Winner of the Plein Air Pastel award in April’s PleinAir Salon, Lisa Skelly has always loved the seaside and a move to Newport Beach California in 2017 meant she could spend time painting one of her favourite subjects – seascapes.


Lisa Skelly painting on site
Lisa Skelly painting on location.


I’m inspired by the energy of the surf and coastal beauty. It seems that the ocean will forever be a source of renewal, meditation, and transformation for many including myself. I love to capture the light within the wave and the movement of the sea. I especially love to paint en plein air where all of my senses are engaged and inspired.”


Lisa Skelly Exhilaration Pastel
Lisa Skelly, Exhilaration, pastel, 8 x 10 in. The winning piece!


She was exhilarated to receive the award saying she’d been “working very hard to reach new and skilled levels with my paintings in soft pastels.” Along the way, she’s studied with some of the finest plein air artists in the USA  including Ken Auster, Debra Huse, Kim Lordier, and Clark Mitchell.


Lisa Skelly Seascape Pastel
Lisa Skelly, Emerald Surf, pastel, 8 x 10 in
Lisa Skelly, "Emerald Surf" in process
Lisa Skelly, “Emerald Surf” in process


If you’ve been thinking of entering the Plein Air salon but have been holding back, here’s Lisa’s advice: 

“Keep working toward new levels in your own paintings. I encourage professional and thoughtful critiques as a tool to keep improving. Entering the PleinAir Salon monthly competition is a great way to get visibility. Each month is a different judge and you never know what will grab their attention. (And you certainly won’t win if you don’t enter.) So enter your best work and get advice from trusted professional artists on how to keep improving.”

Great advice Lisa. Thanks and congratulations!



National Gallery Renames Degas Painting to “Ukrainian Dancers”

In case you missed this announcement, back In April, the National Gallery in London stated that it was renaming Edgar Degas’ pastel painting, “Russian Dancers” to “Ukrainian Dancers.” 

In an interview with The Guardian, a spokesperson for the National Gallery pointed out that the title of the painting “has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature.” But because of the situation in Ukraine along with the increasing focus on it over the past months, they “felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting.”


Edgar Degas Ukrainian Dancers
Edgar Degas, Ukrainian Dancers, c.1899, pastel and charcoal on tracing paper laid onto millboard, 73 x 59.1 cm, National Gallery, London, England


Created in 1899, the Ukrainian Dancers shows a group of dancers wearing a traditional folk dress and donning hair ribbons and garlands in the Ukrainian national colours of blue and yellow. 

From the National Gallery website: “The surface of the paper is heavily worked, as Degas applied the pastel thickly with repeated strokes to create highly layered areas made up of many rich hues. In her diary entry about her visit to Degas’s studio, Julie Manet records how he described these pastels as ‘orgies of colour’. The pitted surface – a distinctive feature of his late pastel technique – was caused by previous layers of wetted pastel forming small clumps of pigment under the fixative. As Degas applied more pastel, the surface became increasingly textured. Repeated use of fixative risked dulling the pastel, so he did not fix the final touches of pure colour, which you can see in the hair ribbons and in the red, yellow and blue flowers of the garlands.”


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