International Association Of Pastel Societies
Betty Gobeille wrote of her experiences while attending IAPS conferences.
Hi Everyone! Greetings from New Mexico!
As many of you know, my husband and I, and our 4-legged family, moved from Mifflintown, PA, to Corrales, New Mexico, a year ago. I had fallen in love with New Mexico; and I can blame it all on IAPS!
Back in 2007, my husband gave me a most wonderful Mother’s Day gift – a trip to Albuquerque, NM, to attend the bi-annual IAPS Convention! We now had an “empty nest” and I wanted to get back to doing pastel work. I had read about the convention in the Pastel Journal and was dreaming of going. Little did I realize what an eye-opening experience it would be! I had used Canson paper, spray fixative, Rembrandts and Nu-Pastels, mats and frames for years. Suddenly there were sanded papers (no fixatives needed!), new brands of pastels, new techniques. There were renowned artists giving workshops (some before, during, and even after the convention!), hands-on demonstrations, seminars, portfolio critiques, and presentations. There were dinners, social events, a banquet with awards, and the famous “Candy Store”!!!
If you ever want to see products from all over the world, the “Candy Store” (or Trade Show) is the place to go! It’s a room full of companies demonstrating their products and introducing new ones. There are companies and individuals who design easels and other equipment for pastel painters. There are books and videos galore. And then there are all the pastel vendors!!! It’s just like a candy store! From student grade to Henri Roche’s, they are on display and for sale, in sets and individually. And each year the Candy Store grows larger!
One of the favorite activities for many of the IAPS attendees, is the infamous “Paint-A-Round”, held at the beginning of the convention and before the Welcome Celebration Party and Buffet Dinner included in the registration fee. On stage, there are 5 well-known/famous pastel artists. Each starts a painting using their own photo. Much like musical chairs, after 10/15 minutes, they go to the next painting and paint for 10/15 min. And so it goes until they return to their own painting and paint for 10/15 min. About an hour or so from start to finish. The whistle blows and they all must stop. Previously, these paintings were auctioned off at the Sat. banquet. As of this year, there was a silent auction and the highest bidder won the painting. Other small paintings by anonymous artists were also bid on and when the time for bidding ended, the highest bidders got the paintings; and it was then that the ‘anonymous’ artists signed their paintings. IAPS uses these funds for art scholarships.
I personally love to take the workshops, but it’s very easy to over extend oneself and get really mentally and physically tired. It doesn’t help that Albuquerque is 5,000 ft. above sea level! It takes some people a while to become accustomed to the thinner air. And it is high desert, so it’s much drier here and everyone must remember to drink plenty of water.
This year, I missed the registration. So I volunteered (as a member of the NM Pastel Society – the hosting Society) to run the video equipment for Robert Carsten’s Demonstration. (I said hello from CPPS and he said he’d love to come back to do a workshop!) Hel is an excellent teacher.
A week before the Convention, there were cancellations and I was able to sign up for a 1-day workshop and 3 demonstrations. I really enjoy the demonstrations. They usually are ½ day (3 hrs.) and you can watch 2/day and see how different artists work. It’s a great way to learn. Especially if you want to improve your particular interest, such as portraiture, landscape, still life, abstraction, or non-objective. There are so many choices among artists and styles that one wishes that the IAPS Convention would last a week! But then we’d all be broke and too tired to paint!
Besides all of this, I also met so many wonderful artists – from every ability level! All there to learn! And I must say, that pastel artists seem to be the friendliest group! There were no barriers between the famous and the rest of us! For that we were all so grateful. It made the IAPS Convention “The Biggest Pastel Party On The Planet”!!!
Hope to see you at the 2017 IAPS Convention in Albuquerque, NM! But watch out! You, too, may fall in love with New Mexico!
Betty Essex Gobeille