Dublin artist takes second place in Pastel Society show

  • "Monti" by Maryann Mullett of Dublin is one of the pastel works featured in the show currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    "Monti" by Maryann Mullett of Dublin is one of the pastel works featured in the show currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

  •  “Catching the Last Light,” a pastel painting by Sally Gordon Shea of Bedford, shows a Vermont landscape scene just as the afternoon light fades into dusk. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    “Catching the Last Light,” a pastel painting by Sally Gordon Shea of Bedford, shows a Vermont landscape scene just as the afternoon light fades into dusk.
    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit, "The 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Exhibition," includes 88 pastel works from artists all over New England, including the above piece, "Hive," by Norma Johnsen of Kennebunk, Maine.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit, "The 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Exhibition," includes 88 pastel works from artists all over New England, including the above piece, "Hive," by Norma Johnsen of Kennebunk, Maine.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • "Whiter Shade of Pale," by Paula Dorr of Grantham.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    "Whiter Shade of Pale," by Paula Dorr of Grantham.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • A pastel beach landscape entitled "Surf at Summer's End" by Denise Rainis of Gilford.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    A pastel beach landscape entitled "Surf at Summer's End" by Denise Rainis of Gilford.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • "The Thinking Chair," by Dublin artist Maryann Mullett is featured in the 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Show, currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

    "The Thinking Chair," by Dublin artist Maryann Mullett is featured in the 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Show, currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

  • "Monti" by Maryann Mullett of Dublin is one of the pastel works featured in the show currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.
  •  “Catching the Last Light,” a pastel painting by Sally Gordon Shea of Bedford, shows a Vermont landscape scene just as the afternoon light fades into dusk. <br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery's current exhibit, "The 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Exhibition," includes 88 pastel works from artists all over New England, including the above piece, "Hive," by Norma Johnsen of Kennebunk, Maine.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sharon Arts Gallery host pastel paintings.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "Whiter Shade of Pale," by Paula Dorr of Grantham.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • A pastel beach landscape entitled "Surf at Summer's End" by Denise Rainis of Gilford.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • "The Thinking Chair," by Dublin artist Maryann Mullett is featured in the 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Members' Show, currently on display at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough.

Walk into some of the country’s finest museums, and you might be able to search out a handful of pastel pieces. Walk into the Sharon Arts Gallery’s current exhibit, and you’ll be surrounded by them.

March and April is the time for pastel artists to shine at the gallery, which is currently featuring the Pastel Society of New Hampshire’s member’s show.

“I love going to a pastel show. To see 88 pastels all at once is amazing, and it’s amazing to see the different approaches,” said Sally Gordon Shea of Bedford, the society’s exhibition chair, in an interview Monday. “Some are abstract, some are impressionistic and some are photorealistic. It’s always thrilling to see that many paintings at once.”

Shea said she herself submitted two pieces to the show: “A Patch of Blue” and “Catching the Last Light,” both landscape pieces she painted from photographs.

“I started in oils, but pastels are pure pigment, and there’s nothing between you and your canvas. There’s no brush or palate knives, it’s just you and the paper,” she said. “It’s pure color, and it glides on the paper, catches in the texture, and when it’s well lit the light can get into that texture and crystallize it and make it glow. It’s just an exciting medium.”

While the society meets in Manchester, its more than 100 members submitted works from all over the state, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts — including Dublin artist Maryann Mullett.

Mullett said in an interview Tuesday that she was raised on fine arts, and has been involved with them since high school. Throughout the ’80s, she worked as a freelance illustrator for Yankee magazine. But her lifelong work has been a mix of pen and ink, watercolor and oil.

Four years ago, however, she joined Antrim’s Art Spectrum group, and was introduced for the first time to pastels. And she said she’s never looked back; she now works solely in that medium.

“I love the luminosity,” she said. “You can get very brilliant layers, and some of the underpainting can show through, and that’s what I love.”

Mullett said her graphic arts background still shows through in the composition of her paintings. She likes to work in close-ups, show high detail, and high contrast between light and shadow.

Her close-up painting of a slatted chair, entitled “The Thinking Chair,” is part of the current show at Sharon Arts. Mullett said she was vacationing in Florida when she came across a gathering of chairs on a trail, set up for hikers to sit and appreciate the hiking trail.

Mullett was struck by the sight of the chairs, looking out on the vast vegetation of the nature trails, and the light shining through the slats. She took several pictures, which she later referred to for her pastel painting.

“The Thinking Chair” was selected for a second-place award by the society . Mullett said she only joined the society last year and this was her first show as part of the society, so she was not expecting to receive any awards. “I just joined the pastel society of New Hampshire, so I was pretty excited just to be in the show, and I didn’t expect to get an award. It’s a big honor,” she said.

Her piece “Monti” depicts a large black and white cat lounging against a multicolored background. The cat belongs to a friend, and the background is actually a patterned rug, Mullet explained. It’s often those small, interesting background details that will attract her to an image, she said, for how they make the object of the painting stand out.

The 8th Annual Pastel Society of New Hampshire Member’s Exhibition runs through April 26. For more information on the Pastel Society, visit www.pastelsocietynh.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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