About IAPS & Pastels

IAPS History

The Founding of IAPS

by Urania Christy Tarbet IAPS/MC, PSA
Founder/President Emeritus

Urania Christy Tarbet, pastel portrait by Leslie B. DeMille
Pastel portrait by Leslie B. DeMille
It was a warm summer evening in the year of 1994, when the sky was filled with shining stars, my husband Bob and I were enjoying the beauty of nature as we sat on the deck of our Lazy UB Ranch, it happened. My pastel art dream came to the surface through pure frustration after having so many walls come between my art and the ability to show the world the true value and beauty of the luminous medium of pastel. When I made the statement that evening how I was so very upset about how pastel was being treated like a redheaded stepchild, I was not surprised when Bob gently took my chin, turned my face to his, and said, "Then do something about it!" My Irish heritage came into play when I replied, "Okay, I Will!"

Little did I know then, those words were the beginning of a long journey that changed the history of pastel, and my life, forever.

The excitement rose, I could not write as fast as the ideas were flying from both of our minds. Forming a tangible group to carry the message of pastel to the hinterlands of the world meant we would first have to be official. We brainstormed initial thoughts about a name that would encompass this dream for pastel. It had to be a simple name, one that would roll off of the tongue easily and easy to remember. Second it had to have a group connotation that would grow with the dream. With Bob's background in marketing and mine with the art world, we went about our dream with passion and perseverance, making sure that each step would create the solid foundation that was needed for longevity.

Original IAPS Logo
Original IAPS Logo
It didn't take more than a moment for the name to take form, which we considered was a good omen: International Association of Pastel Societies. IAPS! It sounded good! Looked good! Felt good! So be it! IAPS was born.

Our next steps were laid out systematically. Understanding the world of business, we started with friends. That was the time I realized our good fortune, and the meaning of why all of these talented and sharing people had come into our lives. It was for this very purpose of creating the strong foundation needed for IAPS to stand upon.

The following day, my first telephone call was to my good friend Milton E. Meyer, Artist Extraordinaire and Lawyer. He was most excited about this new adventure and promptly offered his services to write our In-corporation Papers. He also offered to serve as Secretary and serve on the first IAPS working board.

My second telephone call was to my dear friend Flora B. Giffuni, the Founder and first President of the Pastel Society of America. She was thrilled with the idea and invited us to host a meeting sharing our idea to all interested artists that would be gathering for the 1994 PSA Exhibition at the National Arts Club, New York. Bob, Milton and I proceeded to make it all official to a packed room filled with interested pastel artists firing questions right and left. Apparently we gave the right answers as we left with the support of most who attended the meeting.

In that meeting was a couple from California whom I had met on several occasions at various art associations, Pat and Bob Suggs. I approached them in the NAC Gallery and invited Pat to serve as our Treasurer for IAPS. Bob suggested she take time to think about it and let us know. Within the hour, they sought us out and gave their resounding "Yes!" Milton, Pat and Bob Suggs, were the ones who responded first verifying the future of IAPS. Our dream ship was ready to sail.

Next came the hunt for the perfect location for our first biennial convention. After much sleuthing the perfect location and venue was found. Denver, CO was chosen because of its central location in the United States, allowing artists a reasonably convenient location to drive or fly into. Because it did not have the overall high cost of many other locations in the country was a great incentive. It was also a haven for artists and had many professional and nationally known galleries. A contract was signed with the Cherry Creek Inn, which included all of their 100 rooms and their conference rooms which would house the vendors which we were positive would come to present their wares directly to the artists that used their products. This proved to be a win - win situation for both vendors and artists. It gave the artists the chance to talk directly to the vendors sharing their needs for new colors and products. This also gave the vendors the opportunity to expand on their inventory and new products knowing they now had a large positive clientele to sell and interact with on a one-on-one basis gaining insight on their special needs.

I found that I was in need of a right hand person to help with the hotel reservations. I had just met Susan Webster a few weeks earlier and I was impressed with her strong business work ethic and could readily see her soft English accent would enthrall everyone. Susan later wrote in my book "Dare To Dream" about this period in our lives. Her words: "This woman is crazy if she thinks she can fill 100 rooms with artists! but of course I said I would be glad to do it, and guess what...the 100 rooms filled quickly and I had to find more space in nearby hotels. Thus the IAPS Convention was born!" IAPS, and the attending artists are indeed happy that Susan is still with us. Her dedication to IAPS and the cause of pastel has been one of the pillars of IAPS from the beginning to the present.

I was hoping to give as much to the attending artists as possible and had hopes of having a special inaugural exhibition in celebration of this grand event. Time to call on another friend, Carole Katchen, who walked with me into the Sax Gallery in Denver, one of the oldest and most professional galleries in the nation. Carole introduced me and we shared the dream of IAPS. In only a few minutes, the gallery extended the invitation to host the first IAPS Convention.

IAPS Presidents

1994 - 2009 Urania Christy Tarbet
2009 - 2013 Maggie Price
2013 - 2017 Liz Haywood-Sullivan
2017 - Richard McKinley

Remembering Maggie Price, the Second IAPS President

Maggie Price (1947-2013), who served as the President of IAPS from 2009 to 2013, was an enthusiastic supporter of pastel who touched the lives of thousands through her painting, teaching and writing.

Although she loved art her entire life, Maggie didn't begin formal study until her 30s, when she studied fine art at The University of Missouri, Kansas City. It was artist Deborah Secor who first introduced Maggie to pastels, and she took to them immediately. She continued to study the medium under painters Albert Handell, Elizabeth Mowry and Eric Michaels, among others. Maggie credited Michaels with inspiring her to paint outdoors, which - according to the artist - changed her art enormously.

In 1998, frustrated by a lack of resources for pastelists, Maggie and fellow artist Janie Hutchinson conceived the idea for The Pastel Journal, a magazine to be devoted exclusively to pastel. They published the first issue the following spring. Maggie would serve as the magazine's Editor-in-Chief until 2003, when she and Janie decided to sell the magazine in order to devote more time to their own painting.

Maggie strongly believed that anybody who wanted to learn to paint could learn. Her husband and painting partner, Bill Canright, put it this way: "Her desire was to share things of beauty and to show others how to do the same." In a sense, everything Maggie did furthered this educational mission. As a workshop teacher, she offered painting instruction to students across the United States and around the world - in Scotland, England, Spain, Italy, Greece and Australia.

She continued to contribute instructional articles to The Pastel Journal magazine as a contributing writer and columnist, and went on to publish three instructional art books with North Light Books: Painting With Pastels, Painting Sunlight & Shadows With Pastels, and Creative Freedom. Maggie was a great supporter of IAPS and served in several key leadership roles, beginning in 2005 when she was appointed to its Board of Directors. In 2007, she served as Vice President, and then she became President of IAPS in 2009, a position she held until her death in 2013.

Although her life was cut tragically short by cancer, Maggie left behind an important pastel legacy. Not only do we have her body of work, but we also have a thriving and empowered community of pastel artists, and Maggie's championing of the medium was certainly a big part of that.

For more information about Maggie and her artwork, visit www.maggiepriceart.com.

The First IAPS Executive Committee and Board of Directors:

Executive Committee:

Urania Christy Tarbet PSA - Founder/President - California
Marilyn Simpson PSA - Vice President - Florida
Milton Meyer PSA - Secretary - Colorado
Pat Suggs PSA - Treasurer - California
JoAnn Lieser PSA - Corresponding Secretary - New York
Sandra Burshell - PSA - Louisiana

Board of Directors:

Flora B. Giffuni PSA
Daniel E. Greene NA PSA
Sidney H. Hermel PSA
Carole Katchen PSA
Everett Raymond Kinstler NA PSA
Milton E. Meyer PSA
Richard Pionk PSA
Urania Christy Tarbet PSA

First IAPS Convention

July 14, 15, 16, 1995
Cherry Cheek Inn, Denver, Colorado
Banquet Welcome by: Urania Christy Tarbet and Milton E. Meyer
Keynote Speaker: Dominique Sennelier, France

IAPS First Juried Exhibition

V.I.P. Reception; Saks Galleries
Cherry Creek, Denver, CO

Previous IAPS Conventions

1995 Denver, CO
1997 Kansas City, MO
1999 Albuquerque, NM
2001 Santa Fe, NM
2003 Albuquerque, NM
2005 Raleigh/Durham, NC
2007 Albuquerque, NM
2009 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM
2011 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM
2013 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM
2015 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM
2017 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM
2019 Old Town, Albuquerque, NM

IAPS Juried Exhibitions

1995 First IAPS Juried Exhibition - Saks Gallery, Denver, CO
1997 Second IAPS Juried Exhibition - American Legacy Gallery, Kansas City, MO
1998 Third IAPS Juried Exhibition - Colorado History Museum, Denver, CO
1999 Fourth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Dartmouth Street Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
2001 Fifth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Christine Gallery of Santa Fe, NM
2003 Sixth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Chablis Gallery, Placerville, CA
2004 Seventh IAPS Juried Exhibition - Banana Factory Arts Center, Bethlehem, PA
2005 Eighth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Art Source Fine Art Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2007 Ninth IAPS Juried Exhibition - inaugural webshow
2007 Tenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Naples, FL
2008 Eleventh IAPS Juried Exhibition - Butler Institute of American Art, OH
2008 Twelfth IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2009 Thirteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Ventana Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2009 Fourteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2010 Fifteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - City of Brea Gallery, Brea, CA
2010 Sixteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Butler Institute of American Art, OH
2010 Seventeenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2011 Eighteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - NM Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, NM
2011 Nineteenth IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2012 Twentieth IAPS Juried Exhibition - City of Brea Gallery, Brea, CA
2012 Twenty-First IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2013 Twenty-Second IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2013 IAPS Convention, NM
2013 Twenty-Third IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2014 Twenty-Fourth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Vose Galleries, Boston, MA
2014 Twenty-Fifth IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2015 Twenty-Sixth IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2015 IAPS Convention, NM
2015-6 Twenty-Seventh IAPS Juried Exhibition - webshow
2016 Twenty-Eighth IAPS Juried Exhibition - Salmagundi Club, New York, NY
2016-7 Twenty-Ninth IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2016 webshow
2017 Thirtieth IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2017 IAPS Convention, NM
2017-8 Thirty-First IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2017 webshow
2018 Thirty-Second IAPS Juried Exhibition - Tacoma, WA
2018-9 Thirty-Third IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2018 webshow
2019 Thirty-Fourth IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2019 IAPS Convention, NM
2019-20 Thirty-Fifth IAPS Juried Exhibition - 2019 webshow

IAPS Master Circle Exhibitions

2011 First Master Circle Exhibition - 2011 IAPS Convention
2013 Second Master Circle Juried Exhibition - 2013 IAPS Convention
2015 Third Master Circle Juried Exhibition - 2015 IAPS Convention
2017 Fourth Master Circle Juried Exhibition - 2017 IAPS Convention
2019 Fifth Master Circle Juried Exhibition - 2019 IAPS Convention


View winning images


Through 2009, competitions were held prior to each convention and the winning work of art
was featured on the cover of the souvenir convention program.



Linda Gross Brown

Treehaven #2


Cameron Hampton



Dianna Ponting

Orange Blossom


Pamela Carter

Watermelon Delight


Janet Cook

Karen Daisy


Frank Federico

Times Square


Anne Heywood

To The Ocean

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