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Changing Channels

The work "Changing Channels" is featured in "Wildscapes."

With his "Wildscapes" paintings, Chicago artist Mike Barret Kolasinski encourages viewers of his works to stop and look at the world around them for hidden natural treasures.

“I want (viewers) to look at things that they may walk by or drive by every day and notice that there’s beauty to be found in a scene you may walk by every day," he said.

The artist will showcase a selection of his works through Jan. 5 at South Shore Arts' Crown Point Branch. Kolasinski studied design and illustration at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. About two decades ago, however, he found working in pastel was the perfect medium to express himself artistically.

Over the course of the last two decades, Kolasinski has achieved a myriad of awards and recognition for his pastel works, including Master Circle status with both the PaintAmerica Association and the International Association of Pastel Societies.

Kolasinski, who resides in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood, described working in pastel as "a natural fit."

“There’s an immediate feel to it," he said. "I like the luminosity. I love the idea of getting texture. As opposed to using oils or watercolors, where you’ve got a wet medium, things may dry differently. With pastels, I can walk away from what I’m doing and come back to it and it’s exactly the way I left it.”

Over the years, Kolasinski has seen his work in exhibitions and juried shows throughout the tri-state area and as far away as Washington, Wyoming, Texas and Florida.

For "Wildscapes," Kolasinski and South Shore Arts selected paintings with the current autumn season in mind.

“Just about every piece has a fall feel to it, color-wise," he said.

For more on Kolasinski, go to MIKEBARRETKOLASINSKI.COM.

South Shore Arts Crown Point Branch is open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.