“Sweet Irises” by Jude Tolar, PSA

“Sweet Irises”

Pastels on sanded paper

14 x 11 in.


About the Artist:

My pastel paintings are lyrical views of the beauty and joy I see in the world. My wonder and awe lead me first to light, then line and color.

I love to work from life, preferably en plein air. My favorites are tree and floral portraits outdoors and glass still lifes indoors.

Seasonal florals provide me with nearly endless plein air possibilities. Here in Oklahoma we have blooms from late January to late November.

Currently it’s iris season here. It’s an ‘iris-fest’, as I’m wooed each week by a succession of colors and varieties. Some are frilly, making me smile and call them “fancypants.” Other intrigue me with color, whiskers or other traits.

This featured iris has a beautiful lavender edge on the falls and a very sweet scent. I painted its portrait with backlighting, for drama and glow. I included young buds and an old, dried-up flower, to show the iris’ life cycle. “Sweet Irises” is available through my website, www.judetolar.com.

I began painting with pastels 11 years ago, after a long career in graphic design and illustration in OKC and Stillwater (OK). I have a psychology degree from Oklahoma State University and two post-baccalaureate years of fine arts and illustration classes at University of Oklahoma.

After retirement, a desire to work from life en plein air led me to pastels and studies with master pastelists, most extensively with Clive Tyler.

Soft pastels and sanded papers changed my art world. This forgiving medium lets me paint freely and in layers. I’m fearless with strong colors and values. This adds impact to the stories and portraits I paint.

My pastel paintings have generated strong responses. I’ve juried into many national and international shows, including Pastel Society of America and International Association of Pastel Societies. I’ve won awards on various levels, including two PleinAir Salon awards from PleinAir magazine, two Pastel 100 awards from Pastel Journal, and five Best of Shows.

My work has been featured in PleinAir magazine, PleinAir Today, and Pastel Journal. It’s also shown in The Cyber Art Show online, and in an article I wrote for Pastel Journal (April/May 2016). I’m in the current Pastel Journal issue (April/May 2017) as a Pastel 100 winner.

I’ve shown in numerous solo, invitational and members shows at galleries and elsewhere. My pastels are in collections across the US.

I’m a Signature Member of Pastel Society of America and Oklahoma Art Guild, and a member of American Impressionist Society, Oklahoma Pastel Society, Pastel Society of New Mexico, and Stillwater (OK) Art Guild.

I give pastel demonstrations and teach pastel workshops on various subjects. When not painting, I can be found gardening, reading, hiking or mowing. I live in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with my husband and a studio full of soft pastels.

Jude Tolar, PSA

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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