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Friday, October 9, 2015

"Journeys" Pastel Society of Colorado Show

Signature members of the Pastel Society of Colorado were challenged to create a new body of work about a personal visual journey. The results are exhibited in an intriguing show in the North and Mezzanine Galleries at the Lakewood Cultural Center in Lakewood, CO, through Nov. 22. Here are the images from my "House Portraits" collection and my writeup.

Hometown Treasure McCreery House in Loveland, CO, pastel painting by Mary Benke
"Hometown Treasure," 6x6, pastel

Le Maison de Monet in Giverny pastel house portrait painting by Mary Benke
"Le Maison de Monet," 9x9, pastel

Springtime in Old Town pastel painting of Victorian House by Mary Benke
"Springtime in Old Town," 6x6, pastel

From internationally famous to locally known to anonymous, these houses all captured my attention with their fascinating architecture and eyecatching landscaping. But most of all, it was their individual personalities I tried to convey in pastel. Most anyone who is an art lover has seen “The Master’s House,” Claude Monet’s home in Giverny. But not everyone has enjoyed it from this more intimate side view I used in “Le Maison de Monet.” The gardens there are, of course, magnificent, so it was essential for me to emphasize the flowering trees and roses in my painting as part of its character. “Local Treasure,” features a unique home in my hometown, Loveland. The McCreery House was built in the late 1800s and features distinctive architecture. It’s a charming venue for weddings, so I included a bit of “romance” in the painting along with seasonal fall foliage. “Springtime in Old Town” depicts another adorable home, this time in Old Town, Fort Collins. Again, the flowering tree is important to the design of the painting, adding some extra beauty to the gingerbread characteristics of the home. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bridge Over the Poudre

Bridge Over the Poudre plein air landscape oil painting of river by Mary Benke
Between rain, mosquitos, and wind, this plein air piece was a challenge! Painted on the banks of the Poudre River near Fort Collins, CO, as part of the "Paint the Poudre Plein Air" event that's also a fundraiser, this painting was done with water-soluble oils (who says water and oil don't mix?). In any event, it's always a joy to paint in such a beautiful setting!