“JUST A VESSEL,” a soft pastel by Helen Kleczynski, Vicksburg, Mich. (Courtesy Photo)
The Great Lakes Pastel Society is presenting its bi-annual Juried Member Show at the Shiawassee Arts Center through Nov. 7.
The opening public reception to meet the artists, view their work and enjoy music and refreshments will be 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11. The show is sponsored by Dr. Michael Schmidt and the Schluckebier/Hood Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors LLC.
The Great Lakes Pastel Society, which began in 1997, has grown to over 200 members from twelve states. The non-profit organization seeks to promote the use of pastels and increase the public awareness of creative pastel painting as a fine art medium.
Exhibit juror Ron Monsma, Associate Professor of Drawing & Painting, Indiana University, South Bend, selected 68 pieces (out of 132 entries) for the show and chose ten of the works to receive awards. He stated, “Many of the winners stand out and, in my view, have a certain indefinable something, a mood maybe, or they simply present a striking image.” Two local pastel artists, Gary Mulnix of Owosso and Tom Tomasek of Ovid are included in the exhibit as is the pastel “Lilah” by Marge LeBel of Flint.
Pastels can be traced back to the 16th century. Famous artists including Renoir, Whistler and Mary Cassett used them in their art. The French Impressionist, Edgar Degas, was the most prolific user of pastel, and its champion. Degas eliminated most of the white addition that earlier pastel artist favored, used pastel in strong, pure colors and, allowed his individual strokes to be part of the final composition, instead of blurring them into the overall effect in a kind of imitation of light oil painting, which pastel can achieve quite easily.
The Shiawassee Arts Center, 206 Curwood Castle Drive in Owosso, and is open 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The Arts Center features the artwork of local and statewide artists in eight galleries including the Frieseke Gallery and a specialty Gift Shop. The public is welcome and there is no admission charge. SAC, which is celebrating its 43rd anniversary in 2015, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage participation and appreciation of the arts. For more information, persons may call the Arts Center, (989) 723-8354, or visit www.shiawasseearts.org.