Several years ago a friend of mine showed me a book by an artist – unknown to me then – it was about pastels and animals. It was of course Lesley’s first book. I was absolutely fascinated by her work – the detail, the technique, the absolute sentiment of her paintings and – her story – all of it. Although I was already using pastels in landscapes – oils were my primary medium – but I decided to buy some velour paper and try it out. I have been lucky enough to have developed a constant group of clients who have commissioned my artwork and for myself – I have been able to paint and keep the memories alive and close to my heart of some of my dogs who shared life’s journey with me.
Over the years Lesley has been kind enough to council me on framing and shipping questions which were all absolutely contrary to my framer’s ways of doing things. But her way is the only way and it is successful.
I have attached 2 of my pastels – no way near the perfection of Lesley, but inspired and loved anyway. The first is of my vet’s beloved Fezzane. A rescue white Irish Setter – from a breeder – and Fezzane lived only a few years in her new life with him. During that time she accompanied him everywhere and her favorite trips were by small aircraft to a fishing camp way off in the wilderness. The painting was inspired from a photo taken when they were at that camp on a day so hot, with just a slight breeze and not a sound to be heard. I named the painting “The Sound of Silence” – since she was no longer with him but that the painting of her would remind him of that day and the sound of her silence would be forever in his heart. This pastel by the way, was done on Canson Mi Teintes – I had not yet introduced myself to the velour.
The second is of my beloved Zoom. He was one of a litter of my even more beloved Zazoo. Zazoo lived to 18 ½ years and her 2 puppies – Zoom and Zanadoo were the only family I had through some very hard times in my life. Zanadoo died at the age of 9 after a very short illness, but Zoom lived to 16 ½ – just one year after his mother. Zazoo was the matriarch – the know it all, do it all, and my heart of hearts. Zanadoo was the Playboy – the showman and the ruler of all that went on. Zoom was the quiet one in the shadows. Always there and ready to defend us – but in the back seat. I wanted to give him the “light” and recognition he deserved and so in my painting – the sun will always shine through on him as the last and well-remembered of the 3 Amigo family. The pastel is titled simply “Zoom – The Early Years” and is done on Hahenemuhle velour.
Thank you for taking time to read this.
Margaret Ann Adams
Ste. Agathe des Monts, Quebec, Canada
This started out as a demo piece that I did up at Dakota Art Pastels last month and I finished it a couple of weeks ago. What a fun, magical class it was too. People came from all over the U.S. and a gal even flew in from Toronto. She called to tell me how worried she was to fly that far by herself and made the mistake of telling me the morning after I got back in from Africa. She SAYS I said to her: “Girl, if I can fly to Africa and back by myself you can certainly fly to Washington State!” She told the whole class I said that to her… so nice to be rude to people and then have to own it in front of lots of perfect strangers! BUT she DID get on a plane and fly down for the class… I think I must have been jet lagged or crazy or something but it was hilarious later.
I had a private client here over the weekend and she wanted to see a demo of how to paint a white horse where the colors didn’t turn out “muddy”… so this is my girlfriend’s wonderful Tuno. Those of you that have followed the blog for a while will remember me talking about him when I rode in the Cancer Parade to honor John.
Joanne and Tuno have been together for almost 20 years and she is an amazing owner, trainer and handler. He is also the USC football team’s mascot, the Trojan Horse. You may have seen him on TV run the field for the touchdowns. A wonderful thing to watch!
This demo was done in about 3 hours so it doesn’t have the “finish” that most of my paintings end up with but it must look like him because Joanne was thrilled!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS… Lesley is scheduling another fun filled Saturday Painting Party, November 1st from 10am to 3pm. These painting parties are for anyone who has attended one of Lesley’s workshops. We get together at Lesley’s studio and just work on whatever project we want while Lesley works on her own project. We talk, visit, play, gossip, watch Lesley paint, watch each other paint… whatever strikes our mood. So if you have been at a Lesley Harrison workshop and would like to join us please contact Lesley and let her know.
I cannot tell a lie… I introduced Lesley to Facebook and she has become one of many Facebook addicts… like myself! So we have decided to move some things to Facebook that would normally have been on this blog. To view new paintings that Lesley is working on or recently completed, Friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/harrisonkeller.art. The blog will still be here for announcements and occasional comments… but since everyone seems to be slumming on Facebook these day, it will make Lesley’s life a bit easier to post most there… and some here. –Marianne
Just finished teaching for four days up in Mount Vernon, Washington at Dakota Pastels. This is a work in progress of the horse that we all painted together and what fun we had!
Not only do we enjoy each others company and have fun learning together (I always learn something new from my students every time!) …
…but also what fun to have Pastel Mecca just through the door so that any time we want anything we could run over there and have every pastel known to artists within reach!