Shannon O'Dunn

2930 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado

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Juried Artist BPAF 2019

In the last 12 years I have been or still am a gallery owner, art dealer, painter; and, Juror of Awards and Juror of Invitations for a venerable plein air annual event. I've been painting in soft pastel for about 12 years, after painting in oils for several years. It has been an exciting time for personal growth, but even more, to be witness and participant to the world of pastel art itself: the rapid evolution of soft pastel art materials: a proliferation of pastel manufacturers, and types (hardness varieties; shapes; metallic, pearlescents; pan-style); plus the evolution of supports with regard to surface qualities, color, and workability.

The availability and choices of basic pastel materials has greatly expanded the number of artists using this exciting medium, and now provides many different painting styles and esthetics to consider. Like many other pastel artists, I have gone from matted presentations on textured paper to full image framing, and workable sanded surfaces that can tolerate scrubbing out and underpainting. This is important because in living artist exhibitions, pastel pieces now get the same kind of exposure and appreciation as do oil paintings. The final piece of pastel culture expansion has followed: the growth of a collector base who have come to appreciate the wonderful color intensity, and mark-making stylistics and variations, that our medium provides. With solid archival supports, pastel sticks, and quality glass, pastels are as archival, stable and desirable an addition to a collection as the previously more familiar oil paintings.

As a geologist, I am mostly interested in painting the natural world, with an emphasis on the rocky underpinnings to landscapes, the vegetation mantle, and the surface processes we can witness in real time that create the varied surfaces of our beautiful planet: wind, waves, rivers and streams, glaciers, and volcanic activity. Every painting is a field trip, and every field trip presents ideas for paintings.

My work to date has been traditionally representational; my goal is to move toward more abstraction and expressive mark-making. Solving the mystery of why 'simple' is so difficult, and stripping down the visual field to essences of design and balance: that's the journey ahead, for me.

Painting/Oil/Pastel, Fiber

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