Philadelphia Pastel Society’s Art Display
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Philadelphia Pastel Society’s Art Display

Usually, the art shows on display at the D’Arrigo Family Gallery outside the Bennett Lounge at the Hafter Student Community Center are available to view not only for Salus students, faculty and staff, but also for the general public.

But as has been the case for most of 2020, things are a little different with the latest display to grace the gallery, this one by the recently formed Philadelphia Pastel Society (PPS). Because of the COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by the University, the public won’t have a chance to personally view the wonderful work by PPS artists, on display through Dec. 17, 2020. Instead, a virtual exhibition appears in the video below. Read more about the group at

“Though the public doesn’t have access to the current show due to COVID-19, I’m glad that such upbeat, well-executed paintings are on the walls to help morale during a low-key chapter on campus,” said Elynne Rosenfeld, the gallery curator.


Blanche Levitt Torphy, president of PPS, formed the group with five pastel friends in 2019 to fill a longtime need expressed by area artists who were looking for a way to share their love of the pastel medium and to promote soft pastel painting throughout the Philadelphia region.

Members share their technical skills, sometimes paint together in plein-air (outdoor) settings and generally bolster one another to constantly grow as artists. Salus is hosting one of the first of what will hopefully be many group shows by the organization, according to Rosenfeld. She and Torphy are friends and have collaborated on other shows, most notably on “Visionary,” an exhibition by ARTsisters that helped raise money for the University’s Looking Out for Kids fundraising drive in 2016.

"Chanticleer Mansion Gardens" by Blanche Levitt TorphyTorphy is a retired scientist and professional artist in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Her landscape paintings are impressionistic with a bold use of color. In addition to the pastel medium, she paints in acrylics, watercolor and mixed media. The pieces she has in this display are titled “Mansion View at Olana,” “Chanticleer Mansion Gardens” and “Boynton Canyon Afternoon.”

“A common theme throughout my work is warm, vibrant color to capture my emotional resonance with a subject,” she said. “My landscape paintings respond to my connection to the universal energy in nature, and the play of color and light upon architectural elements within the environment. Soft pastel is one of my favorite mediums for landscape due to their rich pigment and velvety texture. I often use watercolor as an underpainting for a pastel piece because the underlying contrasting hues tend to enhance the luminosity of the finished work.”

The exhibiting artists in the current gallery display are members of the PPS executive board, and include

“Autumn Reds” and “Red Reflections” by Ann Guidera-Matey (vice president), who has been working with pastels for 25 years. She creates stunning impressionist landscapes from her studio at Heron Crest Studios in Aston, Pennsylvania.

“Bovine Buddies” by Kathleen Apfelbaum“Bovine Buddies,” “Garden Steps” and “Sky Over the Wetlands” by Kathleen Apfelbaum (secretary) who ran a successful business of hand-painted clothing for 40 years. She now enjoys painting in pastels and oils, and organizing plein-air pastel painting events for PPS.

“Dune Guard,” “Spillway Lock #60” and “Pocono Waterfall”  by Jack Lloyd (treasurer) who has been painting in acrylic and pastel since retiring from a 40-year career in retail. His representational landscapes emphasize atmosphere and shadow, and a sense of unity and tranquility.

“Memorial Day,” “Bryn Clovis Fields” and “Quiet Corner” by Mary Rinderle Smith (webmaster and workshop coordinator), a Chester County, Pennsylvania, pastelist and oil painter who has a BA in Fine Art and a long career in education. She creates impressionistic landscapes and enjoys painting on location.

“Sunset on Lancaster Avenue,” “Donkey Power” and “the Cuban Dancer” by Patricia Riley (membership and communications), who had a long career in illustration of children’s text books. She’s been painting impressionistic pastel landscapes for 12 years and enjoys organizing plein-air events.

"Deck Hands" by Al Richards“Marsh Creek — West Bank,” "Deck Hands" and “View From the Isle” by Al Richards (director of exhibitions), a Chester County, Pennsylvania, professional artist with a degree in Studio Art from Colorado College. He enjoys painting canine portraits, figurative works and landscapes. Richards has spent much of his time this summer painting pastel landscapes plein-air.

The PPS is a non-profit 501(C) (3) organization founded in 2019, offering instructional demos and workshops, plein-air painting events, and exhibition opportunities. It currently has 75 members.