VPS & PSNH 2020 Dual Member Exhibit

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
One Medical Center Drive,
Lebanon, NH 03756
January 14 – March 2020

Our JudgeMary Iselin

Mary is a professional artist whose paintings are luminous and filled with light. Iselin is represented by 3 Pears Gallery in Dorset VT ; The Mill Brook Gallery in Concord, NH; Vermont Artisans in Brattleboro, VT; Creative Encounters in Keene, NH; and Sunapee Landing Art Gallery in Sunapee, NH

Judge’s Note:  Thank you for the honor of inviting me to judge this show. I must say, it is probably the most difficult exhibit I have ever had to judge, simply because the quality and professionalism of the work is so high. After several delightful hours of agonizing in front of the paintings, I went home and rehashed all my decisions, and am still at it the next morning. Many of these paintings could have received multiple awards. The Juror’s Choice Award, in particular, went back and forth between the same two paintings at least fifty times. (This is not usually like me at all! But these paintings are just so good!) And I needed to create two small, extra, special awards, because two of the pieces stopped me in my tracks every time I passed them, continually, all afternoon. Finally, I am going with my gut. I was down to half-a-percent difference in many categories. And all judging is, by necessity, finally a subjective process. Thank you again for your trust.

Mary Iselin


Luminous Landscape:
Wendy Soliday (VPS) – Meandering

This painting made me stop and smile every time I passed it. It made me want to enter the painting. I could hear the birds and smell the earth and growing things. Green a difficult color to make “real”, but this artist accomplished both realism and poetry on the same ground. A masterful work that would never become boring.


Reflective Waterscape:
Patti Braun (VPS) – Sunrise Illuminations

While it is the sky which captured this artist’s fullest attention, her rendition of the reflection exhibits a lovely integration of the reflection with the painting as a whole; there is a beautiful restraint in the colors and light on the surface of the water, so that the painting remains full of the “Ahhhh!” we experience at this moment of the day, rather than dissolving into chaos, as it could have done in less experienced hands.


Lively Still Life:
Laetitia Macos (PSNH) – Subdued Nest

I was drawn immediately into this piece! Here, so many elements are so masterfully displayed: the texture of the nest and the eggs; the unusual composition; the tonal colors. It is highly realistic, but still calls attention to the medium in a marvelously painterly way. It is uncommon for a “still life” to move so dramatically. I feel that the nest is both complete unto itself, and, at the same time, so vulnerable to the elements! Beautiful rendering.


Figuratively Speaking:
Gill Truslow (PSNH) – People’s Pint

“Figuratively Speaking”—Gosh, this has it all! The people are warm. I feel as if I must know them. They are beautiful in their unique humanity. They are beautifully rendered. They are smiling, and, if you have ever tried to paint people smiling, you know what an incredible feat this is for an artist to pull off well! I believe in these people and their surroundings. I smell the outside air on their clothing, and I feel the welcoming warmth of the room. I realize that this is a prejudice, but I so love to be uplifted by art; to see the world and those in it as good, worthy and beautiful. This is the kind of painting which, in my eyes, makes the world a better place.


Abstractly Appealing:
Deedee Jones (VPS) – New York State of Mind

This bold composition grabbed me again and again. While deceptively simple in its format, a more careful study reveals amazing textures and completely abstract values, shapes, and colors in that sky. I am drawn to the smoothly rendered, simple, almost cut-out (only at first glance!) buildings as a foil and anchor for the abstract music going on in that sky. This is a very unique piece.


Totally Tonal: 
Katrina Thorstensen (VPS & PSNH) – Midwinter Afternoon

This painting GLOWS. It glows all over the hallway! It is a piece of visual poetry! It grabbed me anew with each pass. If a tonalist painting should reveal the spiritual as it manifests in a fleeting moment of time, this one does it! If you would like me to say something about how, well, the artist has totally controlled her palette, her composition, and her values, to very successfully create the mood she was after. But those were only the vehicles, which allowed Spirit to step right through.


Colorfully Crafted:
Gill Truslow (PSNH) – Rhyms in the Rain

As I study this painting, what I see is that every single inch is imbued with love. Every inch. The entire surface is suffused with love. The relationship of one color to the next is done so masterfully, with each jewel of color moving so longingly into the next, I feel as if the artist has covered the whole surface with crushed gems, then added a layer of crushed pearl. She has done this with a total mastery of her medium—study the piece, and you will see some of the mechanisms. The whole is so complex, with so many working parts, that the painting could have won almost any category. It is realistic, but, as did the works of the High Impressionists, it also roots us strongly in a fleeting, ephemeral reality. Wow.


Lovely Lines:
Chris Reid (PSNH) – Allegro

This was a very difficult category, because there are so many paintings in this show with lovely lines, and because “lovely lines” can be interpreted in so many different ways.

This piece is uniquely engaging, confident, and fresh.

In it, the “lines” are actually linear strokes which work together to create the edges of the forms of the compositional elements.—Elements which would usually have been rendered, well, more “linearly.” But this piece shows such a profuse and complex use of these “lines,” that, when combined with a mature use of color, value, and temperature, the result is that the viewer is brought into the experience: both the experience of the wetland depicted, and the experience of the act of creating, with pigment, a work of art.


Shapely and Edgy:
Keith Demanche (PSNH)- Taking the Long Way Home

This is another piece that could have won in many categories. The composition is so unique, so edgy, so masterfully done. Turn the painting in any direction, and the forms work beautifully. The soft grasses, the hard wall, and the incredible control of values, as well as the rule-busting moon at the tip-top of the painting. Emotionally, it causes the viewer to travel. It makes one feel and think. And the touch of the buildings in the far distance, like a beacon of hope floating before us.




Touchingly Textural:
Leslie Heathcote (VPS) – Jersey Cow “Betsy”

Many of the paintings in this show have magnificent texture, so it was not easy to choose. But the late-spring hair-coat on this cow, with the different textures of the different types of hair, when combined with the smooth, crystal-luminosity of the eyes and the cool, smooth, wet muzzle; as well as the uniquely spring, (versus summer or winter), grass, got this painting my vote. Also, she is simply engaging. She is a nice cow, and makes the viewer feel good. I know that might be politically incorrect to say in the art world, but I feel it is important anyway, at least to me, and, clearly, to many a viewer.


Judge’s Choice:
Lisa Regopolis (PSNH) – When Snow Falls

Gosh, what a painting.
This category caused so much soul-searching in me, but, in the end, here it is. This painting is just so ITSELF. It is loose, yet it demonstrates real mastery of moving, engaging technique. There is thought AND feeling.—Well, so there is in many of the paintings, but this one just sang to me, “Judge’s Choice!”, and I couldn’t keep it down. If there is a reason, I guess it is my gut reaction to the artist’s controlled passion and excitement, caught in the frame. I have been in the woods and seen those colors, felt those colors, and, what’s more, seen that inexplicable light. Sometimes it just does that. It is a thing of Spirit, not reality. –Except in that Spirit IS reality.

Judge’s Notable Award:
Sharon Boisvert (PSNH) – Millyard Sunset

This little cityscape of a parking lot at dawn (or dusk) stopped me every single time I passed it, but I could not figure out a category to give it an award. The mood is just so familiar, so real. The surroundings are so mundane, but glorious at the same time. The mood, which could have been stark and depressing on the other hand, is warm. And I am not the only admirer—People kept stopping to look, to feel, this one.


2019 Vermont Pastel Society Member Exhibit

T.W. Wood Gallery,  46 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT 05062

September 3rd – 27, 2019

Press Coverage:  Article from the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus Newspaper, written by Mary Gow, where she states, “…the Wood’s Hallway Gallery is filled with color and light with the group exhibition of the Vermont Pastel Society.”  Click here for the entire article.


Awards Presentation was held Friday, September 6th

Judge’s Statement – Mickey Myers

Thank you, Vermont Pastel Society, for the privilege of selecting the prizes for this year’s exhibition at the T. W. Wood Art Gallery. It is always a joyous occasion to see your work. I particularly like “art surprises” and was gratified to meet many artists who are new to me this year, as well as visiting with new works of artists whom I follow through the course of my job.
Selecting the prize winners has its own mystique; one always wishes to add just one more award or call it a tie or follow a circuitous path to avoid not awarding awards to pieces I really like, which are many. Suffice it to say, I envy the time you have to do your artwork, and I applaud your explorations and results.




Luminous Landscape Award
Katrina Thorstensen: Evening Refuge
There is such restraint, resonance and nuance in this piece. It shimmers with deep emotion and serene resolution. I want to be there.





Reflective Waterscape Award
Patti Braun: Sunrise from Cape Porpoise
Reflected are huge, bold, moving clouds whose  image dances on the water, quiet and refined – a second in time. The contrast of weight between the clouds in the sky and their reflection in the water is masterfully rendered, fleeting and yet indelible.




Lively Still Life Award
Jill V. Burke: Old Barn
There is something so massive and yet so delicate about this barn. It is like a monument to itself, clearly having stood in the same place for years, with a whole lot of life left in it. This narrative is conveyed by the risk taken, interrupting its bulk with a tantalizing hint of a window (to its past or to its present.)



Figuratively Speaking Award
Matthew Peake: Me, Myself and I
Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, we have never met in person, but I feel I know you, never more
than having seen this drawing. Your self-observations are exceeded by your courage in rendering the wrinkle of skin more broadly than the wrinkle of fabric. Now that takes courage!


Abstractly Appealing Award
Kathy Detzer: Birches Redeux
This piece propels me back to mid-Century and the fullness of life when lived in the discovery of abstraction. As dense as this work is, there is a minimalism in palette and a repetition of imagery that foreshadows the iconic revolution that was to come. It’s spot on!


Totally Tonal Award
Marcia Hill: Gateway
As often as we envision the concept of gateway, this particular work succeeds in framing a threshold that holds interest through both its detail and its soaring sky. While the viewer remains on this side of the gateway, the destination beckons through its every corner.





Colorfully Crafted Award
Athenia Shinto: Vermont Hills 2
(I must confess I could have given this piece several awards.) It is lively, it is tonal, it is abstract, and within a limited palette, its color crafts its composition with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of depth.





Lovely Lines Award
David H. Brown: Birches in Rising Fog
This drawing is almost calligraphic in its grace and restraint while at the same time lyrical in its rendering. With a minimal palette and choice of subject, time and temperature are rendered, and yes, it is that time of year.



Shapely and Edgy Award
Susan Ross Grimaldi: Blinking Light Gallery
This piece has everything. It moves; it surprises; it delights; it invites. It creates a narrative from an inventory. Bright lights; big city: Plainfield, Vermont. One applauds the artist’s imagination as well as her ability to carry it off so joyfully.



Touchingly Textural Award
Angela Arkway: Above the Fray
In some ways, this work speaks for itself as its use of texture to narrate a scene is undeniable. Beyond that, the complexity of its texture lends intrigue to its scenic dimension. It is as though each color and each gesture are coming together to tell of the many unique facets of a scene.



Judge’s Choice: Lesley Heathcote: Curious

I have chosen this piece because it reminds me of my gentleman friend in the morning. That irreverent statement is actually one of great respect as it captures a look of determination in the warmth of early morning light; a certain curly wooliness one reaches to caress; the security of that we have made it through to greet another day. This work has all those qualities – distinct personality, tactile physicality; volume; light and confidence. It also has a fully developed background – the trees on top and the ground to the left, which place the beast somewhere she is free to be curious.


People’s Choice –  Judy Greenwald: “Somethings Fishy”

Judy’s whimsical painting of a fish took this honor with 12 votes in her favor. Many other artists received anywhere from 4, 3, 2, 1 votes so there was a lot of praise going around for our VPS Member’s show.






Participating Artists:

Angela Arkway, Athenia Schinto, Barb Walker, Belle McDougall, Carol Stephens, Carole Naquin, Cindy Griffith, Cristine Kossow, PSA-MP, David H Brown, Debba Pearce, Deedee Jones, Diane Leifheit, Diane Szlachetka, Dianne T Moore, Gail Barton, Grace Greene, Jill V. Burke, John Landy, Joyce Kahn, Judy Albright, Judy Greenwald, Kate Cone, Kathrena Ravenhorst-Adams, Kathy Detzer, Katrina Thorstensen, Kristen Varian, Lesley Heathcote, Linda Masten, Lisa Kent, Maggie F Smith, Marcia Hill, Matthew J Peake, Pat McPike, Patti Braun, Paula Dorr, Peggy Brogan, Sandra Conklin, Scott Tyler, Sharon Yorke, Shelli DuBoff, Shirley R.Thompson, Susan Ross Grimaldi, Susannah Colby, Wendy Soliday

Art Pick Up: Show closes Friday, September 27th.  Artwork Pickup from the gallery between 4-6PM


2019 Annual Juried Exhibit

Friday, May 17 through Saturday, July 6, 2019
50 Randolph Avenue, Randolph, VT 05060
To view the selections for the 2019 Juried Exhibit, please click on the link below:
A reception and awards ceremony was held Saturday, May 18
Many thanks to VPS Upper Valley for refreshments and to
Laura Winn Kane and Susannah Colby for organizing the event.
Best in Show
Cristine Kossow, VPS Midstate,  Expectant Mothers II”
Second Place
Maggie Smith – VPS SouthEast, “The Back Road”
Third Place
Wendy Soliday – VPS Central, “Brief and Spectacular
Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod Award
Judy Albright – VPS Midstate, “Spring Tonic”
Mallory Lake Memorial Award
Mark Grasso – VPS SouthWest, “Morning Curl”

Saturday, July 6: Artwork pick up from gallery between 2-4pm

2018 Annual Juried Show

Hello VPS Members!

The 2018 Annual Vermont Pastel Society Juried Show was held at the Laumeister Art Center in Bennington, VT and the reception and awards ceremony took place on Saturday, September 29thfrom 2-4 p.m. The show will be open to the public September 29th to November 17th.

Please take a moment to fill out the survey about this year’s show. We would like all members to respond, even if you did not attend: https://goo.gl/forms/Dk6fyr07WE833uVG3

Our judge, Christine Labich carefully and thoughtfully selected artwork in the show to award the following prizes. She had this to say to the members:

Congratulations to all of the participants in the Vermont Pastel Society’s 2018 Annual Show! You have skillfully displayed a wide range of techniques, compositional approaches, and subjects, showing the depth and possibilities of the medium. It is wonderful to see pastel used in these different ways, and with great success. There are many paintings in this show that deserve recognition for their experimentation, their fine command of the materials, or their sensitivity to mood, color, and mark. I encourage you all to keep up the good work and keep exploring the possibilities of pastel.

Best in Show
Overlook #36, Matthew Peake
This painting is fun, and engages both the viewer’s eye and mind. While the eye delights in the juxtaposition of colored shapes—no two the same, and yet expressing a compelling overall pattern—the mind is drawn into imagining the narrative of these figures and shadows. Technical, imaginative, and bold.

Second Place
All the Tea in China, Judy Albright
A compelling combination of precise rendering and freedom. The texture of the support is used in a skillful way to add interest and a playful sense to a beautifully drawn subject.

Third Place
New Kid on the Block, Laura Winn Kane
A narrow tonal range is used wonderfully here. The lively surface keeps the eye moving throughout the painting, and manages to create both a decorative flat composition, and a sense of space (albeit a crowded one!).

Pastel Painters of Cape Cod Award
Cape Evening Light, Katrina Thorstensen
A lovely rendering of light and space. The diversity of effective and confident mark-making creates atmosphere and texture within the scene.

Mallory Lake Memorial
Two Pears, Maggie F. Smith
This small painting creates an architectural, moody atmosphere reminiscent of Mallory Lake’s work, even though it isn’t a landscape. Deceptively simple, there are unexpected risks taken in the composition and color choice that make it a pleasure.

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