Connie Lynn Reilly, “Veterans Day”

2024 ‘All About Pastel’

Members Juried Exhibition, Best in Show

Southeastern Pastel Society's 2024 Spring 'All About Pastel' Members Juried Exhibition

In partnership with the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation/OCAF Watkinsville , Georgia

April 20th – June 1, 2024


The SPS Spring Members Exhibition titled “All About Pastel” not only demonstrates the versatility of the medium, but it defines the mission: to elevate the pastel medium in the eyes of the art community at large.

Juror of Selection and Awards for “All About Pastel” is Nancie King Mertz, a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America.  Nancie selected 110 paintings from 71 artists out of a submission of 212 paintings.  Artists entered only works they had completed in the last two years.  The paintings could not have been displayed in any of our prior exhibitions.

This exhibition included three divisions based on membership designation: Master, Member of Excellence, Member. We awarded $7,000 in total cash or sponsor provided merchandise awards. Major awards and Honorable Mention awards were selected for each division. Best of Show and People’s Choice award was chosen from the entire show.

For 37 years we have striven to elevate pastel artists from around the world. Please enjoy your walk through our online gallery and we hope you gain a new appreciation for this fabulous medium.

Juror's Comments

Master & Eminent Pastelist

Nancie has spent her lifetime painting in oil & pastel. She was awarded the Master Circle by Int’l Assoc. of Pastel Societies, Eminent Pastelist in 2018, and is a Master Signature member of Pastel Society of America, Degas Pastel Society & Chicago Pastel Painters.  She has been a member of The Palette & Chisel of Fine Arts since 1988 and Plein air Painters since 2003–both based in Chicago.

Nancie juries, demos & teaches numerous workshops across the US, Italy, France & Croatia.  She is on the faculty for the Plein Air Convention, Plein Air South, and the IAPS Convention. IAPS awarded her the Prix de Pastel in 2018. She was the lead juror for the 2019 IAPS Masters’ Show, and juried the 2022 PSA Enduring Brilliance Exhibition.

Her work has been featured in Plein Air Magazine, Southwest Art, American Artist, French & Chinese magazines, as well as the cover and several articles in Pastel Journal.  She has traveled to over 20 countries to paint.


Best in Show Award, Connie Lynn Reilly, Veterans Day

The masterful construction of this painting intrigued me from the start.  While I suspect it very closely resembles the reference photo(s) that were used, it is not photo-realistic, which I feel is key to making a painting relate to its creator.  Representational painting reveals more of the soul of the artist vs. hyper-realism that is a pain-staking reproduction of the elements depicted.
Thankfully the artist did not reveal in this patriotic piece which way they “leaned”, as it would result in half the viewers responding favorably and half not!

(Master) First Place Award, Luana Luconi Winner, Venetian Mask Series: Then and Now

This composite of fascinating masks is well-designed with the cluster forming a vignette, exposing the paper.  What is the message or story here?  Is the exposed paper a reference to us exposing one another as we cluster together?  Are our personalities as unique when masked as these portray?  Or have we resigned ourselves to the wearing that we endured—and often must rely on– as we move into our “new normal”?

(Member of Excellence) First Place Award, Resa Grogan, Lone Driftin’ Cowboy

The gaze of the figure pulls the viewer to attention here, and the unusual circular landscape format solidly anchors the subject.  His attitude gives us much to ponder while learning from the deft handling of the pastel medium.

(Member) First Place Award, Alex Eisenzopf, Out for Maintenance

As juror, my assignment was to select 1 piece from the artists whose work I found to be good, and then when selecting winners from that pool of 110, I kept recalling this artist’s entire body of work.  It was a struggle to select the best of the many offered in this artist’s submission—I liked them all equally!  Of the 4 or 5, I felt this was most unique and provided a fresh approach to subject and design.  It is perfectly crafted and brought a bit of abstraction to the show lineup.

Second Place Awards

(Master) 2nd Place: Orit Reuben, 'Summer Blooms'
(Member of Excellence) 2nd Place: Preston King, 'Slice of Heaven'
(Member) 2nd Place: Jeri Greenberg, 'Stand in Your Truth'

Third Place Awards

(Master) Third Place: Susan Gore Gardner, 'Iain Harvie & Kris Dollimore of Del Amitri'
(Member of Excellence) 3rd Place: Julia Lesnichy, 'Snow Shadows'
(Member) 3rd Place: Joel Sobelson,'Boy'

Honorable Mention Awards

(Master) Honorable Mention: Katherine Irish, 'Light Whirl on Fall River Road'
(Member of Excellence) Honorable Mention: Rosemary Segreti,'Southern Charm'
(Member) Honorable Mention: Kaitlin Giana Craig,'Defrost'
Members Choice Award: Rhoda Lowinger, 'Orchids'