2018 Annual Juried Show Information

Hello VPS Members!

The Vermont Pastel Society is excited to announce the 2018 Annual Juried Show. This year’s show will be held at the Laumeister Art Center in Bennington, VT. The dates of the show will be September 29th to November 17th with a reception and awards ceremony on Saturday, September 29th from 2-4p.m.

 The gallery has space for 40 paintings and all VPS members are eligible to enter two pieces of artwork. Our two jurors, whose job it will be to select 40 paintings from the many images submitted, will be Peter Seltzer and Doug Dawson. Our judge, Christine Labich will choose recipients from the selected artwork in the show to award the following prizes: Best in Show ($300), 2nd Place ($200), 3rd Place($100), Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod Award (75$) and Mallory Lake Memorial Prize.


·         Saturday, August 11th:  All artwork received in jpg format, sent by email to susannahcolbyfineart@gmail.com.

·         Saturday, August 25th: Notification to artists of accepted artwork.

·         Saturday, September 22nd: Accepted artwork dropped off at gallery between 10am-5pm

·         Saturday, September 29th: Reception + awards between 2-4pm

·         Saturday, November 17th: Artwork picked up from gallery between 10am-5pm




·         All VPS members are eligible to enter two pieces.

·         Artwork must be original and completed after January, 1st 2016

·         Paintings must not have won an award in previous VPS exhibitions.

·         Artwork must be framed and ready to hang from wire.

·         Paintings must be identical to accepted images.

·         Paintings begun, worked on, or finished as part of a class or workshop must be 99.9% the work of the artist entering the show


The gallery receives a 40% commission on all artwork sold. Artwork submitted to the juried show must be for sale.


·         Soft or Oil Pastel

 How to Enter:

·         You may enter up to two paintings, which must be in .jpg format and emailed to Susannah Colby at susannahcolbyfineart@gmail.com          

·         The images must be cropped to exclude mat or frame. The submitted images should be between 1-3 MB (megabits) in size without worrying about resolution. If you have image-editing software, you can size the longest side to 1200 pixels at 72 dpi. Please contact Susannah if you have any questions.  

·         Please title your image with your initials (hyphen) title of painting. For example: SMC-Sunset.

·         Please include the dimensions of your artwork

·         If you don’t receive an email confirmation, within 48 hours of sending, that your entry has been received, contact Matthew Peake at goldpeak@vermontel.net

With all of us participating, this VPS show will garner lots of viewer attention at a really great venue. Thank you for offering your pastels for exhibition! Please contact your local hub leader if you will need help coordinating transportation of your artwork to and from the show.

 Susannah Colby

June 22-July 28, 2018: VPS Member Exhibition at The Chaffee Art Center, Rutland, VT.

Amid the arpeggios and trills of the violin and piano, with floral arrangements on the many table tops, and hors d’oeuvres befitting a presidential banquet, the 2018 Vermont Pastel Society’s Members’ Exhibition reception took place at the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, Vermont on Saturday, June 23 from 2 to 6 p.m. 
Hosted by executive director, Jim Boughton and his capable staff, the Members Exhibition was attended by scores of viewers–artists and art-lovers. An awards ceremony took place at 3 p.m., with the four attending board members reading off the winners in ten creatively-crafted categories, interpreted by respected Rutland area artist William Ramage, who stepped in as our judge when the original judge had an unexpected conflict.
Special thanks to Susanna Colby and Louise Kenney who worked out all the many details of this fantastic show and reception, and to VPS MidState who coordinated the painting drop offs, the refreshments and reception, and were there to welcome the viewers, and to all the VPS artists who submitted paintings to this memorable 2018 Members’ Exhibition.

A list of awards follows:

Most luminous Landscape:

Barbara Hageman Sarvis – Trumbull Farm

I couldn’t help but respond to the qualities of light in “Trumbull Farm” that seemed reminiscent of Claude Monet’s luminous landscape such as the “Haystack Series” and his “River Seine” paintings. ~ William Ramage

Most Fluid Waterscape:

Susannah Colby – Salisbury Sunset

This extraordinary painting is so alive with color that is both fluid and brilliant that my immediate response referenced JMW Turner, who might be art history’s most fluid waterscape painter. ~ William Ramage

Most Lively Still Life:

Shirley Thompson – Summer Treasure

What more can be said, this painting is an all-out colorful barrage of flowers, vegetables, bees, butterflies and beautiful color flying all over the surface of the painting. Lively is putting it mildly. Thank goodness for the little mouse, a temporary respite for the eye. ~ William Ramage

Most Figuratively Speaking:

Shelli DuBoff – Mother and Child

A truly stunning rendition of the age tested image, from Giotto to Mary Cassatt, of a mother and child. I think Shelli’s painting is every bit as engaging, visually and emotionally, as any mother and child painting I’ve ever seen. ~ William Ramage

Going Gaga with Color:

Louise Kenney – Abstract Spring

“Abstract Spring” is such an appropriate title for this delicate expression of colorful bands of greens and blues offset by a delightful band of pink that brings to mind the feelings, the sights and even the smell of a landscape coming back to life.

The Ying and Yang of Light and Dark:

Deedee Jones – Harbor Lights

This is a fantastic example of a dark foreground and an extraordinary luminous sky. It is a beautiful painting that reminds me of the many painting of Claude Lorrain’s sunsets where dark fore-grounds (often harbors) are silhouetted by a dazzlingly bright sunset. ~ William Ramage

Seriously, do a Series

Matthew Peake – Overlook #35 in Concert

This is a truly interesting composition of a circle created by the four musicians in a square (the format) offset by those striking red diagonal lines, the middle one passing from corner to corner causing twelve triangles diminishing to the opposite corners. I can’t say that this was Mathew’s

intention, but whether intentional or serendipitous, it is a brilliant composition involving the three fundamental shapes, the square, the circle, and the triangle that should be explored in a series. Did I neglect to mention the marvelous fore-shortening, reminiscing of Mantegna’s “Dead Christ” or his “Oculus.” ~ William Ramage

Tell me More:

Linda Kiniry – Late Night

Simply put, this painting wants a corresponding narrative, a story of the character working late at night in what appears to be an urban diner. It reminds me of Edward Hopper’s “Night Hawks,” another painting that wants to tell me a story. ~ William Ramage

The Frame Makes It:

Athenia Schinto – Etudes

This category while applying to Athena’s framing of a quartet of paintings in a single frame might be an appropriate category, it doesn’t do justice to these four beautiful little gems. They are wonderful pastel studies that could very well be etudes used by Athena to hone her

technical skills. An etude usually refers to musical compositions for musicians to practice and develop their technical skills . . . Chopin wrote twenty-seven of these compositions and I believe Bach wrote sixteen. ~ William Ramage

The Judges Choice:

Judy Albright – My Happy Place

I made up this category because Judy’s painting is just too wonderful to be over-looked because it is not a good match for any of the categories I was provided. It is a beautiful still life that has the feel of a Vermeer. The cast of the gentle blue light though out the painting, the exquisite rendering of the lemons, the delicate shadowing of the white napkin draped over the table, and the subtle reflective surface of the blue bowl gives this painting a sense of serenity that could be anybody’s “Happy place.” I love this painting and its title. ~ William Ramage


November 3, 2017

The 2017 Vermont Pastel Society juried show features 30 paintings by 21 artists from across vast distances of our VPS membership. There were several members in attendance at the reception on Friday, November 3rd from 5-7PM and your support is truly appreciated. The show will continue through December 27th. Two paintings have already sold, Autumn Back Road by Patti Braun and Lace and Clover by Kathrena Ravenhorst Adams. Congratulations to both of you!

First, we would like to thank The Coolidge Hotel and Peggy Adams for providing the beautiful space to hang our beautiful work, for their promotional efforts, and for countless other acts of professionalism. Thank you to the selected jurors Claudia Post and Daryl Storrs who spent several days completing an incredibly difficult job of narrowing down 69 paintings by 36 different artists into just 30 final selections for our show. A big thank you to Doug Dawson for his equally difficult job of judging all of the fine artwork and narrowing his selection to just 5 top paintings. Thank you to the VPS volunteers who helped transport artwork for other members, offered to help hang work and brought refreshments for the event. Your dedication to your fellow members and this society are what make it truly exceptional. Finally, thank you to the Cape Cod Pastel Society for their continued support and Vermont pastel master, Mallory Lake, for one of her many sets of pastels as her bequest to the VPS, allowing us to establish an on-going Mallory Lake Pastel Award for future VPS juries shows.

The following are the selected winners of the 2017 Vermont Pastel Society Juried Show and comments from the judge, Doug Dawson.

First Place:

Anna Leeds“Here is the Steeple”

Anna Leeds with “Here is the Steeple”

This is a very compelling painting. It intrigued me because the technique in the sky is noticeably different from the technique used in the building. Besides that, the technique in the sky is about half the painting. Generally, it is best to avoid paintings that are half one thing and half another. However, in this case it works really well.




Second Place:

Christine Kassow“Empty”

I responded to the feeling in this painting. That feeling or mood is a product of the subject, as well as the unifying cool color. ~ Doug Dawson

Third Place:

Matthew Peake: “Overlook #30”

The figures are massed with the dark rectangles and each of these masses is uniquely different in size and contour.  This creates compelling variety. ~ Doug Dawson

Cape Cod Pastel Society Award:

Judy Albright: “Open to Everything” 

I like the simple direct strokes and the way the artist exploited the surface quality of the board. ~ Doug Dawson

Mallory Lake Memorial Award:

Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams: “Lace & Clover”

There is a great unpredictable edge separating the large blue and green shapes. Each of the small light flowers are uniquely different in size and contour, along with the negative shapes that separate them in an unpredictable manner. ~ Doug Dawson


Judging is not the same as critiquing. The comments above are the thoughts I had after I selected the winners. When judging a show, I simply try to respond to the work and select the pieces I like best.  I try to understand my choices only after the fact. ~ Doug Dawson


Susannah Colby


News on the 2017 VPS Juried Exhibit at the Coolidge Hote

Congratulations to the following members for being selected by a panel of jurors for the 2017 Vermont Pastel Society Exhibit at The Coolidge Hotel in White River Junction, Vermont. Thirty Paintings will be on display from September, 17th through December 28th with a reception on Friday, November 3rd from 5-7PM. We hope to see you there.

  1. Judy Albright
  2. Patti Braun
  3. Margaret Brogan
  4. Diane Bruns
  5. Susannah Colby
  6. Carol Corliss
  7. Kathy Detzer
  8. Carol Eberlein
  9. Cindy Griffith
  10. Lesley Heathcote
  11. Cristine Kossow
  12. Anne Leeds
  13. Pat Mcpike
  14. Matthew Peake
  15. Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams
  16. Norma Rollet
  17. Michael Shafer
  18. Maggie F. Smith
  19. Carol Stephens 
  20. Katrina Thorstensen
  21. Ann Wickham   


Susannah Colby

Exhibitions – Vermont Pastel Society

2017 Annual Member’s Exhibition at Southern Vermont Art Center

On behalf of the Vermont Pastel Society I want to thank all the artists who made Members Exhibition at the Southern Vermont Art Center a success. Thank you to the staff at SVAC who once again provided an amazing space for our exhibition. There were several members in attendance at the reception on May 28th and three board members awarded prizes in nine nontraditional categories. A big thank you to Robert Carsten who took the time to carefully judge the show and award each artist. The show has over 40 paintings representing several landscapes, still life and portraits and will be on display through July 8th. Below are the comments from Robert Carsten for each category:

Vermont Pastel Society Members’ Exhibition-Southern Vermont Arts Center

May-July 2017

I thank all of the participating members of VPS for the privilege of judging the members exhibition. This exhibit is filled to the brim with beautiful examples of what can be achieved today with our amazing, ages-old painting medium we proudly call pastel!

— Judge of Awards, Robert Carsten, PSA-mp, IAPS-mc


Most Luminous Landscape:

Maggie Smith, The View Across the Lake

Judge’s comment:

The suffusion of atmospheric light superbly handled by this artist, permeating all of the elements of the painting, resulting in an overall glowing effect. Hence, the masterfully handled atmospheric perspective creates luminosity throughout.

Most Fluid Waterscape:

Angela Arkway, Dorset Quarry, VT

Judge’s comment:

My hat’s off for how this artist skillfully portrayed the depth, surface, and especially the transparency of the water near the distant shoreline in this well-organized composition. Sensitive handling of color saturation and value contribute to the absolutely stunning effect of this land/waterscape. The paint quality, mood and subject combine to make this a truly sensational painting!

Most Lively Still Life:

Leslie Heathcote, Snowy Owl

Judge’s comment:

While not a traditional still life, this painting contains the essential elements that define this genre: close-up object or objects against a background, generally compressing space. What won me over is the manner in which this artist depicted a white “object” without using much if any pure white. This convincingly realistic representation is a lesson on color temperature in both the lights and darkened background.

Most Figuratively Speaking:

Matthew Peake, Overlook #31 Saguaro with Dance

Judge’s comment:

The unusual bird’s eye view, limited palette organized around the hue of its central object/subject, as well as the positioning and postures of the figure create a mysterious narrative, open to the viewer’s interpretation. Astute planning and competence are evident throughout.

Going Gaga with Color:

Judy Greenwald, Solitude

Judge’s comment:

Here is a painting that deftly shows daring color that is refined and utilized to create an overall unified, coloristic effect. Everywhere the color changes and the transitions are seamless. The balance of light effect and sensational color is exemplary.

The Yin and Yang of Light and Dark

Deedee Jones, After the Storm

Judge’s comment:

I love the way the artist used a quantity of dark values in order to establish a convincingly glowing quality to the sunlight and sky in this painting. The diagonals of land and clouds in the design lead me into compositional depth to the luminous sun and its reflection – superbly painted!

Seriously, Do a Series:

Pat McPike, Sunrise on the Seine

Judge’s comment:

I find that there is a poetic quality to this image, a tonal quality that is very appealing. The elements that comprise the composition are painted in a distilled, more universal manner, the artist taking care not to overly depict any detail. I think that this imagery, even if derived from diverse locals, would comprise a stunning collection in series.

Tell Me More Award:

Kathrena Ravenhorst Adams, Summer Barns

Judge’s comment:

This is a lovely composition, quite well-painted. The artist has a good understanding of composition and the use of tone to move the eye throughout the composition. I believe that this artist would further benefit from expert critique services, hence this award. Sometimes those opinions offered can provide insights that allow an artist to move forward; to transition from good painting to great painting.

I’m Being Framed:

Susannah Colby, Stormy Night

Judge’s comment:

I love the sense of activity and movement in the clouds and reflected in the water — all in contrast with the stillness of the foreground’s beach and boats. Additionally, the artist creates great depth by use of a strong diagonal which is masterfully counterpointed by restful horizontals and near vertical elements of masts. Personally, as a juror and artist, I feel that strongly colored mats are not beneficial in public displays. Some shows and galleries advisee against their use, preferring white or off-white matting so as relate better to other works on display. For this reason, I am awarding this finelydone painting the framing award for a future work.


Sincerely, Susannah Colby