Pastel Society Alaska Welcomes You

Please  Help  Us

Children are our greatest treasure

A painting of a toucan? It will become a bowl of beans.
A lovely scene of fishing boats pulled up on the beach? School supplies
A portrait of a young Panamanian Kuna child? A complete set of clothes and shoes for an orphan.

Always stretched for resources, the COVID epidemic has made it even harder on orphanages worldwide. Many are short on food and funding has dropped dramatically. The troubles for Hearts Cry Children’s Ministries in Panama reached the ears of friends in faraway Alaska, but how to help?  The artists in the newly formed Pastel Society Alaska decided to donate one-of-a-kind, original paintings for sale to raise funds.  The images painted are all from Panama. When you buy a painting, all the money you send goes straight to the orphanage we are currently supporting.  This is a win-win situation! You get a beautiful, one of a kind painting and the orphanage gets the money you send.

Thank you for your interest in teaming with Pastel Society Alaska to help children.

Hearts Cry

The current orphanage we are sponsoring.

Our  Gallery

 Lyn Diefenbach

Lyn was awarded Eminent Pastellist status in the International Association of Pastel Societies in 2019, having achieved Master Circle status with that group in 2014. Lyn holds Master Pastellist status with the Pastel Society of Australia, has held Signature Member status in the Pastel Society of America since 2016, and was accepted into the International Guild of Realism in 2008. She has been featured numerous times in the Pastel Journal,  International Artist, and Australian Artist magazines.
The pursuit of masterly quality and technique is a high priority for Lyn Diefenbach whose work is imbued with a celebration of her faith and of life.  Her paintings in pastel and oil cover a myriad of subject matter with her bold florals consistently receiving accolades nationally and internationally. Her ability to communicate her ideas has entrenched her as a respected and sought-after tutor, with teaching engagements internationally and across Australia. 

Artists Statement

I delight in portraying the illusion of reality on a two dimensional surface and am constantly intrigued by complexity. My paintings are the public face of my private meditations and are an expression of who I am - my sensitivities and spirituality. They are my story told through the medium of oil and pastel and expressed in subjects that fascinate and inspire. Each painting is a vehicle for self expression and a stepping stone of understanding both of myself and the subject I have chosen. With each stepping stone of understanding comes a deep reverence for the rich tapestry of life.

 Diane Paolletti

Diane is a self taught artist that learned by studying the techniques and methods of the European Old Masters. A love of the arts and a desire to expand her skills propelled her to attend as many workshops and opportunities that she was able.
For the past 8 years Diane has taught oil painting in her studio, Paoletti Studio of Art. Her studio offers learning opportunities for both beginners and advanced students. She believes it is her privilege to teach the means of making art, not the ends; hoping to give students the skills they need to express their own creative ideas.
Diane also hosts a variety of different portrait & landscape art instructors in her studio, giving Alaskans the opportunity to learn from professional artists, & at the same time, offers the opportunity for the visiting art instructors to discover the inspirational beauty of Alaska. Living in Alaska has given Diane the opportunity to embrace plein air painting. The majestic landscape of mountains that surround her offer never-ending inspiration to strive to convey the grandeur of the Alaska she has come to know and love.
Diane has participated in many group shows in galleries & businesses and is a member of the Portrait Society of America, current President of the Pastel Society of Alaska, and served as a board member of the Valley Fine Arts Association.
Visit at  

 Sheri Burnem

Sheri Burnem is a local artist to Palmer, Alaska. Her passion is teaching children artistic expression through paint which she does in her studio, The Crooked Canvas. For the past 22 years she has primarily worked with the mediums of oil and acrylic; however, recently she has discovered soft pastels and for the past year and a half she has had the privilege to study under world renowned pastellist Lyn Diefenbach. Sheri attends workshops throughout the United States continually striving to enhance her abilities and techniques in order to provide her students with the best learning experience possible. She would like to thank her Lord and Savior for his continual favor in her artistic endeavors. She considers herself blessed and desires to bless others with her art.

 Nancy Angelini

Nancy Angelini Crawford is an Alaskan artist with New England roots which proves her love of the mountains, the sea and all things in between. Prone to travel, she enjoys broadening her awareness and sharing the beauty she finds through her artwork.  
Continually striving to advance her techniques and ability to convey the emotional impact she feels, Nancy has studied with many of her favorite contemporary masters. Painting, teaching and taking workshops in both oil and pastels, Nancy Angelini loves being both the student and the teacher. If you ask her what she loves to paint most she will tell you “anything that has beautiful light, shining on it or from within.”  
Along with numerous awards her work has been collected nationally, internationally and in corporate acquisitions. She considers herself successful when she is able to give back and use her art to help others. To see more of her work in landscape, travel and portraiture.  visit her website at

 Gina Murrow

Making something out of nothing was a valued skill in my family growing up. We moved a lot and lived overseas several times. We often had to make our own fun, our own entertainment, even our own necessities.In my family being creative was prized and encouraged.  You would think with that background that I’ve done art all my life, but the truth is, I started late. I was heavily pregnant with my third child and in my early ‘30s when one of my close friends challenged me to join her in an art workshop. Two very important things happened at the workshop. Australian artist Bob Wade simplified the process by having us copy a painting he’d done, and he kept saying, “Are we having fun yet? If we’re not having fun, I’m doing something wrong!” At the end of three days I’d made a beautiful painting, and I’d had fun. I’m still having fun. The same friend later invited me to a pastel workshop by Dodie Ballentine and I was hooked forever. The feeling of holding the actual colors in my hand and making something beautiful with them is intoxicating. I usually paint wildlife and pets, simply because I love them; it’s most fun to paint things you love.

 JoJean Beller

When I was a little girl, my Dad gave me a paint brush and told me to paint my bedroom. It stuck.  Since then, I have eagerly painted just about anything that would hold still. My desire to create beauty in the world around me has been expressed through a multitude of mediums, from cake decorating to murals, and teaching arts and crafts at a small school.  

 Ruthann Crosby

Alexei Harlamoff (1844-1925), Rubens (1577-1640), and Bouguereau (1825-1905) are just a few of the old Master Artists that Chaplain Ruthann Crosby enjoys, along with Mary Carole in San Luis Obispo, California, and Lyn Diefenbach of Australia. Ruthann started painting when she was a child, in folk art and Tole painting. It was not until she married and became a military wife that she began to focus her artistic endeavors on painting refurbished furniture and teaching Tole painting Ruthann dreamed of learning oils and portrait painting. After four years of college in Pennsylvania, Ruthann moved back to Alaska in her later years. There, she would have the privilege and blessing to get serious about her passion for art through her friends Diana Paoletti, Sheri Burnem, and Molly Flack. First, she attended art classes with Nancy Howes who, with much patience, taught her the basics. Those classes led to working both with Molly Flack and then Mary Carole. The first portrait she actually painted was a copy of the old master, Rubens King David. "I was thrilled!" Ruthann will smile broadly while she explains the presence of the small unnoticed key in Ruben's portrait of David that most people don't ever see. Being a Chaplain, she is quick to give you a biblical history class and let you know that King David is her very favorite biblical character. "From there," she says, "Mary Carole just changed my life, along with all the ladies who painted with that faithful little crew who found their way to Diana Paoletti's painting studio." She then doubled her painting time by joining Sherry Burnem's class. On a winter weekend, covered in what seemed to be twenty feet of new-fallen snow, Ruthann stumbled across Lyn Diefenbach's web page and spent countless hours watching her on YouTube. Having been gifted by a friend with a set of soft pastels, Ruthann was excited to try her hand at this new artform. That very Sunday, she decided to track down this amazing, world renown pastel artist, Lyn Diefenbach, and prayed for God to help her contact her. He did just that. Two months later, Ruthann and Sherry were boarding a plane to New Hampshire, to attend a four-day class on what would become a lifelong artist's passion of painting in soft
God had always done, He opened the door for Lyn Diefenbach to agree to travel to Alaska and teach a class for Diane Paoletti's art studio. The rest is history. Chaplain Crosby smiles, "Do not tell me God does not always have a plan. With all these amazing ladies, He has opened the door for all of us to be a part of supporting and aiding this wonderful orphanage, by using the talents He has given us." As for the future, Chaplain Crosby plans on continuing to refine her painting skills, learning from any and all instructors, and to continue to use her talents to help and support orphanages, and others in need. She is excited to see where God will take her with it.

 K S Denny

Getting started with painting in February 2020 with encouragement from a dear friend, K S Denny is a new artist, still surprised at having so much fun with the medium of pastels and amazed at what can be done. Studying under Lyn Diefenbach is a wonderful life changing experience, and working with the fellow artists of Pastel Society Alaska has been the most amazing blessing.
She is the proud Alaskan mother of three grown children, two of which are serving in the armed forces. K S Denny’s hope is that her work will reflect beauty, be uplifting and encouraging, and be a blessing to others.

 Hella Berryhill

My name is Helle Berryhill and I was born in Estonia, located by the Baltic Sea with long sandy beaches.  It’s my sixteenth year in Alaska. Because the two geographical areas are located on the same north latitude, I find myself doing some of the same outdoor activities – berry picking, mushroom hunting, gardening, salmon fishing, and just roaming in the wilderness in the summertime.  I have a hobby that is relaxing, especially to my mind – knitting.  I make socks, gloves, mittens and sweaters.  A few years ago, my daughters took painting lessons, and rather than wait for them in the car, I joined the class too.  In a short time, I discovered that drawing and painting are both attainable skills. Ruthann used to come to paint at the same time as I was in the class with my girls, so she was the one who recruited me to the pastel arts.  This is how I have become part of the Alaska Pastel Society’s artist group.

Cathy Poppert

My name is Cathy Poppert. I am a 40+ year resident of Wasilla, Alaska.  I started oil painting about 10 years ago, and I am very new with pastels. I had my first class last year, but after hearing the plans for this group of amazing women and artists I knew I wanted to be part of it as well. Caring for children is near and dear to my heart.  I sign all my work Aani which is the Yupik (Eskimo) word for grandmother because they are my greatest joy and I am honored to have them in my life.

 Carol Roper

I saw myself as a scientist until 15 years ago when I started drawing. After taking some classes from local Alaskan artists, a correspondence class from Art of America and several local workshops, I joined a group of artists who meet weekly. Recently, I have been exploring pastels, pan pastels and pencils. I enjoy learning this craft but more than that, I love the fellow artists with whom I paint and create. We are all working towards a central purpose of using our talent to benefit others.