Textual description of firstImageUrl

Lesley Harrison | California | Pastel animal art

Lesley Harrison's Sacramento, California girlhood was shaped by animals and art. "I was born loving animals, she says. "It seems to be in my blood." She remembers an ongoing menagerie from cats to chickens. She started drawing animals in 2nd grade. "I was taken to the principal's office more than once, because I was drawing horses instead of paying attention to the teacher," she laughs. "In 1975, I picked up a stick of pastel and it was instant love. I had tried other mediums, but Lesley Harrison - Working on a new painting nothing ever clicked." By 1983 she was selling enough paintings to quit her day job. Talking about getting her work into galleries, Lesley relates, "Whenever I'd approach a gallery about showing my work, the first thing they'd ask was what was my medium? I'd say pastels and they would say they weren't interested. So I finally told a gallery that I worked in oil and pastel (which was true!). They told me to bring the oils, not the pastels. I took both and left them for review. They loved the pastels! Lesley works on location and also supplements those sessions with reference photographs. This approach allows her to develop paintings that are fresh yet rendered with authority. Although pastels are notoriously difficult to master, Lesley has received a number of professional honors & awards for her technical excellence. Recently, for the 3rd consecutive year, the Pastel Society of the West Coast recognized her for her contribution to pastel as an artistic medium. She is also a member of the exclusive Pastel Society of America.