I used pastels for the first time when I was 17. When I was between my junior and senior year of high school, I attended a 2-week art class in the summer at a local art center. This was amazing for me and a first- I had not had a real art class yet unless you counted the high school art class where everyone doodled and threw erasers at each other! So, 2 weeks of actually learning from a college professor and getting some real drawing advice was breathtaking for me. I knew at this point that wanted to be an artist of some kind, so I was determined to be a sponge, and like most 17-year olds, I was arrogant enough to think I was already pretty good and could learn and master anything. During those 2 weeks, I was given a small set of pastels. Old, square Grumbacher sticks that aren’t made anymore. It was magical. Like holding sunlight in your hand. The drag across the dark piece of paper was captivating and I knew, I knew, I wanted to do this for a long time. The painting here was the one I did ( I obviously had a lot to learn about chroma! Plus, the tiny brown triangle of a tree branch in the top right corner cracks me up now.….). My first pastel! I think my mom would have stuck it up on the fridge if she could! 🙂 I still have it! Unfortunately, pastels are expensive, and I had 4 years of college ahead of me and lots of living to do before I came back to rediscover my love of pastel. I got a job I hated in a corporate art department where everyone fought over the cubicle with a window. I freelanced illustration and graphic design jobs to supplement my crappy pay from the “keyline” art job. (Basically I was strapped to a drafting table with a straight edge and my best friend was a “stat” machine.- No computers then.) I got married. Bought a house. Learned I couldn’t garden or cook. Then, I found myself with a baby. And at 30 years-old I finally thought, “That’s it! I just had natural childbirth, so I deserve to buy pastels!!” So I did- the most expensive ones I could find at the time- Senneliers……and so the love affair began….