View Full Version : Jaw-Dropping Award Winners

09-09-2008, 10:45 AM
If you haven't already done so, you must see these PSA award winners at http://pastelsocietyofamerica.org/main/. Truly inspiring. Too bad I don't have enough years left to even begin to get this good. Lucky me I'll be in New York in time to see them on dispay. Which one is your favorite? I love them all, but was especially in awe of the girl in the water.


09-09-2008, 11:01 AM
Very inspiring!!

I like Light Made Visible a lot.

Judy Manuche
09-09-2008, 12:33 PM
Wow, "we're not worthy!"...I mean me of course! :eek:

09-09-2008, 01:49 PM
Helen, thanks for the link! it is very interesting to see what is awarded.

I like...

No 2, for wonderful light and a personal, emotional interpretation of a very mundane scene that makes it interesting to see: what is the artist seeing? Great with the third, distant hay-roll, I get a visceral feeling of distance.

No 6, for the wonderful glow of the forsythia. Obviously the artist was enraptured by the intense yellows against the darks, and just *had* to paint it, I can almost feel that emotion emanating from the pic. Unusual angle, for me, with the house a bit up. Lovely texture in the support, showing through. And the artist succeeded very well in depicting the wild and unorderly growth of the forsythias. I think this is my favo, in the sense that I'd like to hang it on my wall. I feel I can well understand the artist, and resonate with the emotions.

No 12, totally wonderful! It is not pretty, it is not finished, it is not contrived, and it has (gasp!) visible strokes! The expression is priceless! And *so* alive. This gets my first place! (Wouldn't want to have his 'happy countenance' on my wall, though...) :-D

And I give my 'honourary mentions' to...

No 5 has gorgeous chiaroscuro, and

No 11, the Light made Visible, has, naturally :-) gorgeous light, and luxurious colour.


09-09-2008, 02:12 PM
Charlie, you hit it spot on with #6!!!!
Bob Russin is a friend and fellow member of the Maryland Pastel Society, and as I am the "member news person" for our wepage and newsletter, I knew about his fantastic award some time ago. Bob is a very humble painter, and an all around nice guy, and a wonderful artist who's accomplishment is richly deserved to be recognized.

A great looking show, and I cannot wait to see it in person this Saturday!

09-09-2008, 04:01 PM
Oh if I could only be as good as they are, all the work for the wording etc, of the can in the first one.

I am so stunned by how wonderful and so much like photographs some of them are being a realist I can only aspire to become that good.


09-09-2008, 04:37 PM
These are very interesting, but I must say in all honesty that there are works posted regularly by WC pastellists that I like much better. Tight realism is obviously the way to go if you want to win awards. My personal favorite is #12.

I have come to appreciate artwork (not just pastels) that have a sense of light and atmosphere that makes me feel like I am there. I also like to see some communication of emotion - what is it about this scene that excited the artist. These are challenging goals, but there are some who can do it well. In this case, only #2, #3, #6 and the aforementioned #12 have what I would consider realistic light and atmosphere. Many of them do look much like photographs - a sign of great technical skill, but not a sign of great artistic expression or communication between artist and viewer, in my opinion.

I know it sounds like I am trashing the award winners, but this is not my intent at all! These are all talented professional artists of the highest caliber. But honestly, there is better work being done right here on WC.


09-09-2008, 05:13 PM
agree with Don, no disrespect but WC has works that are right up there if not better. The photo realism is cool but Ill never understand why to goto that extreme. no disrespect to these artsists intended, thier talent is quite aparent, Im just more of a fan of a notch or 2 back from photographic....

09-09-2008, 05:51 PM
Tressa, koool! Feel free to quote me and share with Bob Russin, if you think it'd amuse or interest him. Just add that I *like* the unusual placement of the house.

Don, Richard, agreed, the technical skill of these artists *is* high. And I guess more 'painterly' inclined artists and more 'realist' artists will relatively seldom (note, I didn't say 'never') have a meeting of minds, as preferences are quite different. And that is fine, it makes for greater variety. What surprises me is that the juried shows and competitions for pastellists seem to give 90% of their awards to realists. Wouldn't there be more of a 50-50 division? Or is it just coincidence -- I've happened to see the 5 shows that preferred one over the other?

09-09-2008, 06:41 PM
Great paintings. Lovely to see. All I would like to add is "different strokes for different folks" :)

09-09-2008, 07:01 PM
Don, I agree with your comments on light and atmosphere. Photo-realism shows a certain level of skill, undeniably, but I find paintings that focus more on light, impressions and atmosphere change for me through the changing light of day, amount of available light, etc. This makes the painting "live" more for me.

09-10-2008, 12:30 PM
I find it interesting that when paintings using other mediums are judged, the photo realistic ones are cast aside and often not even juried into major shows. This also applies when judged alongside other paintings. When it is a pastel only show the more photo realistic paintings due tend to fare very well. I do admire the skill required to these paintings.

Deborah Secor
09-10-2008, 01:41 PM
The only one that really interests me is Russin's forsythia painting.

I'm somewhat intrigued by the gold medal painting from a compositional standpoint.

I'm willing to bet the second place winner is a dynamite painting IRL, but can't make it in this teensy digital format. (I wish they'd listed the painting sizes!)

I think a medium has to mature into accepting and valuing work that isn't realism. It's as if early on it has to prove the facility of the medium to paint reality in order for people to trust that the painters didn't just goof and blow things messing around with a 'new' medium. Later on, when the medium has recognizably proven itself to be authentic, the art can take wing and play with the dynamics of the medium itself. I've watched that in watercolors. Realism is almost shunned now, where 50 years ago it was only beginning to show signs of being trusted to be what is, drips and all.

Now, the Dawson painting on the top announcement card is DYNAMITE! It's masters like Doug that will take the medium where it can really go...


09-10-2008, 02:04 PM
I liked the Sweet Ones and Light Made Visible if I were to be taking one home! Fantastic work indeed all of them!

09-10-2008, 02:06 PM
I would love a chance to see these in person! I agreee with the "realism" discussion. I'm in awe of the ability to paint so realistically, but prefer a more "painterly" approach. However, one reason I'd like to see them is that photographing and printing all take away the nuances, both color and strokes, of paintings. I'd like to see how they look up close and personal.

09-10-2008, 02:13 PM
1,2,6,12 are my fav. but i agree--altho that hyper realism is simply mind blowing in that it was done by human hands, it is nothing that couldn't have been done with a camera with a filter or lighting.

for a while i really thought the super real was IT--but the longer i paint, and the more i look at what draws me in from other's works, its that emotional part, like what feelings arise when looking at dawson's front cover art there. immediately i FEEL different. sometimes i feel better, happier, sad, or even edgy, but art that somehow moves me is the type i love.

wild colors, strong brushwork (or stroke work!), a comp. that makes you look twice--now THAT'S art!

Kathryn Wilson
09-10-2008, 03:48 PM
Wow, don't know how anyone could pick favs from this bunch ... but, I think you all are missing on #9 ... that sky reminds of of Thomas Hart Benton paintings ... it takes my breath away

09-10-2008, 04:39 PM
I also think Bob's painting is totally awsome! And I thought the same about Doug's. He is a master at pastel and they are not high realism by any means!!! I am not in one camp or the other,as to style, and having gone to the PSA show for several years, the full magnitude of range in the show is outstanding! I have seen some hyperrealism, but also some of the most beautiful experimental and impressionistic to non-objective in this show.

Kathryn Wilson
09-10-2008, 04:47 PM
This just shows the breadth that pastels can go to in any style of painting and that's what a good show is about.

I wish I could attend this show - it would be awesome to view.

09-11-2008, 08:58 AM
Wow, I sure wish that I could be there in person also. As a realistic painter, I'd love to see how others accomplish what I so painstakingly set out to try to do. As for the realist vs "painterly" discussion, realism is a lot easier for me, but I would love to be able to paint more painterly. I'm just not there yet. It is interesting how many of the winners were in the realist genre. I really admire what you all can do with a more impressionistic approach - that stuff really blows my mind.
My favorites are the roses and the hay rolls. I love the lighting on both.

09-11-2008, 08:36 PM
Thanks for posting the info.
I like so many I can't choose only one. They are all so wonderful.

09-12-2008, 07:32 AM
It's great reading everyone's responses. So many differnet opinions. I'll report back after seeing the show in person this weekend.

09-12-2008, 10:19 AM
These are very interesting, but I must say in all honesty that there are works posted regularly by WC pastellists that I like much better. Tight realism is obviously the way to go if you want to win awards.

I have to agree with you on this one. I think the paintings are all technically awesome, but tight realism is just not my "thing" - yet it seems in almost every pastel show I've seen those are the sorts of paintings that get juried in, and which win most of the awards. I hope it does not sound like "sour grapes" as I could never hope to paint in that style if I lived to be 100. But on the other hand, I don't *want* to paint in that style either. Perhaps if I did I would apply myself more to it. :)

But even in the Pastel Society of New Jersey's second juried show last year all the paintings that got juried into the show were all quite tightly realistic. At any rate I can't recall one that was not. 95% of them were landscapes too!

Of the PSA pics my fave is actually the early evening city scene on the title page, with the serenity of the distance darkening hits, and the lights of the oncoming traffic.

Though it *would* be marvelous to see the show in person. I guess no reason why I couldn't. I just live in NJ and NYC is a mere hop, skip and a jump away. But I just dislike going into the city so very much.

Actually, when I saw my current teacher Christina last week she had just gotten back from the PSA in NYC where she had spent the day hanging this show. It might have been fun to have seen it with her, and heard her opinions on the paintings. :D

09-14-2008, 12:32 PM
I'm a fan of the "Forsythia Paint" piece by Bob Russin. While I appreciate the skill that goes into making something almost photorealistic (or at the very least, highly realistic) it has always seemed to me that that approach abandons pastel's innate potential for truly expressive color (okay, I'm something of an Expressionist at heart). Viva la difference (and viva les realists, of course), but show me the color of heavy air, not the color of an apple.

I also like "China Doll Drama" by Deborah Bays, partly because it's moody and mysterious, but mostly because it makes me smile.

Lastly, I really like "The Sweet Ones" by Judy Phipps. I've always admired artists who take everyday objects or scenes and frame them in such a way as to make their images all about abstraction, yet completely real at the same time.

09-14-2008, 08:03 PM

Great works indeed.
What I most like about the first one are those blue highlights. Just awsome.

Have a great week,


09-14-2008, 11:47 PM
Reporting back after seeing the PSA show. Saw Tressa and Maggie Price there. It was great seeing so many different styles. I have to say that my first reaction "Emily Emerging" was still my favorite. Incredible composition and oh so luminous. I had many other favorites there, including several that were not award winners. I also need to comment that several of the award winners were not the tight photo realism that so many think are de riguere these days for winning awards. There were many, many looser works that were very exciting. I also loved seeing the pastellists who chose to demo there. Lovely show. Now on to Maggie Price's workshop for the week.

09-15-2008, 02:28 PM
I made it to the show late on Saturday. I think the photos on the website don't do the artwork justice. Many of the photographs do look realistic, but the paintings aren't. One that stood out is Daniel Greene's. The real painting is about 30" square, I think. And you see all the fine pastel strokes and details. None of which appear in the photo.

Cindy House's painting was the only one I remember that really did look realistic. It was a small painting, and hung on top, but even then you could see some hints of pastel strokes.

Overall, there were around 200 fantastic paintings of various styles and subjects. It was very inspiring to see.

Deborah Secor
09-15-2008, 03:31 PM
So kewl that you all got to go see the show in person. It's great to have your report, and i'm sure you're right about the paintings not being hyper-real looking IRL. That's doubly true when you take a large painting and reduce it in size to fit on a page! So thanks for that reminder. :wink2:

Hope Helen is enjoying her workshop with Maggie...


09-16-2008, 08:03 AM
I had a long post typed last night and when I tried to enter it disappeared:mad:
The show was great, the photos did not do justice to the actual paintings, and lots of styles represented. My favorites were Bob's forsythia, the girl emerging from the water, and of course Maggie's and Doug's paintings were awsome! Another friend of mine(Kay Sandler) had an entry of a macro poppy that was magnificent!
It was a lot of fun at the the materials fair, got to meet Bill, Terry's sil, saw Bernie Ward from PanPastels, and JAck and Linda Richeson.

Not to start a controversy, but was able to play with some Henri Roche sticks, and imho I was no more impressed than with the other softies. I cannot justify the cost to what I saw applied to paper.
So if you can afford them, go for it, but to me is buying a name not a better product.