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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

The Alchemist of Pastel Painting

Working in pastels is much like being an alchemist; you don't need gimmicks, your imagination only limits you, and both value and color are addressed simultaneously. Scottsdale pastel artist Beverly Carlson-Bradshaw got her start in the wilds of Red Lodge, Montana, where she grew up on a farm until she was 12-years-old. During those years, she admits to being 'horse crazy' and loving to draw animals. Bev describes the time as follows, "I think I always had the desire to create from a young age.

Bev recalls, “My influences in art started with my uncle giving me a set of pastel pencils and my father teaching me how to draw a deer." In high school, Bev moved to oil painting; however, in the long run, she found the pastels were more appealing because of the combination of drawing and painting rendering techniques. When she was 26 years old, she moved to Seattle to work as an Interior Designer, taking night classes at the University of Washington as time allowed her to keep up with her pastel work.

Bev describes, "One of my greatest opportunities during this time was working four hours, once a week, for a year with Clark Elster, a pastel painter in Seattle. He is still a mentor to me today." When asked how she managed to get to Arizona, she said, "The last ten years before our retirement, my husband and I had been renting a house in Carefree during Mariners Spring Training baseball. So, when we were looking to move from Seattle, we thought, why not Carefree? It's always been a second home. That was in February 2018." Now retired from the interior design world, Bev is focused full-time on her initial interest in pastels. She works in her home's newly enclosed second-story patio deck that she's turned into an art studio.

"I think I always had the desire to create from a young age. My influences in art started with my uncle giving me a set of pastel pencils and my father teaching me how to draw a deer."

Bev states, "Art has been a long-time passion since I was young. I've dabbled in oils, watercolor, colored pencil, and clay sculpture and look forward to experimenting more with mixed media with my pastels." She adds, "I feel my art and the subjects I paint are all part of my growing up in the country, the landscapes of the surrounding area, and the nature that speaks to me. Being surrounded by animals in my youth, horses, cows, dogs, cats, and wildlife will always be subjects I am interested in illustrating."

Bev exhibits through three arts organizations; she is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and exhibits at Stagecoach Village Gallery in Cave Creek. She belongs to and shows with the Arizona Pastel Artists Association and the Pastel Society of the West Coast. Her work is available through The Finer Arts Gallery in Cave Creek. Artist Beverly Carlson-Bradshaw loves to share her knowledge of pastel painting and offers classes and workshops through the Sonoran Arts League and the Holland Fine Art Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.


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