Maggie Price | A Pastel Artist Remembered

On April 4, 2013, the pastel community lost one of its most beloved champions, Maggie Price, to a short but courageous battle with brain cancer. Maggie began working with the medium in 1990 and her love for it blossomed eight years later into The Pastel Journal magazine, which she co-founded with fellow artist and friend, Janie Hutchinson. Maggie served as editor and art director, while her husband Bill Canright, an artist as well, handled the advertising department. In 2004, F+W Media, the parent company of The Artist Magazine and North Light Books, purchased the magazine from Maggie and Janie. She continued to be a frequent contributor to the magazine and authored a series of very successful books and DVDs for North Light Books. Her third book, titled Creative Freedom, was just released in March 2013.

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Good times at the Pastel Society of America reception. Pictured from left to right: Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Jimmy Wright, Maggie Price, Richard McKinley and Elizabeth Mowry.

Maggie was a Signature Member of the prestigious Pastel Society of America (PSA) and was its 2008 Friend of Pastel Honoree. She held Signature/Distinguished membership in the Pastel Society of New Mexico and the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico as well. The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) elected her to its board of directors in 2006 where she held Master Circle status and she served as the organization’s president starting in 2009. Maggie was a very popular instructor, teaching pastel workshops throughout Europe and the United States as well as serving as juror and judge for pastel societies across the country.

In an interview dated April 3, 2011, with Brian Gates for the Rio Rancho Observer, Maggie commented, “The great thing about being an artist is you can always find some new thing to see, or some different way to look at things, or something new to try. It doesn’t matter how many years you paint, there’s always more to do and learn.” To honor Maggie’s artistic legacy, IAPS has created a perpetual award in her name. Beginning with the upcoming IAPS Exhibition, which will be held in conjunction with their international convention in Albuquerque, N.M., this June, “The Maggie Price Award of Excellence” will be awarded to its first recipient. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can donate online at the IAPS website or send a check contribution (payable to IAPS with “Maggie Price Award” in the memo line) to Pastel Journal Editor Anne Hevener at:

F+W Media / Pastel Journal
Attn: Anne Hevener / Maggie Price Award
10151 Carver Road, Suite 200
Blue Ash, OH 45242

My personal and professional friendship with Maggie began when I was passing through the Albuquerque area in the fall of 2003 on a gallery trip. We had communicated concerning Pastel Journal business via email but had never met in person. At the end of a delightful afternoon visit, she enquired if I had ever considered writing and wondered if I had any ideas for an article. Upon my return home, I sent a list of concepts and she asked me to take any of them and develop an article for consideration. It was well received and led to an ongoing series of columns and a working friendship. I was also fortunate to have monitored one of her workshops and was extremely impressed not just with her professionalism but also with her compassion and dedication to the encouragement of others wishing to paint in pastel.

Her loss will be felt by the entire pastel community as it will by the many who enjoyed personal friendships with her. I will remember her every time I see a photo I keep on my dresser. It was taken at the PSA reception the year I was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It shows a group of us standing with wine glasses in hand waiting for the banquet to begin. Liz Haywood Sullivan, Jimmy Wright and Elizabeth Mowry are there and Maggie is standing next to me with a huge smile as she throws an air punch my way (I am sure I said something in my role as court jester).

So much of a painter’s life is spent in isolation with their work. Having a chance to share the artistic journey with friends like Maggie is very dear. Deepest condolences to her husband artist Bill Canright, her daughter Amy E. Vredevoogd, and family. There is a large hole in the heart of the pastel community. Through her efforts and vision, the pastel community has been truly blessed. Her smile will endure in our hearts forever.

 

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