Exhibit in Mt. Lebanon features pastel artists
From Kaufmann’s to Kennywood, pastel artist Linda Barnicott has captured countless Pittsburgh-area scenes to the delight of residents throughout the region.
Her preferred medium could have been different.
“When I was young, just married, I wanted to do oils and pastels,” she said.
These free public events will be held at the Artsmiths of Pittsburgh in conjunction with the “Pure Pigment” exhibit:
• A History of Pastel, 1 to 2:30 p.m. April 20. Pastel artist Frances Marze will give a talk on the use of pastel by artists from the 16th to 20th century, highlighting famous artists who used pastels as finished works and those who used pastels for studies for larger pieces in oil.
• PanPastels – A New and Convenient Pastel Medium, 1 to 2:30 p.m. April 22. Diane Murray will demonstrate the advantages, techniques, effects, and best grounds to use with the medium.
• What Not to Bring – A Simple Approach to Plein Air Painting, 1 to 3 p.m. May 6. Diane Grguras will offer ideas and advice on bringing the essentials for capturing outdoor scenes.
• Portrait Demonstration from a Live Model, 2 to 3:30 p.m. May 7. Christine Swann, nationally known portrait artist and president of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League, will demonstrate how to work in pastel and how to start a portrait from a live model.
• An Evening with Pittsburgh Cityscape Artist Linda Barnicott, 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 11. The vice president of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League will give a gallery talk on what inspired her to paint cityscapes and the stories behind them
And then she learned she was expecting her first child.
“My doctor said, ‘No oils,’ because he didn’t want me around the fumes or anything like that,” the Bethel Park resident recalled. “So I worked in pastels.”
After concentrating on using powdered pigments for the sake of her daughter, she eventually decided to shift gears.
“I started taking oil painting again, with the intention, with the intention of doing oil portraits,” she explained. “And I got pregnant again.”
Today, Barnicott is vice president of the Pittsburgh Pastel Artists League, and two of her works are on display in the group’s exhibit “Pure Pigment,” which runs through May 20 at the Artsmiths of Pittsburgh in Mt. Lebanon.
“Pastel is the purest form of any painting medium,” Christine Swann, league president, explained. “It’s the same pigments that are in oils or watercolor, but it’s the dry form.”
The Cranberry Township resident’s painting “Youth,” a strongly detailed portrait of a woman, was one of four works to be selected for merit awards, announced at the April 9 opening for the juried exhibit. Other merit awards went to fellow league members William Ceriani, Kristin Divers and Marian Sallade, and best-of-show artist honors went to Rita Kambic-Haldeman.
“The way this show is hung is absolutely beautiful,” artist Nanette Hought of Bradford Woods said about the preparations by Kate Wagle Hitmar, Artsmiths creative director and co-founder. “You feel like you are definitely walking into an upscale gallery.”
Hought served as primary organizer for the exhibit, also working closely with Hitmar on coming up with a South Hills showcase for the distinctive style.
“It’s considered a painting, but it’s also very much a drawing medium,” Swann said. “So you have the best of two worlds.”
“It’s also very forgiving,” she explained. “If something isn’t quite right, you can fairly easily wipe it out or brush it out.”
Of course, the opposite of the intended effect is possible.
“You can wipe your hand over any one of those paintings, and they’re gone,” Hought said. “But once they’re framed, they’re as good as an oil.”
Pastel artists work with sticks containing powders held together with a binder, and they tend to build substantial collections of the implements.
“You don’t use them like oils, where you have a couple of basic colors and you can mix anything,” Jan Pini of Peters Township, the league’s webmaster, explained. “It doesn’t quite work like that. So you do need a variety.”
As for how to choose from among the enormous variety of pigments that are available, Hought recommended the advice of an artist she met in Montreal who started her along the pastel path:
“Pick colors that make your heart sing.”
For more information, visit ppal.wildapricot.org.