2023 'Luminosity' Fall Exhibition

Shuk Susan Lee, “The Enchanting Flutist”

Best in Show

Southeastern Pastel Society's 2023 Fall 'Luminosity' Open Online Exhibition

November 11th – December 20, 2023


The SPS Fall Virtual Open International Exhibition titled “Luminosity” 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 “Luminosity” is Aline Ordman, a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America.  Christine selected 125 paintings from 180 artists out of a submission of 543 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.

We decided to create this exhibition with five categories based on subject/image : Landscape, Portrait/Figure, Still Life/Floral, Animal/Wildlife Abstract/Non-Objective.  

We awarded $5,300 in total cash awards. Major awards and Honorable Mention awards were selected from any category. 5 Exceptional Merit Awards and 5 Merit Awards were selected based on categories of submission. 

For 36 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

Aline grew up outside New York and received her early education at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY graduating in 1975 with a BFA. She subsequently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and eventually attended The Academy of Art College (now University) in San Francisco receiving an additional BFA in illustration. Upon graduation she taught figure drawing there for about 8 years before moving to New England, specifically the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Aline is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America, an Eminent Pastelist with the International Association of Pastel societies, A Signature Member of The American Impressionist Society and a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America. Her work has appeared in various publications, receiving Awards in the Pastel Journal’s including the Founders Award. In 2017 she received the Prix de Pastel in the International Association of Pastel Society’s National Juried Exhibition.

Aline currently lives in Vermont and teaches workshops throughout the country and Europe. Her studio is in Quechee, Vermont and her work can be seen in Camden Falls Gallery in Camden, Maine and The Blue Heron Gallery in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.


Aline’s Comments on the Show

This was a difficult show to jury.  The quality of work was extremely high and as such, there were actually not enough awards!  I also made the decision to only accept one of each artist rather than two from some in order to increase the variety of accepted works since  shows are also limited to how many can be accepted.  It is always hard for me to have to not accept paintings but it is important to make sure that the quality remains pretty consistent across the board.  I have been rejected from many a show and I know how hard that is.  My advice to myself and those not accepted is be sad for a moment, then brush it off and keep striving to do your best work.  

Also unusual in this show was how many wonderful figurative/portrait works there were.  As such, many of the awards do reflect that.  

I just want to add one more thought.  To those not accepted, do not give up.  Putting your work out there is scary and brave and all part of our growth as artists. It also allows you to start better judging your own paintings…seeing what works well and what isn’t as successful.  

Best in Show Award, Shuk Lee, The Enchanting Flutist

This is an amazing painting.  The figure is beautifully drawn and rendered in a complete harmony of cool and warm colors.  The design is captivating…reminding me of the illustrations of N C Wyeth with the faded yet detailed background that supports the main character.

First Place Award, Fabio Cuffari, Dark

This painting simply blew me away.  There are a lot of technically beautiful paintings in this show but this one stood out for its air of mystery and how that was accomplished using dramatic lighting that comes from the torch.  I love the blue reflected light on his left hand as well.  In reality it is a very simple palette of browns and blues but in execution it comes alive through controlling the amount of light and only having one really bright light..the torch.

Second Place Award, Deana Goldsmith, Culinary Blues

Sometimes a picture just strikes you and you simply just love it.  I call it not being able to walk away from it.  Of course technically this is expertly done.  But technical isn’t all there is to a painting. Rather than looking photographic, this looks lovingly put together.  A very simple and powerful design it is all about the blue…and I love that blue!   And yet it also has a great color harmony with the yellow…which is not easy to accomplish.  It is also a humorous  story that leads us to be curious to know more.

Third Place Award, Katherine Irish, Dream Tonight

I see a lot of sunset landscapes and this one comes together in its use of cool and warm colors and its values.  The dark at the top easing into the brightness of the sunset colors is very effective and the way in which those colors define the silhouette of the mesas gives a wonderful sense of distance as well as drama.

Exceptional Merit Awards

Exceptional Merit in Landscape, Laura Pollak, Ancient Footings

This painting achieves a great sense of space in a relatively small painting…not easy to do.  The light is dramatic but what I do love is all the reflected light and colors that go on in the shadowed areas.  The strokes are so abstract and yet the image is very definable.  This painting has texture, color harmony and drama.

Exceptional Merit in Portrait/Figure, Veronique du Boisrouvray, Somebody in Paris

Spectacularly rendered in a very limited palette.  I am drawn to the hair, eyes and shirt all in similar colors and the warmth of the face stands out but doesn’t fight with the rest due to some warm highlights in the hair and in the background color.  She feels totally alive. Her eyes sparkle with intelligence and youth.

Exceptional Merit in Still Life/Floral, Tatsiana Harbackeuskaya, Sunflowers Aglow in Autumn

This painting is like a symphony…I hear music in the strokes.  A delightful rendition of a bouquet that takes it from a sedentary vase of flowers to a dance of strokes, colors and values.

Exceptional Merit in Animal / Wildlife, Yuchen Wu, Just Like Pegasus

This painting has such an amazing sense of movement which is something I love to see in a pastel.  It uses the medium perfectly; losing the hoofs in the dust that is created as the horse and rider pummel toward the viewer.  What makes it even more brilliant is the rider…the only very colorful part of the piece…making him feel solidly on this horse even as he hangs off.  

Exceptional Merit in Abstract/Non-Objective,  Paula Phelps, Serena’s Song

When it comes to judging abstracts, it first just has to catch my eye.  This one has such a great design, sense of movement and that little spot of red pulls it all together…the hero of this piece.

Merit Awards

Merit in Landscape, Martine Tulet, Evening Light in Normandie

I love the use of the pastel strokes here. There is a sense of movement and the color gives a great feeling of the sunlight.  Although it is loose in the strokes they are also very well controlled to create this image and give it a real feeling of being there.

Merit in Portrait/Figure, Cheng Li, Little Boy

There are many beautiful portraits in this show but this stood out for me.  The delicacy of the colors, the gentle plane changes, the simplicity of the design which gives this image such power.  And above all, the tender expression on this child’s face.  There is nothing “sweet” about it which could be cloying.  And the final thing I loved was that wonderful highlight coming down from the forehead to the eye.  This is masterful.

Merit in Still Life/Floral, Rosemary Segreti, Opening Up

I am drawn to the looseness of the strokes as they describe these flowers…it feels like its in movement.  The warm hits in the greens totally unify the roses and the design…letting some of them go off the page also brings the viewer into the painting.

Merit in Animal/Wildlife, Debbie Anderson,  Sir Lancelot

The design of this pastel enhances the feeling of the cat, cozy in its corner.  The strokes bring out the furry softness…you want to pet this cat!

Merit in Abstract / Non-Objective, Marcia Holmes, Urban Printemps

I am drawn to the colors and the strokes creating a sense that the viewer is inside the picture.  I like the hint towards the flowers but keeping it in general abstract.

Honorable Mention Awards

Honorable Mention, Yael Maimon, Autumn Mood

I enjoyed the sketch like quality of this painting.  It works both in terms of texture…some line with very confident pastel strokes but also it evokes a definite mood of this animal.  Sort of asleep but not quite lying down there is a peacefulness about this cat.  I also like the harmony of colors in the background, the floor and in the cat fur.  The cat is melting into its environs rather than looking pasted on top of it.

Honorable Mention, Elisabetta De Maria, Sheba and I

It might seem that I am only drawn to technically well done work..that is not true.  And yes, this one is technically brilliant.  But what I find more intriguing is this relationship created between the wolf and the girl.  They appear so alike and yet so unalike.  The coloring complements them both and unifies them.  But, the softness in the girl’s mouth and her gentle look divide them so that she appears innocent and the wolf dangerous.

Honorable Mention, Connie Reilly, Innocence

This child simply captivated me.  Technically it is of course very well rendered but it was this face that completely grabbed me.  A charmingly innocent face full of curiosity.  I also love the palette of the face…rosy but not too pink and lastly the feeling of light on her right side contributes to her glow.

Honorable Mention, Rosie Coleman, Matriarch

She is a delight.  It is not easy to do a portrait of someone smiling and not feel it is posed.  She has a life to her and you can sense her humor and kindness.  Technically the planes work well, the color is very pleasing, she is elderly but not because of wrinkles but because of gentle folds in her face.  And the teeth…with that one highlight, are masterful.

Honorable Mention, He Shilei, Red Coat

This painting in its simplicity is really so complex.  The red coat stands out dramatically against the rendered but monochromatic background.  One of the things that drew me to this is her face…so much solemnity in a child.  There is a strong emotional content to this painting that goes beyond just a figure on a page.  Her hat which you can almost feel brings a softness to her serious expressions.  There is a hint of the kind of compassion Andrew Wyeth brings to his figures in this.

Honorable Mention, Toby Reid, Transitions

I love the blue tint of the water and the feeling of it rushing down the rocks.  The strokes and  the limited but great use of white push that water down.  The more solid big strokes on the rocks against the water are so effective..I love the purple on the rocks at the upper left and the bright light on the mossy rocks on the upper right make a great juxtaposition.