Artist Vicki Lueb

Searching the USA for new examples of a specific art form is not only an educational adventure, but an exciting one as well. This exploration discoversPastel, an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered

pigment and a binder. The pigments used in Pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints and acrylics; the binder is of a neutral hue and low saturation. In appearance, it's sort of a

cross between a stick of chalk and a crayon.

Our search begins all the way down at the bottom of the United States, on the central Gulf of Mexico. Fortunately, we Mississippi Gulf Coastal residents do not have to venture out too far from home to find exactly what we want, in a Pastel Landscape by a top-notch, representational landscape artist.

Hancock County Mississippi seems to be the perfect setting of consistent inspiration for a truly gifted, and astute local Pastel artist, Vicki Lynne Lueb.

She adores nature and creating the most intoxicating wetlands landscapes.

Her heart is here as well as her home.

Vicki was born and spent her youth primarily in Lumberton, MS. Her family moved around a little, living briefly in New Mexico and Arizona with a two-year stint in Alabama. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where she studied mathematics and computers.

Her degreed career took over at that point. She earned her living in New Orleans, LA, working in the highly technical field of computer programing management.

"You'd be surprised at how many painters and artists have an analytical background, which just seems counter intuitive," says Vicki. "But it's not that rare," she adds.

Picking up watercolors and acrylics during her working years in New Orleans, literally kept her hand in her craft, and her creative juices flowing until she experienced an artistic career jolt in 2012 with Pastel, her first love in art mediums.

Situated in the lovely and peaceful Jourdan River Shores neighborhood between Bay St. Louis and Kiln, MS, off Highway 603, Vicki's custom built raised home incorporates her studio/workshop. Here she creates her artistic masterpieces. The beautiful scenery she enjoys each day is an exquisite river view. That beauty inspires her art. And, the scene brings back her fond childhood memories of camping, swimming, and water skiing with relatives and close friends for weekends and summers, on the Jourdan River.

Vicki says, “There is something magical about the water."

Like most great artists, Vicki spends valuable time fraternizing with her peers. She studies with internationally known artists like Stephanie Birdsall and Lyn Asselta. And, she is an active member of the Pastel Society of Mississippi as well as three local Gulf Coastal art organizations, which are The Arts, Hancock County; Ocean Springs Art Association; and Pass Christian Art Association, where she serves as vice- president. On a national level, Vicki was thrilled to become a signature member of Degas Pastel Society, based in New Orleans.

When asked about winning competitive artistic awards and specific honors so far, Vicki offers a modest smile before sipping cold Perrier Water from a small crystal glass. She collects her thoughts, quickly.

"I am really proud of being juried into the Degas Pastel Society as a signature member last year. And, that was a big deal for me, because it was always a professional goal. Then I won Honorable Mention for my latest Pastel, "Swimming Hole" at the Degas 21st Members Show in New Orleans, where it hung beside works of some of the most talented artists in the country, and I was really happy about that. It was very exciting!" Vicki said, smiling.

That piece was also juried into the Cedars Show in Jackson, which is open to Mississippi artists statewide. It is her first time to get in.

Artistically, 2019 turned out to be an exciting year for Vicki. She has proved herself as an accomplished artist since she established her Pastel goals in the art world during 2012. She has wn awards from the Pass Christian Art Association, and the Hammond Art Guild. She also earned the "Peoples' Choice Award" in Waveland's Pastel Show. She has won the prestigious Latour Award for Exceptional Landscape twice from The Ocean Springs Art

Association.

All this acceptance and winning validates Vicki's success with her artwork and fuels her passion to improve her craft. She is a self-made artist who pursues perfection to the furthest degree. She believes it is all about enjoying the process or journey of creating, not expectations. Her desire is to get better so she is free to create what she wants to create.

The reason why Vicki loves Pastel so much is because of the immediacy of the medium. The idea of putting exciting, vibrant color on paper and not having to wait for the layers to dry provides instant gratification to the artist.

She enjoys that.

Artwork is extremely intimate to Vicki, really personal. While sitting at her easel in solitude, visualizing and crafting a beautiful scene, a piece of herself goes in with her emotion to create a piece of art, forevermore esthetic

to the eye. She does not copy a scene. She interprets it, usually into another accomplishment for herself.

At times a collector will offer a commission to Vicki for creating a very specific piece, especially for them. When a collector sees something special in the artist's work which resonates within them, a very strong, sometimes even

spiritual, bond or connection is formed between artist and collector. These relationships prove to be healthy and productive for both parties with new artwork the result.

Before starting a commission piece, Vicki first gets an idea of what the collector wants by showing them her work and discussing it thoroughly, to make sure it is compatible with what they expect.

Vicki's largest Pastel work thus far was commissioned in spring 2019. The work was completed just in time for the collector's birthday at the end of July.

"Bonne Nuit Jacqueline" is a Pastel masterpiece. Vicki says she worked very slowly and carefully, making sure every stroke counted. She is truly pleased with the piece, she said:.”And, the collector adores it!”

Vicki recalls a saying that both artist and collector will validate: ”When someone buys a painting, they are buying a little piece of the artist's soul."

Take a bit of leisure time to venture out to Bay St. Louis, to view Vicki Lueb artwork on display in Gallery 220, on Main St. and Behold Gallery and Framing on Highway 90. If you find yourself unable to get out and about, find

her on Facebook, at Vicki Lueb Art.

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