Chalk one up for nature

Festival's featured artist shines with pastel

STORY BY Laura Roddy

"I get inspired by seeing the way nature provides such beauty," he said. "There's moments in nature where we're just enchanted by light. It may last just a minute or it may last awhile. It also connects us with something bigger than ourselves."

The Austin-based artist has been selected as the featured artist for the third-annual Autumn & Art show, Sept. 14-16 along Bradley Fair Parkway. Cannon won best in category at the event last year. This is the third year for the festival, put on by Wichita Festivals and lead sponsor Fidelity Bank. It is juried, which means that not all who apply are selected. Attendees can stroll from booth to booth along the parkway to peruse the prizewinners and consider purchases. Categories represented include ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, graphics and printmaking, jewelry, metal works, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and wood.

Cannon's medium of choice is soft pastel, which he has been working with for 30 years. Festival planners say Cannon's vivid landscapes capture the essence of the Midwest.

"The medium is often misunderstood and overlooked because people think of it as basically chalk on paper," Cannon said.

The artist is effusive when he talks about what the pigment allows him to create the saturation and vibrancy of the color and also its archival stability.

"It's like working with pure color," he said. Cannon said pastel allows him to create works that are high definition and that, from a collector's perspective, will outlast other art forms.

Cannon, who has worked full time as an artist since 1984, travels to art shows about 10 months a year and enjoys the relationships he has built with other artists. Although the artists are all trying to make sales at each show, they are not necessarily competitive with one another.

"There is a strong community and kinship," Cannon said. "Each artist has to find his own audience."

Cannon's time on the road usually about two weeks of every month serves in sharp contrast to his time in his own studio. "It is very much of a solitary thing," he said. "I'm very concentrated when I'm working."

He appreciates that juried art shows give him a feedback loop apart from the world of galleries and collectors. "My job is to sell my art and sell myself," Cannon said. "It's really gratifying to have my work be seen and understood." Cannon is also happy to be part of Wichita's nascent event.

"I was really thrilled with all the possibilities that Wichita has for a fine art show," he said.

Autumn & Art

In addition to booths featuring the works of more than 80 artists, the third-annual juried event also will feature food, music and a hands-on creation station for children.

Sept. 14: 6-9pm
Sept. 15: 10am - 7pm
Sept. 16: 10am - 5pm
Along Bradley Fair Parkway | Free Event
Friday night's Patron VIP Party $75 each

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