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Featured Artist - Sangita Phadke
05/03/2012 - By A.J. Perna

Featured Artist - Sangita Phadke

Sangita Phadke: Pure Pastel

When first encountering the amazing works of self-taught, Colts Neck artist Sangita Phadke, it can be very easy to mistake them for photographs. Her paintings are dramatic and  detailed, colorful and vibrant, and created with nothing but pure pastel. Phadke began her professional art career in 2007 after a discussion with her husband. At the time, she was  working in consulting and finance, and when asked by her husband what she would most like to be doing for a living, she replied, “painting.” She had always been a talented artist, but  had never seriously considered it to be a possible career. “Then, why don’t you just do it?” was his response. It was not long before she was gaining attention from private collectors  and winning awards at art shows. In 2010, only three short years after Phadke took the plunge as a professional artist, she was inducted into the International Association of Pastel  Societies Master Circle, and was awarded the distinction of “Master Pastelist” by the Pastel Society of America a year later.

When first embarking on her artistic journey, Phadke gravitated toward colored pencils. With them, she explored her love of color and produced a level of realism that spoke to her  personal desire for order, precision, and attention to detail in her completed work. But Phadke would soon discover pastels during a trip to a local arts and crafts store. She was  enthralled with the vibrancy and richness of the colors, and knew that she could apply her recently honed skills to this medium to work in even more detail and on a larger scale.

Phadke’s approach to her work is quite minimalist. She works in her uncluttered Long Branch studio with just an easel holding paper waiting to receive the soft, pastel pigments. For  each piece, Phadke chooses between 10 and15 colors of pastel for her palette and hides the rest away. She uses nothing more than the pastels and her finger to blend colors. The deep  complexity in each work is achieved by adding layer upon layer of color, and as many as ten full layers of pastel may be underneath the finishing touches in her paintings. Phadke’s  crisp lines and small details are accomplished by utilizing the corners of the pastel sticks; absolutely no pencils or pens are used. Once a piece is completed to her liking, Phadke taps  the back to gently let any loose pigments fall, and then it is on to framing. No sprays or fixatives are ever applied.

Although quite adept at rendering portraits and landscapes, Phadke’s efforts have been concentrated on still lifes, and her latest collection has focused on dramatically presented, larger- than-life fruits, vegetables and, sometimes, flowers. From a single, spot-lit, exotic mangosteen fruit, to a symmetrical grouping of citrus, or a simple bowl of eggs, Phadke’s newest  pieces are all inspired by the colors and beauty that can be found in a local farmers market or roadside fruit stand.

And, if being a well-respected, award-winning artist with pieces hanging in U.S. embassies, private collections, and fine galleries across the country isn’t enough, Phadke also finds the  time to teach art classes and workshops, as well as give private lessons in her studio, or via the web or phone.

For more information, or to view a larger sampling of Sangita Phadke’s work, you can visit her website at

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