Pastel response grows stronger

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 07:57 30/10/2012
Jane Watkinson
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

ON SHOW: Southland Museum and Art Gallery graphics technician Jane Watkinson does a final check on a work by guest artist Julie Freeman, showing in the Southern Pastel Artists Group ILT Positively Pastels Art Awards.

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Southlanders are still positive about pastels, a decade on from the region's first annual pastel art show.

The 10th Positively Pastels Art Awards opened at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery this month, featuring work from 51 New Zealand artists.

Southern Pastels Artists Group representative John Cutt said the exhibition was as strong as ever, and there had been a lot of pre-show interest from the public.

"It is special to us. People keep asking, ‘is it going to be on?' and ‘where is it being held?'."

He believed the versatility of pastel works attracted both artists and viewers to the medium.

"Most people think of pastels as pale but these are vibrant. You can go from impressionistic, broad brush strokes type of stuff right down to realism."

One aspect which made this year's exhibition slightly different was the amount of artworks submitted from out of town, he said.

"A lot of the local artists haven't been able to provide material this year. The majority of the entrants are from further afield."

As well, there were also more prizes up for grabs this time around.

The Invercargill Licensing Trust had volunteered $4000 worth of prize money, the Community Trust of Southland had donated $3000, while businesses from as far away as Auckland had sponsored prizes. SBS Bank was also offering two scholarships, worth $250 each, for Southland and Otago artists to attend a workshop with Australian pastel artist Grace Paleg.

The Southern Pastel Artists Group and ILT Positively Pastel Art Awards exhibition is on display at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery until November 18.

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- The Southland Times

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