Your Ah Haa Moment: Pastel course at Ah Haa, reception at Capella

Your Ah Haa Moment: Pastel course at Ah Haa, reception at Capella

[click “Play” button to hear Greg Barnes on his art]

G. Barnes pleinair_Yellowstone_ For three days, Friday, August 7 – Sunday, August 9, visiting artist Greg Barnes teaches a course in plein air (in the open air) pastel techniques at Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts, walking students step-by-step through the process that begins with selecting a subject and ends with a finished product. The intensive also includes show and tell: Barnes plans to demonstrate the techniques he teaches and offer theories about color, composition and value, which become the grammar underlying future work.

Examples of Greg Barnes’ landscapes are on display at Capella outside the main ballroom on the second floor, where an artist reception is being held on Saturday, August 8, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

G. Barnes Jud Weibe trail_ In the 19th century, a group of renegade artists known as the Impressionists changed the course of art history in a number of significant ways. For one thing, they opened the door to modernism. One of their number, Edgar Degas, put pastel art on the map.

Before Degas the word “pastel” was synonymous with effete color. Collectors did not take the medium seriously. Degas, however, became captivated by the interplay of light and form moving across a stage as he watched ballet and opera with rapt attention. Many of the artist’s well-known images were of ballerinas – and many were painted in pastel, which became the artist’s preferred tool of the trade.

For Impressionists, landscapes were a beard, a great way to disguise their real purpose: to record constantly changing light, form, and color. Overnight, purple and blue mountains, confetti colored buildings and fuschia grass became perfectly acceptable, even wonderful to behold. We see all of that and more in the work of Greg Barnes, a direct descendant of the tradition, whose colored sticks animate his subjects.

Barnes received his formal training at Wake Forest University, where he studied painting, printmaking, sculpture and figure drawing.  His career  included technical illustration, computer graphics, computer-based training, and multimedia programming.  After 9/11, he and his wife Janet decided to take a leap of faith, pursuing a fine art career full time.

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