(If you cannot view the slideshow in Flash, please click HERE to go to the gallery)
Three months later (15 months ago for those of you who, like me, tend to be mathematically challenged), I picked up my first pastel - a scratchy, student grade stick - and although it certainly was not love at first sight to say the least, I was guided by some very kind pastelists toward the high quality artist grade pastels. Along the way, I also discovered the joys of sanded and textured surfaces, and eventually fell in love with the medium (although I do continue to paint in watercolor, acrylics, oil pastels and other media from time to time as well).
I have, of course, only begun to scratch the surface (no pun intended) when it comes to being an artist, but I feel comfortable saying I've come a long way in a fairly short time: I've participated in a few group shows, one solo show, done live demos, and even brought home a blue ribbon from the State Fair in Amateur Pastels! I've filled multiple sketchbooks, painted and sketched plein air (outside on location), taken online and in-person art classes and workshops, and painted over 400 little works so far. I've given several paintings away to friends and family, donated some to charity and even sold a few. I have no plans to quit my day job or become a professional artist, but painting fills my life with such happiness, and I never plan to stop painting what I love and loving what I paint. And if what I create brings a little joy to a sometimes too sad world, then that is all the success I could ever want.