Pastel artist Lin Boucher

Pastel artist Lin Boucher with her winning entry.

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astels, as an artistic medium, have been with us over 15,000 years—from the charcoal cave drawings in Lascaux, France, through the renaissance masters, da Vince and Michelangelo, into the impressionist era with Monet and Cassatt, right up to Sun City West pastel painter Lin Boucher. 

Growing up in San Francisco and Denver, Boucher refers to herself in the context of one of Aesop Fables: “I am a true city mouse/country mouse, comfortable in both sitting rooms and barns.”

She credits a high school art teacher for pushing her out of her comfort zone. 

“If you draw another ‘head ’m off at the pass’ picture I’ll fail you,” she recalled. 

That was enough to spur Boucher to explore other subjects while staying grounded in a Western theme.

Boucher studied graphic design at Colorado State University before the age of computers. She soon found little motivation in creating something someone else told her to do. 

Looking for her next great adventure, she took off for Wickenburg, where she had accepted a job with a ranch resort. In movie script fashion, Boucher met her future husband there, and after they married the couple moved to a large cattle ranch outside the state. 

Over the next several years, Boucher worked in a variety of medical offices, which she found “inspirationally mind numbing.” She found her career as a mom much more to her liking because it allowed a variety in activity, flexibility and time to pursue her art.

Once the children were grown and retirement was on their doorstep, Boucher and her husband returned to the Sonoran Desert, settling in Sun City West.

Today, Boucher works from her home’s large utility room turned art studio. The area easily accommodates her materials, supplies and equipment for framing her work. Boucher’ s subjects have broadened over the years.

Her love of animals and concern for their preservation continues to be her primary motivation. Her go-to style is photorealism, which she renders meticulously. At times, Boucher leans toward an impressionistic feel when her intent is to push the intense color in a subject. Regardless of the style or technique, Boucher keeps the objective the same. 

“Reminding us to be mindful of all creatures and our responsibility to be their caring stewards,” she said.

Boucher is an active member in a number of local arts groups, including the Arizona Pastel Artists Association, the Sun West Art Club, Vanguard Artists, WHAM Art Association and the Sonoran Arts League, where she exhibits regularly. She enjoys juried status in dozens of prominent exhibitions and gives talks on or teaches about pastel art. 

Boucher also accepts pet portrait commissions and paints the cowboys and horses in team roping competitions each winter. 

“One of the best things about being an artist is observing the reaction viewers have to my art,” she said. “When I see the spark of joy, I bring to them I know I did it right.”

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.