At first glance, Baltimore native Alice Pritchard’s lush creations seem quite straightforward—a blooming peony meticulously rendered, a geometric barn with lines so crisp it’s nearly photographic, a lifelike bold bouquet—each of them inspired by a lifetime of living in nature. A closer look, however, yields a more immersive experience.
“When it’s big like that,” Pritchard says of the peony, which measures 4 feet by 4 feet, “it becomes almost abstract close-up.”
In that way, she likens her work to that of the French impressionists, with whom she also shares a medium: pastels. Pritchard says she first worked with the chalklike material in high school and has never looked back.
“Pastels are the purest form of color,” she says. “It’s a medium that’s very exciting and challenging, and allows for spontaneity. My designs are fairly simple, but the pastels add depth.”
It’s unusual to find such large-scale pastel creations, as the medium is normally applied to paper. But Pritchard says she “more or less” invented a way to work on stretched canvas using a secret fixative formula.
The result is wildly popular—Pritchard has an exclusive partnership with Renaissance Fine Arts and Merritt Gallery, and her work has what she humbly calls a “high appeal” among patrons (enough so, in fact, that the gallery likes to keep a backlog of her work).
“I consider it a privilege to come up with something from my own imagination that people would choose to live with,” she says. “Though I don’t often get to meet them, I feel a strong connection with people who buy my work. It’s a real bond.”
> To learn more about Pritchard and her work, visit merrittgallery-renaissancefinearts.com.