Dustbuster News

Volume XXXIII, Issue 4 July/August 2022

Letter From the SPS President


Hi Pastelists,


I hope your summer has begun with a lot of time to paint your masterpiece for our fall exhibit.  Entry has begun and I look forward to seeing your new creations in person at the Alpharetta Arts Center in the fall exhibit “All About Pastel.”  Stay tuned, we will be offering a couple of free demos in November, along with the duration of our exhibit.  Also, the sign up for Linda Richichi’s workshop is now open.  Sign up for members only is through July 30 and then signup will be open to non-members.


Congratulations to our members who were accepted in the IAPS exhibition!  Just a reminder to set your goals annually for the exhibitions you want to enter and keep painting new and exciting artwork.  Let your own personal voice be heard in your artwork.  Continue to paint the uniqueness that is you.  As you paint consistently, the quality of your art will continue to climb.


Continue to enter and you will achieve your goals and remember this quote from a master creator:


“To be successful you must be unique, you must be so different

that if people want what you have, they must come to you to get it”.

Walt Disney

Happy Painting,


Founder & President

Member News now Shared on Website and Instagram

Sharing your news with SPS members has become easier than ever!  We have a “Member Accomplishments” as well as a “Member Hosted Events” page dedicated to getting the word out! In addition, anything that you want shared will also be shared on the SPS Instagram feed which also populates on our FaceBook main page.  Member Accomplishments includes any awards, exhibits or publications. *Member Hosted Events includes workshops and art events that you are teaching or sponsoring in your area.  Basically, anything that’s happening in your art world can be shared with other members, followers and visitors to our website. We want to help you to get the word out there and to celebrate. Simply use the Share News Link in the box above or within the Members Only Area when you log in with your user name and password.  You don’t even have to wait for a specific date/deadline.  So, what are you waiting on?  Please share!

*only  workshops or events being taught or held by a member will be publicized. 

Facebook Updates

SPS Member's Facebook Page

Paint N’ Grow

SPS Facebook Member Only Group:

A Place to Learn, Grow & Share

We are very pleased that our SPS Private Group page has grown to 152 members who are posting their work, sharing comments and ideas which is one of the intentions of our Facebook group. Our SPS group page is a wonderful way for all of us to interact with one another irrespective of our geo-locations.

Paint N’ Grow was created to benefit SPS members who join our FB Group and is going strong! We have been thrilled to highlight fellow master pastellists to date, Nancy Nowak, Margaret Dyer, Linda Richichi, and currently Marsha Hamby Savage.  We are so grateful for their time and contributions to the Paint N Grow series!  

We announced at the beginning of June that we are switching gears slightly to have our featured artist span a two-month period.  We hope this will provide a more relaxed pace for members to learn from the content, lessons and demos offered.  With the additional time we hope fellow SPS members are encouraged to practice what they’ve learned & then participate by posting their work and engaging in direct feedback opportunities with our scheduled artists.  And for anything you miss – all featured content and posting discussions are archived under the ‘Guides’ tab for easy, anytime access.  

Many thanks to Marsha for our latest content

Finally, we want to say thanks to everyone who has and continues to participate by sharing their latest works, asking for tips, ideas and resources.  Please keep all the great interactions going and if you have any resources or helpful content you would like to share, please reach out to our FB Admins (Allison Woodward or Iris Dayoub) to have that information added to the ‘guides’ section of the FB page.


Sneak peek for July-August: Orit Rueben, SPS Member and Award winning impressionist painter will feature content focused on Plein Air painting.  Summer is a perfect time of the year to get outdoors with your easels and palettes!

Using Guides on our Members Facebook Page

There is a section on the Members Facebook page that is titled Guides.  Think of Guides as the Modules you have in any learning course.  Each Module contains a series of posts.  Rather than scrolling through all the posts to find, for example, the lessons on trees by Nancy Nowak that was our Paint N’ Grow module for February, you can click on the Guides tab in the top menu to access any of those lessons. 

Right now we have a Guide for each of the Paint N’ Grow series. There is one for February with Nancy Nowak on painting trees and another for March with Margaret Dyer on using values in our paintings. 

We also have created a Guide as a place to put valuable information that is readily available, such as a document on lighting equipment. It is labeled Resources. 

We hope that you will find the Guides a useful and convenient way to access information in our private Facebook group. Suggestions and questions are welcome. Email me at iris@dayoub.com.



SPS Programs Update

All programs are held via Zoom


We will be taking a break during the summer with our programming while we schedule our 2022-2023 line up. We hope that you all will stay connected and continue to create during that time!


Exhibition Updates

'Make Your Mark' Online International Juried Exhibition

As a reminder, Our ‘Make Your Mark’  2022 Online International Juried Exhibition is now available for viewing on our website https://southeasternpastel.org/exhibitions/

Thank you again to all of the artists worldwide who entered this exhibition and made it a huge success.  We had a record number of entries representing artists from 22 states and 17 countries, so it truly was an international exhibition.  Congratulations to all the artists who were juried into the show and the award winners.  Also, we would like to thank Tony Allain, our Juror, for his hard work judging the show and narrowing his selections to 121 from the 514 entries submitted.  He also provided a wonderful pastel demonstration as part of the awards ceremony.  Please visit the Exhibitions page on our website to see all of the beautiful paintings selected for the show.

"Sunlight in the Corner," awarded Best in Show in the SPS 'Make your Mark' 2022 Online Juried Exhibition

Live Fall Exhibition

Our Fall 2022 Exhibition Prospectus for “All About Pastels” is available on ShowSubmit.  This show will be held at the Alpharetta Art Center from October 31st through November 29th. The exhibition will serve to advocate and inform the public about the medium of pastels.  We will have demonstrations, generous supply donations from our vendors along with technical information about what pastel is and how it is used.  This is a juried national show and works will be selected by signature artist Linda Richichi from Sarasota, FL.  Linda will be accompanying the exhibit with a 3 day workshop on Luminosity that you won’t want to miss!  More information and registration for this workshop will be listed in the events section of our website in the coming months. 

Alpharetta Arts Center

SPS Workshop Update

SPS Workshop Update

Creating Luminosity with Linda Richichi

Learn three secrets to creating a luminous painting; one that has an inner glow. In this 3-day workshop, experiment with the medium of your choice using prismatic color. Paint-along demos will assist you to make your colors sing. Discover how to bring life to your painting. 

Workshop is on Friday, Saturday, Sunday November 5, 6, 7 (9am -4pm) and will be held at the Alpharetta Art Center located at 238. Canton St. Alpharetta, Ga. Space is limited to 15 so we will honor first come, first serve basis. Linda Richichi graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Art from SUNY. Her work has exhibited extensively in the United States and she has received top awards and signature status from the Pastel Society of America. Having had an experience with synesthesia  (hearing color) allowed Richichi to have a more extensive vision for color. She leads workshops both online and in person around the country. www.lindarichichi.com


SPS Member Spotlight

Featured Artist: Dennis Hicks
By: Roseann Gaglio

In the painting “View of Toledo,” Greek-born artist “El Greco,” conveys a dark, nasty sky threatening city buildings that practically “crawl across the painting . . .  curving lines throughout the hill give the impression that the vista is moving, that it might actually be alive.” **

So much for structure.

If there ever was a painter who likes perpendicular it is Southeastern Pastel Society artist, Dennis Hicks. He’s a building guy, a street scene man, an old church fan, who has an eye for telephone lines and boat mooring lines. And yet, he says, “‘View Of Toledo’ is my favorite painting!”

How goes? It went, as far back as on the Thomasville, Georgia farm where he grew up amongst four siblings. His retreat was the library. There he had discovered books on his loves: history, geography and art. He read about the lives of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Non-fiction thrilled him to the degree that he doesn’t read any fiction today. (It has to be true; it doesn’t have to be historical). When he read a biography of El Greco multiple times, he began a journey.

“My love of painting and art came from reading a lot of different biographies of artists,” he says. He researched one painter after another and discovered he had more interest in the old masters such as Rembrandt, di Vinci, Vasco da Gama, and what they did, where they traveled, than modern artists.

As a child of six or seven, Dennis saw things differently from friends and siblings.

They drew stick figures; he drew dimensional objects. “I learned to see from the inside out, not the other way around,” he says. “And, not using only lines to draw. I liked drawing because it drew attention to me. It was something that I could do that others didn’t have the same ability.”

He may have been the kid who drew, but he didn’t see drawing as a way off the farm. He had set his sights on baseball. “All the way up through 10th grade, I drew, but, my love was baseball, play baseball, coach baseball or maybe one day be an umpire,” he says. “I was good, but never going to be great enough to play in college or in the pros.”

Instead of a sports career, Dennis became a painter. He has had sales and management positions, but continued to paint through his life, and now, in his retiring years he devotes full time to painting. It is the activity that he did with his wife of almost 50 years, Tina, an SPS member who died in 2021. Dennis says, “I’m not an innovator; I consider myself a draftsman. My wife was an idea person. She could come up with something out of nowhere and make something.”

Dennis’ work doesn’t come out of nowhere. He travels on Google Earth Pro finding painting references, “especially for a person like me who likes lines, perspective and churches. I can go to Paris, travel down the street, go 10 feet, take a photo, walk another 10 feet and take a photo. It’s my way of doing something I love, which is traveling.”

In art, as in life, Dennis says he’s wired for structure. But, he really likes his comfort zone. He prefers pastels as a medium, draws and paints in realism, and avoids abstract. His oils, occasional watercolors and small  portraits in colored pencil, have to “have a mood, or tell a story,” he says. “I’ve never been interested in painting abstractedly. I call my work semi-realism.”

Beginning at age 12, Dennis took Saturday basic drawing classes where he was introduced to still life drawing. He discovered that he was more of a draftsman than an artist. He loved lines, perspective, buildings and structures, on the inside or out. Around that time he envisioned a career in art, perhaps as an illustrator, preferably for a sports magazine.

First, a couple of years in the military. In Germany he worked in the tank battalion as a military draftsman. Later, he got orders to Vietnam and was placed in the First of the Seventh Calvary combat infantry (General Custer’s Little Big Horn claim to fame). He spent 10 months out in the field; experienced fire fights; got shot twice, got a purple heart, a bronze star and two army accommodations.

Dennis got accepted to Ringling College of Art in Sarasota, FL, where he met Tina, also an art student. Finances were tight for a “farm guy” and his new environment awed him, with “all the openness.” Art classes required pricey supplies and at the time, he discovered, he could buy a whole 64 set of Rembrandt pastels for the same amount of money as 10 tubes of oil paints! Economics played the part of how he got started using pastels. Their features continue to attract him to this medium.

“The best thing about pastels is their immediacy,” he says. “I could just layer one upon another, mess up, start over quickly. I love the medium because it allows me to put things into action, and the immediacy of doing that.”

Dennis Hicks

Also, the stick form of pastels allows full control, especially for producing perpendicular lines for city scenes. Yet, at Ringling, he fell in love with the color, the light and looseness of the impressionists. Torn, he says. “I’m a draftsman in my head, who loves line and structure. My heart wants to paint like Monet or Pissarro. But, my head says to paint like Leonardo di Vinci. I struggle with that all the time.”

Dennis uses pastel pencils or Nupastels to lay out a composition. Next come Rembrandts for blocking shapes. After misting with a fixative, he applies Blue Earth or Sennelier or Schmincke pastels. He paints mostly on UArt 400/500. As the underpainting may emerge shockingly different than what he imagines, “It takes about a third or halfway through as I’m working when I think, ‘Hey, it’s starting to pop!’ Sometimes I’ll start over and tell myself to slow down; think things through, don’t be in a hurry.”

In his earlier years with Tina, they pursued art jobs, mostly in advertising. Later he, worked in sales and management positions in the beef industry while Tina continued a career in commercial art. The painting continued for both, but never side by side.

Dennis offers this advice for multiple artists in the family: “Never offer advice on a piece unless the other asked specifically a question. If you are in that situation, do it guardingly, because at times you’re going to bump heads. Your forte might not be hers or vice versus. Tina was such a talented design and idea person, where my forte was execution and technique. In the end we were a good team.”

“Café et Champagne avec Petale de Rose (Champagne with Rose Petal)”
About “Café et Champagne avec Petale de Rose (Champagne with Rose Petal),” Dennis said, “If you are in Paris or Washington DC, go by a bake shop/rest called Laduree’. Have a coffee/pastry and enjoy the setting. Sunlight comes thru the windows onto the marble top tables. You get these wonderful pastel colored reflections from the table, the silver cups, the glasses. This overall composition just drew my attention, as did the rose petal sitting in the glass near the middle. That is another story.”
"Our Lady of Halle”
About “Our Lady of Halle,” Dennis said, “There is this beautiful church in Halle, Belgium, St Martin’s Basilica, that we discovered on an ancestral trip a few years ago. As I was taking photos, looking up thru the camera lens, I discovered this wonderful architectural composition. Sometimes things fall into your lap.  I like the lines here, the strong upward motion of the  towers towards the heavens, subdued palette, and as always, perspective intrigues me!”

Over the years Dennis has taken workshops, experimented with techniques, and listened to other members suggestions. However, as in baseball he “learned to keep things between the lines,” he says. “Other opinions are great; I like their advice. In the end it’s my choice. I  want to paint the way I want to paint.”

His goal with each painting or drawing today is to tell a story. “I want my audience or to see or feel something,” he says. “That’s my painting intent. My success is their reaction. Did I tell the story? Did they feel what I’m trying to get across? Everything I do has to do that.”

“Everything” includes selecting the name of the subject matter,  painting the subject, framing the painting then shipping the painting to a buyer. He offers two types of frames and chooses whether to mat or leave off the mat, as he cuts the mats himself.

“I always select the name first,” he says. Why? Because the subject must have enough meaning for him to paint it. The title gives him direction. “It gives me some structure to tell the story. And, I don’t select names straight off the cuff. I research them.

Sometimes I’ll take a week before I’ll start a painting because I’m trying to get the title right. It has to do with my structure.”

Dennis enters juried shows and displays his work in different venues. If he gets a piece in the show, “that’s the ultimate pleasure,” he says. “If I get award, that’s icing on the cake. I paint because I like doing it well. I’m at a point in my life in which I feel like if it’s artistically correct, that’s my best measure of success, awards and stuff, not withstanding.”

A short time after Dennis joined SPS, he became Treasurer. “S P S members talk and live art,” he says. “If you’ll listen, you’ll learn a lot. SPS has such a myriad of talented people and internationally acclaimed artists who just enjoy painting.”

Going forward, he’ll continue to express little narratives of a scene, and “find some joy in living,” he says. “I want my paintings to tell a story with some meaning. That is my ultimate goal.”

View Dennis Hicks works at dhicksfineart.com.

**Christine Zappella, “El Greco, View of Toledo,” in Smarthistory, August 9, 2015

Other News and Updates

Upcoming Show Entry Opportunities


Deadline: Jul. 3, 2022Las Laguna Art Gallery announces a call to artists for 2022 – Small works – Big Talent, an ONLINE and IN-PERSON show, from August 4-27, 2022. More info. Contact: email or call 949-505-0950.

Deadline: Jul. 11, 2022  GREAT LAKES PASTEL SOCIETY announces call to artists for their ONLINE NATIONAL JURIED EXHIBITION from  Aug. 27 – Oct. 8, 2022Prospectus: https://showsubmit.com/pdf/GLPS-National-Exhibit-2022.pdf or Show Submit: https://showsubmit.com/

Deadline: Jul. 31, 2022  Camelback Gallery announces a call to all visual artists, for a 2-month ONLINE Solo Art Show, 2-month main page slider promotion & main page exhibition link, Welcome Eblast, and future links in all e-mailing marketing, published announcement at Art Week and Art Base, two media images for artist’s personal use, Facebook and Instagram Welcome, Weekly Facebook and Instagram Posts, Dates for the shows listed on website: More info.

Deadline: Aug. 31, 2022  Southwest Florida Pastel Society to hold  2022 National Juried Show Online from Sept. 16 to Oct. 31, 2022. SWFPS website. Download Prospectus

Deadline: Aug. 31, 2022.   MidAmerica Pastel Society announces the 2022 INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION Adventures in Pastel, from October 6-29, 2022. It will be held at the Tim Murphy Gallery at Merriam Community Center, Merriam, Kansas•  Complete information is outlined in the PROSPECTUS.

Deadline: Aug.1, 2022.  Artists Network announces a call to artists for the 12th Annual Artistic Excellence competition. More info. Contact: email

Deadline: Aug. 1, 2022.  Las Laguna Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA announces a call to artists for an upcoming ONLINE and IN-PERSON art exhibition, Textures, Shapes, Patterns or Forms from September 1-30, 2022. More info. Contact: email or call 949-505-0950.

Deadline: Aug. 29, 2022  Artists Network announces a call to artists for the 24th Annual Pastel 100 art competition. More info. Contact: email

Deadline: Aug. 31, 2022.  Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY announces a call to artists for a juried art exhibition, A Show of Heads from November 18 – December 18, 2022. Open to all media, the artwork must includes and/or be based on the portrayal and interpretation of the human head. More info. Contact: email or call 518-567-7858.

Deadline: Jul. 11, 2022  Philadelphia Pastel Society presents the First National Open Juried Exhibition held from Sept. 12, 2022 to Oct. 14, 2022 at Community Arts Center, Wallingford, PA. Download Prospectus


Deadline: July 15, 2022 Pastel Society of Maine presents 2022 Annual Open Juried Exhibition, Pastels Only, held at the Saco Museum, 371 Main Street, Saco ME. From August 24 – October 21, 2022. Download prospectus: showsubmit.com.

Deadline: Aug. 1, 2022  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club present the 2022 Juried Associates and Members’ Show at the Lyme Art Association 2D & 3D Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT 06371. Download Prospectus

Deadline:  Aug.15, 2022  Vermont Pastel Society is pleased to host the 2022 Juried Show at Vermont Artisan Designs, 106 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT from Oct. 7 to Nov. 18, 2022.  Download Prospectus

Deadline: Sept. 19, 2022   Degas Pastel Society to hold 19th Biennial National Exhibition at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Northwest Florida State College100 College Blvd. E, Building 110 in Niceville, FL. Dates Nov. 11 to Dec. 16, 2022. Download Prospectus


(Member of Excellence)

Member of Excellence is awarded to any member whose work has been juried into 3 SPS juried exhibitions. This MOE status allows the SPS designation to be added to the artist’s signature and credentials.

Since our transition to a new website, we have added the feature of tracking our Member of Excellence point system on the website in the membership system. As a result, we have simplified the point system and have rounded up one/half point tabulations in our current system to a full point.

    2.5 to 3 pts.

    1.5 to 2 pts.

    .5 to 1pt.

  • All SPS members, from this point forward, will be awarded 1 point for acceptance in each Juried show.

Continuous membership in SPS is a requirement of continuous point accrual and MOE designation. A lapse of annual membership will cause members to lose their MOE designation and points accrued.

Zoom Reminders

About Registering and Receiving a link for an SPS Program:  SPS has to purchase an add-on fee if we have over 100 registrants attending our programs. 

  • So please don’t register if you can’t attend the program
  • The programs are recorded and a link is sent to all members, regardless of whether you registered for the program or not.

About the Waiting Room: 

When you open the zoom link you will get a message saying you are in the waiting room. It just means that the Zoom host, Program Chair and guest Program Presenter are still working out technical details.  

Volunteering: The SPS ZOOM Team is seeking additional volunteers to help with

  • Managing Zoom programs
  • Editing program videos
  • Organizing Zoom events

If you are interested in joining a fun and creative team please contact Terry at zoomevents@southeasternpastel.org.

Amazon Smiles


SPS invites its members, family and friends to support our society through the Amazon Smiles program.  The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible Amazon Smile purchases.  It’s a very simple way to make your everyday purchases benefit SPS.  There is no extra cost to you.  Simply click on the Amazon Smiles box at the bottom of our web page.  You will be prompted to choose a charity.

Once you designate Southeastern Pastel Society as your charity, you will simply make your normal purchases via the AmazonSmile.com browser.  It’s important to remember, only purchases at smile.amazon.com or through AmazonSmile activated in the Amazon Shopping app will support SPS.  To make it easy, you can download the Amazon Smile app or save the AmazonSmile link on your computer’s browser.  We appreciate your support and look forward to the benefiting from the impact that this program offers.


Volunteers Needed - Come Join our Team!

SPS continues to evolve as part of the global renaissance of the pastel medium.  We have become a sought-after community of pastel artists and Southeastern Pastel is actively creating new benefits for our members who are from around the world.  All benefits are made entirely possible through our member volunteer team. There is no better way to get engaged with the SPS society whether you’re new to pastel or an established artist.  We strongly encourage you to join our team and help further distinguish SPS as a premier pastel society.

One of our most recent volunteers says “though only 1 month new to SPS, myself and another new member volunteered for FB Admins of our new Private Group.  Mind you – we had no previous experience as a social media admin – but with the support of other SPS members we were able to help build and launch our new Group!  Best of all, it has allowed me to immediately start getting to know the leadership and engage with our fellow master pastelists – what a great way to truly become part of the Society!”   Allison Woodward, FB Administrator

Our most urgent needs include: Exhibitions Chair & Team Members, Social Media Administrators, Publicity Chair, Communications Co-Chair & Zoom/Eventbrite Co-Chair.  Don’t let the titles daunt you! Key criteria are strong organizational & communication skills, willingness to volunteer and sharing your passion for pastels.  To learn more about these opportunities and  to join our amazing group of volunteers, please contact us at vpresident@southeasternpastel.org