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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Remembering Elizabeth Mowry

'Island Summer Breeze'               9x12                 pastel              ©Karen Margulis
available $250

In Memoriam
Elizabeth Mowry PSA-MP, HFH
March 8, 1940 – July 18, 2020

This week I learned of the passing of Elizabeth Mowry. Like many other pastel artists I was inspired by Elizabeth and her wonderful books. They were the first pastel books I bought and my first efforts with pastel were my attempts at copying the wonderful paintings in her books. I wasn't very successful but I was determined to master this wonderful medium thanks to the beauty Elizabeth created. 

In 2013 I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Elizabeth when she came to Atlanta to judge the exhibition for the Southeastern Pastel Society. It was a very special experience and one of the highlights of my pastel journey. I learned a lot those three days. One of them was that I wanted to be as gentle a person and as well dressed as Elizabeth! (I still do)

I am grateful for the opportunity to meet her and sad to hear of her passing. I painted today with Elizabeth in mind. I decided to paint a new version of one of the workshop paintings I did in her workshop. I am also sharing the original blog posts I wrote in 2013 when I attended the workshop. Here is the original:

A painting I did at the Elizabeth Mowry workshop in 2013

Day One Workshop Review May 2013:
I am so glad I decided to take this workshop with Elizabeth Mowry. What a wonderful artist and gentle spirit she is. As she spoke so eloquently about her love of nature I felt a special kinship. When I talked to the group about the painting I did during the sharing time, I spoke about how I like to look inland at fields and meadows for inspiration. Elizabeth understood this! I know I will come away from this workshop inspired and enriched.
The workshop began with Elizabeth doing a 2 hour demo. She feels it is important to show how she resolves a demo painting and not just how she starts. I found her demo very interesting and very different from how I usually work. She uses wallis paper and Girault pastels. She goes right in with local colors and works from the sky down. When she saw how I was starting my painting she said "oh you are one of those color people" I smiled. Yes I guess I do love color!
After lunch we painted for 2 hours then had a chance for sharing and feedback. The day ended with Elizabeth's slide presentation of her journey as an artist. I enjoyed hearing about her life and work! I can't wait to go back tomorrow.
I learned an interesting use for pastel pencils and I will share this with you when I can do a more complete post.

Day Two Workshop Review: 
It was another wonderful day at the workshop. Elizabeth opened up the day with a quote about nature. She then did a wonderful demo of some Autumn trees. She called it a tree study because the painting was all about the tree. Elizabeth's demo was sprinkled with her pearls of wisdom about painting trees such as:

  • It is important to really study trees and get to know them.
  • Slow down and really observe the does it grow,what colors,what is it's character.
  • When you are painting the edges of trees really slow down and pay attention to the edges. The edges can tell a lot about the tree.
  • In looking at my notes I guess the most important thing is slowing down! That is good advice I intend to take

Elizabeth Mowry's palette for her tree demo

After the demo we spent some time looking at some of Elizabeth's work as she shared her method of critiquing our own work. I will share this another time and will definitely be using it. After lunch we painted and finished the day with another group sharing/feedback session. I enjoyed the whole day but especially enjoyed our lunch with Elizabeth where she shared stories of her time on her New York farm. I can't get the picture of her goat stuck up on the roof out of my head!
One more day so stay tuned! Oh and I painted the beach today. I think I'll do a tree tomorrow!

My day 3 painting

Day Three Workshop Review:
Today was the last day of the workshop and we sure did fit a lot of painting and information into three days.  Credit goes to Elizabeth Mowry for her organized plan for the workshop and to our wonderful Volunteers from the Southeastern Pastel Society. Their hard work made it easy for the artists to concentrate on painting. Breakfast and lunch was provided and so no time was wasted.  It made for such a pleasant and relaxing workshop experience.

Today was a day spent on painting. We were able to finish what we had started or start something new. Elizabeth was able to give everyone plenty of individual help.  She also took shared with us one of her teaching exercises called Learning Circles. I am going to give it a try so I will have to leave you with that little tease until I can get to it!  The workshop ended with another longer feedback session. Elizabeth encouraged everyone to share their thoughts so we all left with lots of ideas.

It is usually my goal to come home from a workshop and work on the ideas and techniques I've learned. I don't know how much time I will have to do that since I am gearing up to go to IAPS and our big Southwest Adventure in a about 10 days!  I have a lot of organizing to do before I go but one of the big things I got out of the workshop is to learn to slow down and observe. That I will be practicing on this trip so the timing of this workshop was perfect for me!

1 comment:


Bravo Karen for the very beautiful landscape paintings !!!