Unfortunately… Lesley has developed another cold. As a result, we are cancelling the painting party for January 24th. Stay tuned for another date. And Lesley… you get back in bed and take care of yourself. Get better quickly and once and for all!!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS… Lesley is scheduling another fun filled Saturday Painting Party on January 24th 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, listen to music, 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.

Posted in Announcements | 4 Comments


"At Rest" by Janet Thatcher

“At Rest” by Janet Thatcher

I thought it was high time we have a guest artist show us what can be achieved with a little inspiration from Lesley. This beautiful tiger is by Janet Thatcher… and here is what she has to say.  –Marianne

“I have been a fan of Lesley’s since I first stumbled across her marvelous book. I can still remember how excited I was to find another artist who was as passionate about animals and loved painting them in as much detail. I visited that book store many times while saving carefully until I was able to purchase it, my first art book. Within a short amount of time I had found and bought some velour paper and dug out my pastels.

I am very grateful to Lesley for sharing her knowledge so openly and allowing even those of us that are far away to learn from her experience. Even when I had my first exhibit I made the framers read Lesley’s blog.

This painting, called “At Rest” is of one of the tigers that lives at a zoo a couple of hours drive from me. I spend a great deal of time there just soaking in the beautiful creatures and getting to know them. I even got married at the zoo!

Thank you Lesley”!

Posted in Guest Artists | 13 Comments


As I teach and talk to other artists, I find that so many of you are constantly needing and looking for good reference photographs to paint from… without them costing you a fortune. I used to pay $300-$400 for one time usage and then have to go back and get permission (and pay more fees) each time I wanted to use the resulting painting on or for anything new. And that was if the photographer was even willing to work with an artist… some just won’t.

So for years I have photographed my own reference material and have gotten better and better at it… well, maybe it’s because I can afford better cameras these days!! I travel and photograph. No matter where I am, I have a camera in hand. Seems I have a passion for most things visual so of course that includes photography. I just got back from shooting 25,000 photographs in Africa and it occurs to me :-) that I will never be able to paint all of them in this lifetime! And there are tens of thousands of other great photographs just sitting in my portable hard drives, begging to be used. Why not share them for a price that is reasonable and affordable so you don’t have to go through what I did?

All my images that you will find on SmugMug are copyright free and are LARGE files (jpegs, not RAW). You may use them in any way that you would like. There will not be any other fees. And the files are so large that you will be able to crop down to the part of the photograph that you especially like and still have a good, clear image.

I will be posting new images constantly so keep checking back. SmugMug makes it very easy for me to upload them and for you to download them.

So here are some bullet points:

  • All Images copyright free
  • Large files you can download anytime
  • Good, clear images…..easy to paint from
  • More new animals and backgrounds added constantly
  • Each downloaded photograph will cost $50.00
  • Copyright free, non exclusive…any one can buy the same image
Posted in Announcements, Photography | 5 Comments


Flowers 3_8303“If the story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And here I make a rule — a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.” – Steinbeck

Here is another flower photograph and quote to hopefully spur some discussion.  Any thoughts?!

Posted in Fav Quotes | 11 Comments


GuestArtist_MargaretAnnAdamsSeveral 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

Posted in Guest Artists | 17 Comments


NewGypsyFINALThis 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.

Posted in Horses, Pastel Workshop | 5 Comments