Saturday, April 12, 2008

PAC Symposium - Day 1

I've been eagerly looking forward to the "It's Not Chalk!" symposium as a culmination of my trip to Ontario. This is Pastel Artists Canada's first annual pastel symposium, and by all signs it looks like there will be a second. Over 70 have signed up for a weekend of workshops, demonstrations and the vendor booth. Nearly 60 artists have work in the Members' Show and my Plein Air Workshop show.

Although I enjoyed my week of teaching, I'm very happy to be a student now. On Saturday, I'll be taking a colour workshop with Tim Daniels, and on Sunday, an all-day life drawing workshop with Megan Williams, who teaches the figure at the Toronto School of Art. Saturday afternoon I get to lead a "Walk & Talk" of the gallery exhibit.

The symposium is being held at the Burlington Art Centre. My billet host explained to me that this is a "public gallery," which in Canada is a more prestigious place to show than a commercial gallery. A public gallery is funded by hard-won grants from the government and corporations. PAC is very proud to have their show and symposium here.

Friday morning I hung 14 pieces from my students in the Plein Air Workshop show. Since all the work is 9x12, we framed them alike, and as you can see below, they make an impressive display. I've also included a close-up of my 5x7 sketch, which I chose to "float" in a similar frame.

After that, I sat in on a critique session given by Burlington Art Centre Program Director, George Wale, who has a sculpture background. (It's always fascinating to see how an artist from a radically different medium responds.) Members of PAC submitted slides for critique. At lunch, PanPastel gave a talk on their products. Following that, the exhibit and vendor booth opened, and I spent the next two hours looking at some excellent pastels from across Canada and talking to artists from as far away as Vancouver. I also looked longingly at the supplies for sale (booth was hosted by Mixed Media of Hamilton), but I knew better than to pull out my wallet. Finally, a photographer showed up from the local paper, so perhaps I'll be in the morning edition.

Tomorrow - report on the Tim Daniels workshop and my "Walk & Talk."

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