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Mile High National Pastel Exhibition set for Littleton

Museum exhibit heavy on landscapes with variety of imagery and themes


A walk through the 13th Mile High National Pastel Exhibition at the Littleton Museum is, among other things, like a little vacation. Landscapes predominate, but they include all sorts of scenes — seashores, mountains, plains, long, lonesome roads, deep green woods, lakes, streams, clouds, cityscapes and more.

Tony Allain, a well-known U.K. painter, tutor and author, was juror for the show and selected 96 pieces from 321 entries by 112 artists. The artwork in the exhibit comes from 18 states and Spain. Allain writes in the handsome catalog, available free at the Littleton Museum desk, of three basic and important ingredients in art, music, theater, which lead him to decisions about which paintings would be displayed, as well as which would win awards:

● Revelation: “An artist must let the world reveal itself to them before they can reveal to others their vision and the way they see their world.”

● Communication: “We artists have a story to tell and our own way of saying it … If their work lacks communication, no one hears their story.”

● Celebration: “… I am attracted to paintings that lift my spirits by celebrating the use of light, texture, form and colour to elevate the work to a higher level and allow the viewer to be part of the painting and thought process.”

The Best of Show ribbon, plus a Royal Talent Award of Excellence and Southwest Art Award of Excellence, were given to “The Magic of Books,” by Paul Birchak of Thornton. The whimsical work, “starring my sweetheart, our kitties, and our imaginary kingdom,” he writes on his website, pictures a young woman seated reading in a bookstore, surrounded not only by bookshelves, but a songbird, butterflies and bright-eyed kitties. A lively little fox steps out of the pages of the woman’s book and the whole scene glows. (Birchak says he prepared a sheet of 140-pound watercolor paper with two layers of a mix of pumice and gesso, toned with dark acrylic paint, then used five different brands of pastel pencils and sticks.)

The Elizabeth Mowry Award for the Poetic Landscape was won by Susan Mayfield for “Last Light”; the Terry Ludwig Pastels Award went to “Indigent” by Christine Swann and the Guerilla Painter Award to “Morning Traffic” by Virginia Unseld.

First Place, Plein Air Magazine and Schminke Awards went to “Emma” by William Schneider. Second Place, Cheap Joes Art Stuff, Plein Air and Fine Art Connoisseur Featured Art Award were won by Tracy Wilson of Littleton for her delicate “Demitasse With Roses.” Third Place, Great American Art Works’ “Holy Cow” Award went to Tracy Haines of Littleton for “Hidden Mesa.” (Both were included in “Les Trois Tracys” exhibit at Town Hall Arts Center.)

Honorable Mentions were awarded to: Ani Espriella, Lyn Hemley, Sandy Marvin, Gary Ozias, Sue Shehan and Anne Weber.

If you go

The 2017 Mile High National Pastel Exhibition is at the Littleton Museum, 6028 S. Gallup St., Littleton through Aug. 20. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free. All paintings are for sale: contact Nancy Sebenaler, treasurer: treasurer@pastelsocietyofcolorado.org, 970-420-4559.


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