dropped when I saw Liz was coming away from her prize presentation with two huge boxes of Unison Pastels!  Very much a prize worth winning!

Pastel Society Workshops 2013

The Pastel Society is, as always running pastel workshops during the Exhibition - details on the website - see below for the relevant link.

Finally - the bookshop area of the Mall Galleries has a Caran d'Ache display stand for the duration of the exhibition - with supplies available at reduced prizes.   Those who like pastel pencils would do well to take a look given the very competitive pricing.  I spotted the price asked for coloured pencils I use regularly and left the building with an awful lot of pencils! See Luminance 6901 Coloured Pencils - comparative prices for open stock

More information about the Pastel Society

Reviews of past exhibitions by The Pastel Society

More information about Pastels

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