The history of the Pastel Society of Colorado is rich. Rich in founding members, rich in steadfast board members, rich in hardworking volunteers and rich with stories. The following is a combination of some of those stories and information from Mary Erickson, Penny Creasy and summaries of information from Ivadell Marie. Enjoy!
Mary Erickson: The artists who started the PSC in 1994 were Lou Armstrong, Virginia Bartimus, Retha Daniels, Mary Erickson, Sam Kendrick, Hazel Monzingo, and Lorraine Sells. Lou and I decided to get together at our homes to paint in pastel. We each had someone else interested in pastel, so we included Hazel and Retha, and then a few weeks later Lorraine and Sam joined us. We often enjoyed plein air painting in the Colorado National Monument area, weather permitting. Sadly Lou, Lorraine, and Sam are now deceased.
When Sam joined, he insisted we needed to incorporate, and since he had done so with another pastel society in New Mexico, he was able to get the paperwork done with ease and with our blessing. Shortly after this, Bev Lee, Marianne Beedle and Geri Harris joined us as did Penny Creasy when she moved to Grand Junction (Geri is recently deceased).
Penny Creasy: This core group of Lou, Mary, Hazel, Retha, Virginia, Lorraine, Sam, Bev, Marianne, Geri and Penny was the beginning “heart and soul” of what would become the Pastel Society of Colorado. We felt a need to encourage the appreciation and understanding for the beauty and longevity of pastel art. We met in member’s homes and as an added activity, we brought current pieces and critiqued each other. The very diplomatic term “that part bothers me a little” was how we helped each other improve. From the very beginning, we decided the only requirement for membership would be a passion for art created in pastel.
Mary: As we continued to grow, the pastelists on the front range decided to join our society. After some years, we ran out of members to hold offices on the Western Plain, so we asked the Front Range to take over running the society.
I remember that one of our key efforts in the beginning was to get the medium of pastel included on the artist entry forms, which at that time was absent or included under “drawing”. To do so, we offered a special award to the best pastel painting, along with the other awards. Another goal was to educate people that pastel wasn’t just chalk. We sometimes, after explaining the difference, jokingly called it “expensive chalk”.
Penny: 1995-96 were the first years of organized official existence. In October of ’95, Sam Kendrick, as president, noted in the newsletter “We set out more than a year ago on an arduous course when we determined that the time was right to bring the pastelists of Colorado into an organization that would advance the popularity of pastel painting by educating gallery owners and art buyers as to the beauty and longevity of pastels”. Hazel became president in 1996. With Hazel and her husband Smokey Boggess, V.P. Buzz Zaterstrom, Treasurer Bev Lee and Secretary Lou Armstrong, the work on the constitution and bylaws began. Everyone helped in some way to hammer out the details at that time.
By 1995 the membership had grown to 60. To accomplish the society goals, with no funds, the group used their own to begin the quest. Paying for ribbons and prizes with their own monies, it soon became evident that other monies were needed to sponsor awards, present pastel demonstrations, have hands-on workshops and a number of other things. The first fundraiser was a yard sale that netted a grand total of $459.65. We sought out pastel artists statewide and encouraged them to join with us. Membership dues helped with the aforementioned and also to fund and distribute a newsletter edited by the first editor, Hazel Monzingo. Everyone in the group gave unstintingly of their time, energy and personal funds to encourage the growth of the organization. As the society grew, Directors at Large involved members in all parts of the state, and it should be noted that every one of the core group at some time had taken an officer’s job.
The first Member’s Show was held in Cedaredge in 1995, with thirty artists participating at the Connie William’s Apple Shed Gallery Heritage Room. Terri Lombardi delivered the East slope paintings. (It really was an old apple shed that Connie morphed into an amazing building and business. It should be a point destination in Cedar Edge). Also, in 1995 the society officially joined the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) and sponsored an Albert Handell workshop. To keep the momentum going in following years, Terry Ludwig, Doug Dawson, and Sally Strand were invited to present workshops on the Western Slope.
In 1996 the society was 72 members strong, and we were represented all over the state. With increasing numbers of members on the eastern slope, the society began to plan ways to meet with and support each other. Volunteers met at Avon, the halfway point, to deliver and pick up paintings for each side’s respective shows. Lively annual meetings were held in Avon, first in a member’s condo and then at the local library where it is now held.
Our first Newsletter Editor was Hazel Monzingo who mailed monthly letters for several years to all members, even as the organization grew. Ann Willoughby and Glen Stewart are also former newsletter editors. The last mailed newsletter was Nov-Dec 2012. Tegwin Matenaer of Redding, CA was the editor at that time. Ann Willoughby was the email coordinator, and Karl Johnson was the webmaster. Those were the very important communicators at the time.
From 1994 to 2003 the leadership for the society centered in Grand Junction. In 2003 Peter Heineman took the helm to lead the Society. From that time on, the organization has been led by officers from both sides of the Rockies. A concerted effort has always been made to make it one organization, not two. (Below you will find a list of the Presidents and Co-Presidents; Diane Fechenbach initially recommended having Co-Presidents, which has worked out extremely well).
In the Spring of 2004, Diane Fechenbach, as President, suggested we start a national show, which had been mentioned in previous years as a possibility, and came up with the name “Mile High” to distinguish us from everyone else. Diane also stepped up to be the Chair, the first prospectus was distributed and Dennis Rhoades created the new and polished logo. (We now also have a Signature Member Show, Online Show and Small Works Show).
These paragraphs only cover a small part of what the Pastel Society of Colorado was and is. Lots of art, fun, camaraderie, differences of opinions, hard decisions and growing pains.
And thus as a result of many gifted and very talented people, including all of those who have served on the Board of Directors, as Chairs and, of course, all of our Members, this is who we are and how we became the Pastel Society of Colorado, one of the largest in the nation.
PASTEL SOCIETY OF COLORADO PRESIDENTS & CO-PRESIDENTS:
1995 Sam Kendrick
1996 Hazel Monzingo
1997 Lou Armstrong
1998 Marianne Beedle/Geri Harris
1999 Penny Creasy
2000 Bev Lee
2001 Pat Sheeran-Daggett
2002 Marianne Beedle/Bev Keith
2003 Peter Heineman
2004 Peter Heineman
2005 Diane Fechenbach
2006 Diane Fechenbach/Dennis Rhoades
2007 Carri Currier/Mike Ray
2008 Mike Ray/Sue McKelvy
2009 Sue McKelvy/Norbert Nagel
2010 Norbert Nagel/Diane Wood
2011 Diane Wood/Sally Davidson-Marovich
2012 Sally Davidson-Marovich/Diane Wood
2013 Scott Leckrone
2014 Scott Leckrone/Virginia Unseld
2015 Virginia Unseld/Susan Foster
2016 Susan Foster/Karen Spotts
2017 Karen Spotts/Sandy Marvin
2018 Sandy Marvin/Lisa Hale
2019 Lisa Hale/David Dubas
2020 David Dubas/Ross James
2021 Ross James/Ivadell Marie
2022 Ivadell Marie