IAPS begins with an “I” for Inspiration

It’s the last day of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) show in Albuquerque, and outside the skies are sunny and dotted with a half-dozen hot air balloons. Inside it’s the energy of some 600 pastel devotees that’s running sky high. Attendees have been treated to presentations and demonstrations by such pastel luminaries as Duane Wakeham, Alan Flattmann, Jimmy Wright, Richard McKinley, Maggie Price and many others. And speaking of Maggie Price, we learned at the Saturday evening banquet, that she will be taking on the presidency of IAPS this summer as Urania Christy Tarbet, the founder and president of the organization, will be stepping down after 15 years. The excitement of this year’s show is the perfect testament to Urania’s accomplishment!

Of course much of the show’s excitement surrounds the trade show, where the manufacturers of pastel materials sell their wares and showcase new products, which this year includes new semi-hard and medium-soft Richeson pastels (now available open stock), new “confetti” pastels from Terry Ludwig, new Box Top sets from Great American, a new pastel box manufacturer, a brand-new fixative (see Richard McKinley’s blog from last week)  and lots more. We’ll give you the whole scoop in the September issue of The Pastel Journal.

For artists who sometimes feel like the lone pastelist in their local art community, spending a few days with wall-to-wall pastleists is invigorating. If you couldn’t make this year’s convention, be sure to mark your calendars for the first week of June 2011. IAPS will be back in Albuquerque. I know I can’t wait to return for another shot in the arm of inspiration!

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