Perhaps, you wonder, what could be a unifying theme for an expansive show of pastels by 60 artists who hail from 14 states, Canada and China? I certainly did. The answer is simple. There is none, beyond superior art and a desire to educate the public about the lesser-known medium of pastels. But that’s enough.
This show was organized by the Pastel Society of Maine’s Exhibition Committee. Its host venue, the Brick Store Museum, is in the seaside town of Kennebunk’s historic district. Dedicated to preserving and exhibiting the region’s rich cultural and artistic heritage for over 80 years, the museum is in a charming brick- front building on a tree-lined street.
Distributed throughout four rooms, the exhibition delights the eye and feeds the soul. In addition to the works mounted on the walls, a video plays on a monitor — intent on educating those who aren’t familiar with pastels. If you’re not familiar with the medium, give it a watch and listen. And do yourself a favor and don’t acci- dentally refer to pastels as “chalk.” Because it’s not chalk. It looks like it could be chalk — those colored, pudgy sticks engirdled in plastic wrappers to protect fingers from the color rubbing off, are actually made with pure pigment and a binding material. The same pigments are used to make oil paint. Pastels have been used by artists since the Renaissance.