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Introducing The Top 5 Winners of This Year’s Pastel 100 Competition

The number of entries for the 19th Annual Pastel 100 Competition totaled more than 2,500. That’s a lot of paintings — and a lot of great pastel talent!Pastel Journal magazine is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Annual Pastel 100 Competition.We’ll have reproductions of all the prize-winning paintings, and artist interviews and juror comments, in the April 2018 issue of Pastel Journal. Until then, congratulations to all of 2017 winners!

Aurelio Rodriguez López was born in Génave, Spain. He began his art training during his teenage years by taking classes at Baeza Art School in Baeza.

Throughout his career, he has exhibited his work in all corners of the world. From all across Spain, Madrid to China, and New York to London, Rodrigues’s work has been seen and loved by viewers for decades.

Pastel Journal Award of Excellence ($2,500) — Jacob Aguiar

“I can remember as a kid staying up until midnight drawing comic book characters with friends, or sitting in the car while my parents had to run errands so I could draw what I saw out the window,” says Jacob Aguiar.

In 2011, Aguiar took a leave from his medical studies to pursue art in the small Northern California town of Sebastopol. Not sure of what medium he wished to work in, he happened upon the landscape pastels of Richard McKinley during an internet search. “Needless to say, I was hooked immediately,” he notes.

He’s since graduated from school. And today, he spends three days a week as a naturopathic doctor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and devotes his time-off to his love of art.

Ruth Richeson Pastel GOLD Award (pastels and surfaces valued over $2,000) — Nancy Nowak

Nancy Nowak earned her B.A. at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1981, where her main interests were enameling and oil painting.

After owning calligraphy and printing businesses, she rededicated herself and her life to her art, striving to evoke an emotional response and awareness to the everyday beauty that surrounds us.

Nowak’s work is representational in style but with an impressionist flair. The artist also offers workshops and classes in pastel, focusing on landscapes.

Richeson Pastel SILVER Award (pastels and surfaces valued over $1,500) — Corey Pitkin

Corey Pitkin is a predominantly self-taught artist. He won multiple awards from regional and national competitions by the time he graduated high school.

After a “loss of creative drive” in his 20s, the artist renewed his love for art-making and has since gone from a relatively unknown to an award winner in local, national and international competitions.

Richeson Pastel BRONZE Award (pastels and surfaces valued at $1,000) — Colette Odya Smith

Colette Odya Smith earned her degree in fine art, humanities and education from Macalester College in St. Paul. She spent about 10 years teaching art at a Wisconsin school while raising two children and “making art around the edges.”

For the last two decades, she has focused on her painting career. “Laying pastels over a watercolor underpainting, I have developed working methods that expand the expressive range of this versatile medium, at times using ripped and layered surfaces, textured elements and gold and copper leaf.