A Celebration of Pure Color

Ani Espriella,
Symphony in Orange, pastel, 14 x 11 in.

By Kari Stober

From the striking red rocks to the vibrant blue of the sky, Colorado is known for color, I mean it’s right in the nickname “Colorful Colorado.” So it would seem appropriate that a gallery show dedicated to color would take place there. 

Mary Williams “Pure Color” opening reception

On June 6, pastel artists and collectors gathered at Mary Williams Fine Art in Boulder, Colorado, to take in the “Pure Color: The Power of Pastel” opening reception. The show, dedicated to Terry Ludwig, founder of the much-loved pastel manufacturer of the same name, included artwork from 26 pastel artists. While most of the featured artists were from Colorado, there were also a handful of selected artists from around the country. 

Sarah Blumenschein,
Pink Ranunculus, pastel, 12 x 16 in.

When asked about why they created the show, Ani Espriella, artist and associate at Mary Williams Fine Art said, “when Terry passed we got the idea to create a pastel show and dedicate it to him. We started discussing who we were going to invite … we have an amazing amount of pastel artists in this area in Colorado, and we knew we were gonna have a great show. But we decided to invite artists from other states as well. We took a chance … and a lot of them accepted so we were really happy about that.”

Diane Rappisi
Heff, pastel, 22 x 17 in.

The subject matter ranged from figures and still lifes to landscapes and animals, but the thing that tied them all together was truly the power of pastel. The gallery walls were covered in a rich tapestry of vibrant colors

Lorenzo Chavez,
The Golden Hour, pastel, 9 x 12 in.

Terry Ludwig Pastels has the unique distinction of being the first company to make square pastels. Terry knew just what consistency to use and what colors to make because he was an artist who painted with other artists. But this show wasn’t dedicated to Terry because he made pastels that artists loved. It was dedicated to him because he was a man who artists admired, respected, and loved. And that can be seen at WeLoveTerry.com where artists from all over have shared their favorite stories of the man who encouraged and inspired so many. 

Mike Ray,
Garage at Domenico, 11 x 14 in.

Colorado artist Tracy Wilson, who created the website and wrote a poem titled “The Pastel Pioneer”, shared how knowing Terry impacted her career. 

“It was during COVID. Terry called me, and invited me to go painting with him. And I am a still life artist. I am a die hard introvert, studio girl. I didn’t like the bugs, or the dirt, or the snakes.

“But it was Terry, right? … and I had so much fun. My painting was abysmal, but I kept going because it was fun and I started to get better. 

“And Terry had an open policy with his palette … he wa like, “take whatever you need, take it, keep it.” And I just kept painting and getting better at it. And so I expanded as an artist because I was painting with Terry, and having a lot of fun.

“… Over time you fell in love with Terry. He was very interested in you, encouraging and supportive.”

Gallery Owner Mary Williams with Marie Ludwig, and son Geoff Ludwig

Although Terry is gone, his legacy lives on, not just with his pastels, but through the kindness, encouragement, and generosity of the artists he has touched along the way. 

If you’re in the area, stop by the Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery in Boulder, Colorado, and check out the “Pure Color: The Power of Pastel” show that runs through July 6, 2024.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here