In minutes, you can be transported from a small sunny stone courtyard in Italy, in Angela Arkway’s “Tuscan Light”, to a vast lake scene rich with calming effect in John Landy’s “Jean’s View”, to a hidden path in the woods surrounded by white birch trees and bright yellow leaves in Jocelyn Randles’ “Golden Path.”

Here are some of the artworks from the exhibit by members of the Vermont Pastel Society, currently on display at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland. Halfway through its opening reception on June 11, the parking lot was full and the awards were underway, as juror Kate Gridley, a conceptual realist painter, walked guests through the first-floor galleries explaining a bit why she awarded the coins she chose.

The Vermont Pastel Society Members’ Exhibit will run through July 22 with 58 works of pastel painting on display, as diverse and aesthetically pleasing as their exhibits at the Chaffee in years past. Founded in 1999, the VPS is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to promote pastel painting, nurture artists through classes and services, and connect pastel artists of all levels.

“Vermont Pastel Society has nearly 100 members throughout Vermont, with a few members in New York, New Hampshire and Massachusetts,” Cristine Kossow of VPS said via email. “Due to the size of the state, VPS has divided members into regions called Hubs: Central, South West, South East, Mid State, Upper Valley, Champlain. It provides a closer community for artists to meet, critique work, go on group outings to area museums, host workshops, organize outdoor painting outings, and organize events.

Kossow herself has two pieces in the show, saying, “I’m inspired by farm animals, still lifes and barns. My process involves sketching the subject onto a sanded surface, roughing up the underpainting and then applying the pastel in layers.

Artist Jocelyn Randles, whose piece “Golden Path” is on display, is “originally from the gray suburbs of London, now escaped to the hills of North Pomfret, Vermont,” she says on her website. His work depicts a sense of reality, from a feathery gaze in a clump of long grass, to a sense of movement in a painting in which the sun is about to rise over a mountain range.

Randles says she is drawn to pastel “because it’s immediate and versatile.”

“Nature’s Reflections” by artist Linda Masten depicts a sky splashing with intense color reflected in the water below.

“In the beginning, oil painting was my main medium,” Masten explains on his website. “However, on an outdoor outing, I noticed an artist working in pastels. I was instantly intrigued. After many workshops and devotion to pastels, they became my medium of choice.

You can see their work as well as many others in the exhibition which runs until July 22. And Chaffee member artists also have work on display and for sale in the upstairs galleries.


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