Congratulations 2021 Dakota Pastel Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the 2021 Dakota Pastel Contest Winners! And a big thanks to ALL who entered the 2nd Annual Contest - putting your work on display for other artists to view. Once again we were pleased with the number of entries and astounded by the quality of work- in BOTH categories. The participation on the Emerging side is especially rewarding and great to see.

A Big Thanks to our team of Jurors for the 2021 Contest: Richard McKinley, Marla Baggetta, Jen Evenhus and Alain Picard. We recognize the time and effort it takes to view so many entries and the difficulty of making the final selections. Your thoughtfulness and professionalism in jurying each Quarter and the Final Winners is appreciated.



Tony Allain
Bennybeg Farm
Corey Pitkin
An Introduction
Anna Lapygina
Dawn Emerson
Blue Skies
TaiMeng Lim
4th Light
Carol Strockwasson
Dissipating Winter Haze
Susan Ellis
Morning on the Plashy Bank

Bennybeg Farm : Tony Allain
This piece is dramatic and captivating! The quality of light carries and strong composition marries with purposeful and economic mark making. Every mark belongs and serves the whole. I kept coming back to this piece over and over again. It literally haunted me!

An Introduction: Corey Pitkin
A triumph of classical realism. From the masterful use of edges, to the exquisite use of color and tonality, this artist has complete control. The design is a tour de force. Everything is there, yet detail is lacking. This is the essence of human vision, the heartfelt experience, versus the encyclopedic minds eye. The photograph has robbed many of the ability to truly see; this artist sees.

Friends: Anna Lapygina
This painting has been executed in a narrower range of values that that soften the image and portray a dream-like quality. I love the point of view that we are given, allowing the viewer to take in the beauty and imagination of childhood, and a most unlikely band of huggable friends. The face, hands and feet are painted with such skill and refinement, and the peripheral characters lend imaginative delight to the viewing experience. It’s a well-balanced design that uses asymmetry and patterning so effectively. Utterly enchanting. Bravo.

Blue Skies: Dawn Emerson
"Blue Skies" has an extraordinary blend of personal vision and skillful execution. The textural layering of elements that combines dynamic abstraction with observed realism is exciting to behold. The hawk perched atop the branch is wrapped in a foil of color and artistry not easily gained by the hands of this skillful artist, what a wonderful and visceral sight.

4th Light: TaiMeng Lim
"4th Light” is one of those paintings that tells a story that almost everyone can relate to. I imagine a story from the past, present, and future. Lanterns were used hundreds of years ago and are still in use today. A small bird, or spirit, returning home, visiting a loved one, bringing light into their life. What does it mean to you? You will be hard-pressed to find a better composition than we see here - the lanterns placed in the perfect angle to pull your eye up to the frame of the window surrounding the little bird who is waiting, perhaps, for the occupants of the house to notice him. The sun shines warmly on the home and window shade, the black of the interior lends eye-catching contrast and the mostly analogous color scheme is perfect for this story. Exquisite!

Dissipating Winter Haze: Carol Strockwasson
Some paintings defy explanation; they are meant to be experienced and felt. This is such a piece. The profound mystery and portrayal of atmospheric space elevate this pastel painting to a level often strived for, but frequently missed in traditional landscape painting. This painting should hang in a museum next to Whistler, Inness, Carlsen, and Harrison as an example of Tonalism at its best.

Morning on the Plashy Bank: Susan Ellis
This painting tells the story of a clam digger who is setting out to harvest clams. Like any great opening scene, it sets our character before us as the hero, with striking design and bold values. Yet the subtle beauty of the color palette leads us in with tenderness and compassion. The contour of the figure is expertly rendered with a perfect balance of positive and negative shapes. Edges are managed beautifully throughout the scene. This painting shows us how a simple subject can be portrayed with great power and empathy.



Sandra O'Brien
I See You
Jill MacDonald
Sunflower Concentration
Zuzana Drobnik
Windswept Limber Pine
Jennifer Blackburn
Sunset on Lincoln Hill
Carol Holland
Quiet Corner
Carolina Dalmas
Orange Peel
Megan Veldee



EMERGING 1st $1000
I See You: Sandra O'Brien
This portrait carries such raw emotion and beauty in its vibrant and lyrical marks. The use of color in the skin has a way of conveying a loving connection to the subject that reads like a beautiful visual shorthand with efficient and economic use of marks. What a joy to observe.

EMERGING 2nd $600
Sunflower Concentration: Jill MacDonald
"Sunflower Concentration" was awarded for its skillful mark-making, emotional use of color and expressive design that yields a powerful visual impact. The close-cropped view of the subject provides a fascinating visual experience as we see bits of turquoise peeking through the sunflowers to contrast cool color against the warmth of the flowers. Ultimately, the mark making is just so rewarding that it provides wonderful energy and expression to the work.

EMERGING 3rd $400
Windswept Limber Pine: Zuzana Drobnik
A striking design leads this landscape with lyrical mark-making and color clarity, as overlapping shapes are held in beautiful tension, allowing us to travel the span of the scene with our eyes, experiencing new levels of delight at each and every turn. Our rugged and resilient tree maintains the lead role in the painting, supported by a magical cloud-filled sky and vista beneath. The artist shares a unique and compelling vision of terra firma with us through the work, elevating it above the mundane into a marvelous view.

EMERGING 4th $300
Sunset on Lincoln Hill: Jennifer Blackburn
This painting ticked every box on what I love to see in a pastel landscape painting. Great composition of shape, line, value and color. They all work together to support the visual design and engage the viewer. The spontaneity of the pastel application is confident and free, allowing the painting to become so much more than just another picture of a beautiful landscape.

EMERGING 5th $150
Quiet Corner: Carol Holland

"Quiet Corner" is a poised example of strong design. There is a subtlety to the arrangement of shapes and treatment of edges that is rewarding to observe. While the palette remains muted, the precise placement of the red door in the composition works to complement the green awnings while anchoring the story. I love the airy shadows accomplished by the artist, revealing sensitive and skillful observation. A simple subject has been elevated to a piece of great art.

EMERGING 5th $150
Orange Peel: 
Carolina Dalmas 
“Orange Peel” is a perfect example of the magic of experimentation. This homemade surface offers endless possibilities when underpainting and layers of pure color are added. Our eyes are rewarded with texture we can feel virtually, through the computer screen - we know it is palpable and delicious! This artist’s palette is one of my favorites - orange and turquoise, with bits of green and yellow, adding a sunlight effect to the upper left corner. This still life is alive with movement and depth as you explore the trajectory of the peel, dance over random marks, and breathe in the tangy orange aroma! This subject could be an analogy of a lazy Sunday morning with breakfast in bed. What do you think?

EMERGING 5th $150
Daniel: Megan Veldee
This is a beautifully done portrait, from the drawing, color, mark making, pose and the composition. It is striking and memorable!