The Power of Pastel with Linda Richichi at 530 Burns

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Sarasota-based artist Linda Richichi makes a triumphant return to pastel painting with a solo exhibition opening this Friday, August 10, at 530 Burns Gallery. Featuring plenty of new and vibrant landscapes from the artist, largely painted plein air, Summer Solo: Linda Richichi showcases the pastel maven at the top of her form as a master of color and light, whether capturing cloud-scenes from Sarasota or the Italian countryside. An opening reception on August 10 runs from 6pm to 8pm and includes a plein air demonstration with the artist from 6pm to 6:30pm.

A celebrated pastel artist in New York, the move down south to Sarasota also prompted a shift to oil painting. And while that was fun for a while, Richichi admits her continued preference for pastel and joy in returning to the medium. “The first time I touched it, I loved it,” she says. “There’s a light that comes from it, and the pigment is so pure.” Made from the same pigments as oils, and rolled into a chalk-life stick but with very little binder, the result is something that Richichi will repeatedly describe as “true,” but could also be called “uncompromising.”

The color of the pastel, once applied, will not change over time, as can happen with oil paints as they dry—this is true. But that is also largely because pastels will never truly settle at all. “If you touch it,” says Richichi, “it will always move.” Some artists take advantage of this aspect as well, smudging their paints on the canvas. Richichi does not. “That dulls it,” she says. Instead, she flips her paintings over and gives them a firm but gentle jostling to dislodge excess pigment, before encasing them in museum glass, which is near invisible and offers protection from both UV light and grubby fingers.

Perhaps painstaking, maybe even a bit precarious, but well worth the effort, as Richichi’s return to pastel painting has already landed her a spot in the highly competitive annual Pastel Society Show in New York, Enduring Brilliance, and the Jack Richeson Company recently released a signature set of Linda Richichi pastels, titled Color and Energy, which can be found locally at Art and Frame.

A third generation colorist, with a fabric artist mother and painter grandfather, speaking the language of color just runs in the family, says Richichi. “I’ve never been afraid of color,” she says. “It’s within all of us. We just need to learn how to work with it.”

To see Richichi in action, swing by for the 6pm demonstration, where the artist will use multiple pieces to show her process and the progression from start to finish, while offering tips and tricks for creating depth on a two-dimensional surface.

Summer Solo: Linda Richichi opens this Friday, August 10, with a reception at 6pm.

Pictured: "Cortona View from Villa" by Linda Richichi. Image courtesy of Linda Richichi.

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