29th National Pastel Painting Exhibition at the Millicent Rogers Museum »Albuquerque Journal
Geometric power lines, glittering river rocks and haunted portraits await you at the 29th National Pastel Painting Exhibition.
Of the 118 paintings accepted and 292 submitted, 25 works are by New Mexico artists. The exhibit is a hybrid display of images both online and at the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos.
“We look at a lot of everyday images,” said museum curator Michelle Lanteri. “A lot of it is about awakening your own memories. “
Created from the same pigments used in watercolor and oil, pastels use tragacanth as a binder. A particle of pastel pigment looks like a diamond when viewed under a microscope. The facets cause the paintings to trigger reflections similar to prisms, producing vivid colors.
Letitia Roller’s “One Last Look” shows a couple split by geometric shadows on a Lake Michigan pier.
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“It’s from a photo I took of my parents many years ago,” the Santa Fe artist said. “They’re not with me anymore.
Roller’s parents lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin; his father loved to fish on the lake.
“The shadow always represents the chasm between my parents,” Roller said. “My mom was going one way and my dad always was going another.”
Viewers called the room odd. The austere composition resembles the work of artist Edward Hopper, who created minor drama from mundane subjects layered with poetic meaning.
A former tapestry weaver, Roller attended workshops and kept sketchbooks after purchasing her first $ 300 box of pastels.
“The colors in my box; they call me, ”she said.
Former New Mexico Pastel Society Treasurer Sarah Blumenschein took second place with her still life “Silver Vase Pink Scarf”.
The Albuquerque artist has painted in pastel for 20 years. She is known for creating still lifes and flowers.
“I am always drawn to flowers because you can choose any color you want,” she said.
“I was an engineer at Intel, then I decided to stay home with my kids and wanted to get into art,” Blumenschein said.
She liked the immediacy of pastels; she could go shopping and go back to work without worrying about drying time.
“I love the challenge of trying to create something three-dimensional on a two-dimensional surface,” she added.
Ann Lewis copied “Fifth Grade Friend” from her own photograph. She met the girl in the photo at church.
“His parents are from Ghana,” said the artist from Rio Rancho. “I met his mother at church one day.”
Lewis asked the mother to work as a model and she brought her two daughters.
“The last time was right before COVID hit,” she said. “The girl was in fifth grade at the time. She’s just a beautiful face and (I liked) the lighting on her.
Paul Murray’s “Power” shows an electrical box attached to an industrial building. The image is from a photograph he took in Albuquerque.
“It all started all in brown and gray,” said the artist from La Cienega. “I’ve been doing color substitution lately because it makes you look.”
The building turned a bright blue; the yellow boxes.
“I did it because the yellow blue suit made it interesting,” he said. “I have always been fascinated by the things people ignore.”
A former graphic designer, Murray came to New Mexico at the age of 2. He turned to pastels in the mid-90s.
“With almost every other medium – oil, watercolor, acrylic – there is a little change in color. With pastels, you put color and it’s right there. The pigment load in pastels is higher than almost any medium.
Former president of the New Mexico Pastel Society, Murray exhibits his work at the Weems Gallery.