Award-winning pastel artist Barbara Churchley (left) is Gallery Moab's August guest artist. [Courtesy photo]

Pausing for a breath on Colorado Plateau trails nearly always makes for a stunning visual experience, from summer blue horizons layered with red sandstone monoliths and soaring piles of cumulus clouds, to orderly rows of mowed alfalfa fields rimmed by cliffs and cottonwood trees.

Western Colorado painter Barbara Churchley draws her inspiration from such scenes observed while hiking, skiing and running through her home landscapes. She will be in Utah this weekend to lead a painting workshop hosted by Gallery Moab at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center on, 111 E. 100 North, on Friday, Aug. 25, and Saturday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. On Aug. 26, Gallery Moab will host a community reception for Churchley from 6 to 9 p.m.

Though the workshop itself will be held indoors to accommodate for the heat of the day, artists are invited to take part in informal “plein air” painting after class both days.

As an impressionist artist working primarily in pastel, Churchley captures light and color in scenes that evoke “the quiet feeling of being alone in nature,” according to Gallery Moab’s website.

“The landscape around Moab is simply breathtaking and inspirational with its huge rock cliffs, endless sky, with river running past all,” Churchley said.

At the upcoming workshop, she welcomes pastel, acrylic and oil painters to learn how to express themselves and their artistic vision with increased confidence and creativity.

Workshop attendees are encouraged to bring photos of landscapes that inspire them, as well as a piece or two that they have struggled with or are trying to resolve, she said. Students should also bring the tools of their preferred medium and several blank art substrates.

“The goal is to experience the joy of painting your style with success,” she said.

A Master Signature member of the Pastel Society of Colorado, Churchley was recently awarded Best of Show at the competitive Pastel Society of Colorado show in Evergreen, Colorado. Her series of three paintings focused on landscapes of the Western Slope, and were her first submission to the show, which is held once every two years. All were completed “en plain air,” or outside in view of the actual subject matter.

“Barbara is a fun person and a phenomenal artist; we’re excited to have her,” Moab Pastel Guild and Gallery Moab member Victoria Fugit said.

Fugit and others in the Moab Pastel Guild who are associated with the Pastel Society of Colorado invited Churchley to show her work in Gallery Moab as a guest artist, and were thrilled when she offered to host a workshop as well, Gallery Moab manager Peggy Harty said.

The guest artist program at Gallery Moab is meant to offer the community and visitors access to new artists, and to provide opportunities for regional artists to collaborate, Harty said. Displayed at the front of the gallery, the guest artist show features a monthly rotation of work from up-and-coming amateur artists as well as recognized artists like Churchley, who is well-known particularly among pastel artists.

While the Moab Pastel Guild has hosted workshops in the past, this will be a first for Gallery Moab, Harty said. They hope to continue to expand workshop offerings in the future, and would like to eventually have space to host artists and students within the gallery itself, she said.

“The mission of the gallery is to support local artists and build community through art,” Harty said. “This workshop is focused on something all of us really enjoy doing and want to share with the community.”

Space is limited, but seats are still available and interested artists are encouraged to register soon, Harty said. The workshop cost is $150, and participants can register at Gallery Moab at 87 N. Main Street, open from noon to 9 p.m. every day.

Gallery Moab guest pastel artist presents workshop on creative expression

“The goal is to experience the joy of painting your style with success.”

When: Friday, Aug. 25, and Saturday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center,111 E. 100 North

Cost: $150

Information: 435-355-0024;