Artist members of the Pastel Society UK breathed such a huge collective sigh of relief last week, it is a wonder it wasn’t heard onboth sides of the Atlantic. A national rail strike, the first in nearly 16 years, had been called to coincide with the society’s annual exhibition in London and could have had a devastating effect on attendance. Fortunately, it was called off at the last minute. The exhibition opened and continues at the Mall Galleries though April 17.
The total number of paintings on display this year is 278, a slight fall on earlier years, but in the view of Antony Williams, one of the selection jurors, the standard continues to rise. And this year’s show has proved to be a triumph for the Scots. Matt Draper, a young Edinburgh artist, won prizes for two moody seascapes, while Glasgow-based Patricia Cain was also among the winners. Draper went to art college in Cornwall, which is just about as far as you can get from Edinburgh and still be inthe UK. He fell in love with the Cornish coast and the quality of light there, and returns regularly for new inspiration.
Two artists who you may recall from their features in The Pastel Journal—Jeannette Hayes (December 2007) and Felicity House (October 2009)—were also among the prizewinners. Three internationally-known artists, Tom Phillips RA, Rose Hilton and Andrew Heminway, were honored with invitations to show their work at the exhibition. Hemingway (who first appeared in The Pastel Journal in 1999) has a new feature in the magazine’s upcoming June 2010 issue. His unusual technique, in which he builds up his paintings with thousands of small marks in soft pastel, then glazes over with harder sticks, fooled a number of viewers, who assumed he was using oils.
[pastel paintings pictured here] Greenhouse Tomatoes by Felicity House, Sublime by Matthew Draper and Broken Sky by Jeannette Hayes.
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