2024 Mile High International

The 2024 Mile High International Pastel Exhibition
May 24 – August 4, 2024

Foothills Art Center – Astor House
822 12th Street 
Golden, Colorado 80401 

Juror and awards judge, Natasha Isenhour chose 84 pastel paintings for the show.  During the opening ceremony, as she announced each award, Natasha provided detailed comments that included why she choose each of the winners.

Natasha Isenhour
Natasha Isenhour

Best of Show

Gingersnap by Jeff Siemons

ARTIST: Jeff Slemons 
TITLE: Gingersnap

Judge’s Comments: “This painting demonstrates the bravest use of color I see in the gallery. Almost contradictory, bold color is loosely and rambunctiously applied throughout the background and hat, yet somehow lets go it’s grip, giving way to this young cowgirl’s expression. The use of light and her complexion is telling us what she is thinking and feeling after a long hot day in the sun.  I love this painting and the story it tells.”

First Place

ARTIST: Mitch Caster
TITLE: Homework Break

Judge’s Comments: “I really love the use of space in this painting that provides breathing room and contemplation. The subtle palette and use of diagonals provides an exquisite sense of balance and calm yet the mark making suggests spontaneity in application. “

Homework Break by Mitch Castor

Second Place

ARTIST: Leslie Trujillo-Batts
TITLE: Barricade

Judge’s Comments: “This is masterful realism. It is hard to verbalize the extraordinary use of light transitions around the subjects to create their wonderful 3-dimensional qualities. Reflections are beautiful and consistent with the surface the items are reflected in. The beetle is a wonderful surprise that was carefully placed and executed so as not to take you from traveling through the entire piece, rather it serves as a resting spot for the eyes as you explore.”

Barricade by Leslie Trujillo

Third Place

ARTIST: William Schneider
TITLE: The Care Giver

Judge’s Comments: “A softness throughout sells me on this painting. Color choices and diagonals bring you around in the painting, always back to the eyes. Look closely at the trick of putting red in the eyes to tie to the head scarf.  You don’t notice it from a distance, but it’s subtlety is perhaps the biggest selling point of the painting to me.  I really appreciate the subtle action in the background as well, suggesting what is there, without making it seem important.  The background beautifully supports the subject.”

The Care Giver by William Schneider

Terry Ludwig Memorial Award 

ARTIST: Norbert Nagel
TITLE: Meditating Works

Judge’s Comments: “This is a beautifully subtle tonalist piece. The complement of blue in the far horizon ties together the almost conflicting color palette. The offset path allows the tree to stand in the middle of the painting, as a sentry without feeling uncomfortable in its placement. Subtle value and color shifts bring a brilliant tactile quality to the painting. The stain and rubbed surface of this frame is as if it was made just for this painting. A really beautiful and sensitive piece. “

Meditating Works by Norbert Nagel

Elizabeth Mowry Poetic Landscape Award 

ARTIST: Lydia Potoff
TITLE:  The Sheltering Sky

Judge’s Comments: “Poetic” is exactly the right word for this painting! The use of light is understated creating its great impact. The clouds are not so defined to hold your attention, rather their soft value shifts invite the eyes to drop down to the lush vegetation where you find the dance between the darkest darks and lightest lights near the treetops. This painting engages all of my senses!”

The Sheltering Sky by Lydia Potoff

Honorable Mention

ARTIST:  Chris Cook
TITLE: Awakening

Judge’s Comments: “Incredibly effective tension makes this painting irresistible to look at. The soft edges of the hands and feet lead the observer to explore the silken drape, then the face, and back to the hands and feet again. The artist clearly understands anatomy, combining a clearly modern woman with an old masters pose and palette.”

Awakening by Chris Cook

Honorable Mention 

ARTIST: Sarah Blumenschein
TITLE:  Roses from a Different Point of View

Judge’s Comments: “This painting demonstrates a brilliantly creative view casting the blue reflection of the vase onto the table at an angle that balances the rest of the composition. The reflection not only drives your eyes through the painting, it also provides a complementary color balance to the rest of the palette. The linear features of the edge of the runner and the subtle fold creases strike the balance in the piece.  Great use of space.”

Roses from a Different Point of View by Sarah Blumenschein

Honorable Mention

ARTIST: Mike Ray
TITLE: Edge of Public Lands

Judge’s Comments: “The spontaneity in this painting is terrific! Skillful use of values and temperature tell you exactly what the artist wants you to see. Diagonals keep your eyes moving throughout the painting, directing you to the subject, creating an outstanding composition.”

Edge of Public Lands by Mike Ray

Honorable Mention 

ARTIST: Roger Ambrosier
TITLE: Above the Herd 

Judge’s Comments: “The large shapes in this painting are so simple, yet it’s the subtleties of the temperature shifts that create such distance and mood.  Brilliant use of values in the foreground pull your eye gently into the painting, making the herd of sheep meld into painting as part of the landscape. This frame is a perfect complement to the painting.  One of my personal favorites in the show.”

Above the Herd by Roger Ambrosier