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Johns Creek Arts Center sponsors pastel exhibition

Southeastern Pastel Society offers best of best

Artist and Johns Creek Arts Center pastel art teacher Kathryn Gentile stands with her seascape in pastel. The Southeastern Pastel Society will bring more than 50 of their finest examples of pastels to the JCAC exhibition, "Pastel Renaissance." HATCHER HURD/Staff. (click for larger version)

(click for larger version)

(click for larger version)
January 21, 2014
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. Once again, Johns Creek Arts Center Director Gail Hisle has prepared a breathtaking art exhibit for the residents of North Fulton. Last fall, it was colored pencil art. Now from Jan. 25 to March 7, it will be pastel art from the Southeastern Pastel Society.

Cobb resident and SPS exhibition co-director Ron Pircio said some of the best work of the group's 230 members will be on display. Although not as well-known as oil painting, pastels use the same pigments as oils only the bonding agent is different.

"The big difference is pastels don't fade," Pircio said.

Mikki Root, the other SPS exhibition co-director, said she became interested in the pastel medium because she liked the way using pastels are "an extension of my arm."

"It's more immediate than the brush," Root said. "It goes back to prehistoric times. The earliest cave drawings were done with pastels. It was the first art medium. It's immediate. It's there where you put it."

Pastel can avail itself on almost any surface, Pircio said. From canvas to any sanded paper, it just needs to be rough enough to hold the pigment.

Just don't call it chalk. Pastel artists see that as a diminution of the medium and their art.

Root likes to quote Wolfgang Kahn, one of the most respected pastel artists working today.

He said, "Pastel is the dust on a butterfly's wings."

Local pastel artist and JCAC teacher Kathryn Gentile said the JCAC is fortunate to have such a prestigious exhibition in Johns Creek.

"Usually, the Southeast Pastel Society goes to the larger venues such as the one they are having at Oglethorpe University," Gentile said. "So we will be getting some really beautiful art here."

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