Congratulations 2020 Dakota Pastel Contest Winners!

Along with recognition of the winning artists, we would like to thank all who entered the 1st Annual Dakota Pastel Contest putting your work on display for other artists to view. The number of entries were well beyond our expectations as we were developing this new venture for Dakota Art! The response was very positive to having Emerging and Established categories, accentuated by the fact that each quarter the emerging side had twice as many entries as established.   

Kudos and infinite thanks to our quarterly Jurors (Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Desmond O’Hagan, Tony Allain, and Dawn Emerson) for riding the learning curve with us and doing a yeoman’s job of thoughtfully and professionally viewing and carefully selecting the quarterly and ultimately the final winning pastel paintings!



Melissa Breault
Toward the Within
Tara Will
End of Summer
Susan Ellis
The Long Haul
Yael Maimon
Getting Fresh Air
Olga Abramova
The Apples
Glen Maxion
Summer Effervescence
Christine Troyer
Winter Light

Toward the Within: Melissa Breault
This magnificent piece is a testament to what portraiture can be. Detail is executed with such intention and love that the viewer is moved to stop and touch with our eyes each blade of grass and every detail of the figure-- just as the artist did. Beyond masterful technical skill, this piece reaches beyond the surface to make a visceral connection with humanity, nature, and time.

End of Summer: Tara Will
A dramatic viewpoint of these sunflowers on a full sheet of paper is stunning and has great balance of value and colour. The juxtaposition of light against dark and the economy of strokes especially in the center flower and the fleshy leaf at the top is masterful.

The Long Haul: Susan Ellis
This piece is stunning in every way. The graphic composition, use of color, and mark making is confident, understated, and gripping. This piece feels timeless in both its emotive story, and in the impeccable skill the artist displays with each stroke. Truly masterful!

Getting Fresh Air: Yael Maimon
A beautiful pastel that has a nice combination of bold strokes, unique colors, and interesting shapes. The pink and light purple touches makes this pastel sing. Well done!


The Apples: Olga Abramova
This outdoor still life caught my eye with its unusual high key values. Sensitive use of complementary colors and expressive mark making.

Summer Effervescence: Glen Maxion
This pastel has a great sense of movement. The contrast of warm skin tones against cool water colors creates depth and atmosphere.

Winter Light: Christine Troyer
This painting impressed me from the beginning. It is a masterful capture of low winter light with its deep shadows. I am most impressed by the excellent value work and use of lost and found areas that keeps your eye on the focal point in the lower left sweet spot. Appealing complementary colorwork, with the brilliant blues of the snow juxtaposed with the oranges of the bushes and willows, makes for a real winner.



Alec Hall
We Have Lift-Off
Oxana Babkina
Pale Roses
Cindy McBride
For Love of Culture
Margaret Stadnyk
Mary Moores
The Big Catch
Greg Stone
David Sweet
Covid Warrior



EMERGING 1st $1000
We Have Lift-Off: Alec Hall
The composition of this image perfectly reflects the experience of "collecting" a horse and rider's unified power as they sail flawlessly over a jump. The artist has skillfully harnessed the impact of color and design, tension, and detail in this intimately focused composition. Bravo!!

EMERGING 2nd $500
Pale Roses: Oxana Babkina
A very successful pastel that creates realism in a uniquely stylish way. The warm and cool colors are effective in depicting depth and volume.

EMERGING 3rd $300
For Love of Culture: Cindy McBride
A beautiful painting of a girl in profile. The colours and flicks of light that dance around the hair, face and dress all marry well together to make a truly successful painting.

EMERGING 4th $200
Tiger: Margaret Stadnyk
This piece is a tour de force of texture, design, storytelling, technique, and observation. It is beyond being an image of a animal, in that it captures the true nature of this cat's comfortable confidence. Each time I see this piece I feel my neck stretching, and if I had a tail it would curl as well!

EMERGING 5th $100
The Big Catch: Mary Moores

This pastel has solid technique and excellent use of color. It is also very effective in blending sketchy loose shapes with more defined shapes and edges.

EMERGING 5th $100
Greg Stone 
Sometimes the feeling of a color can only be communicated by a poetic painter. Through the beautiful choice of color relationships, scale, composition, and marks, this artist has created a work that conveys a luminous shadow, and vast sense of space, and grandeur. This painting is a celebration of pastel color.

EMERGING 5th $100
Covid Warrior: David Sweet
This pastel's strong use of contrasting colors expresses the intensity of the scene. A very successful pastel that shows so much in the subject's eyes.