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The Academy Journey.  

It has been a little like writing 5 books and producing dozens of mini movies and slide shows all at the same time!


I hadn’t looked at it that way until an artist/author friend visited recently and asked what it was that was taking all my time!   We both added it all up and it came as no surprise to me that it had been a lot of work.  Now if I had thought about that before starting on this journey I might never have started!.

The biggest challenge was conquering the computer based learning, the filming and editing and above all learning the skills needed to build the Academy website, and I needed to develop those skills because I live up a Spanish Mountain and web developers are pretty unheard of up here. In short, I compare this journey to having a baby!   And it is due to be born pretty soon. I have been grateful for your feedback to keep me on track and focused, because I know the benefits of the Academy will be many.

The first one will be the content and the sheer amount of fundamental painting knowledge that I am putting in the Academy.   I have done some research into what is available out there and what I am packing into the Academy is not out there

So here is a list:

Pastel the Basics,   Composition, Tonal Values, Perspective, Colour theory, Sketching, Beginners drawing (in planning stages),  and (Portrait Drawing in planning stages).

In addition there is a resource library, a pastels manufacturers directory and a mail order directory!

There will also be a direct link through to Jacksons Mail Order where I have negotiated a 10% discount for all academy members on your purchases!    That plus special items from manufacturers for our Academy Prizes!

Check out the Sneak Peak video below:


Art Education is becoming more expensive; sad but true


But – thanks to the internet I am able to offer you a great learning experience for a fraction of the price!  

The cost of being on a BA painting course however is not just the main obstacle for many.  It does run into thousands of pounds and is a luxury for many unless you are going to be working as an artist or int he ‘arts’.  Even then it rarely speaks to the artists who wants to be a representational painter, and most of you do.

The Academy Is taking me time; the past 20 months in fact to date to get it off the ground (online!)  and yes it has cost because I have had to dedicate time to it – massively, and I have had to turn down work to continue.  But I don’t do anything by halves!

It will take you time.   But not as much as it took me to learn it.   I will be passing on years of learning here, in the most effective way I possibly can, and finding the right way to do that has kept me awake many a night.

But the main value for many will be in it’s convenience!      You are learning from home!   No additional costs.    Workshops with professional and reputable artists are few and far between – depending on where you live.  But it is amazing how much the cost of those mount up – for the course or workshop fees, travelling expenses and often accommodation too.  Not too many people can afford the time to travel either.     But what I love is the fact that the academy will offer those of you who are home bound a fair chance of learning.


Is the Academy a Quick Fix?


It will cost you time – time which I hope you will be happy to spend, and it has its cost of fees too.  But it will be fun and profitable!

All worthwhile education costs in one way or another.  We can learn so much on our own but there does come a time when you realise that your art is, or is not, a fundamental part of ‘you’.   For many of you it might be a pastime, that you enjoy, but for others it is your creativity which is massively important to you.   Do you  feel unfulfilled without it?     Well you need to put some time and resources to one side for YOU.    YOUR time and YOUR space.   Invest in YOURSELF and it will pay dividends.

Some of you might even realise now that with a bit of help you could be so much better, and you really want to make a good living out of your art.   (In which case be careful the teacher you choose.   SO many just teach you to copy from photographs and little if anything  else .    You can do that yourself. )   Maybe they will teach you the techniques of just one painting.    Then you feel upset and frustrated when trying to apply them to another painting.

Some of you might wish to be a great (not just a good) art teacher.   Whichever you might be, the fact remains,  YOU are worth investing in.   Investing in your creative development as an artist, for whatever you reason, is to invest in ‘you’.    And you are worth it.   And that time spent should be precious to you.

My Facebook group, and a starting point


So when I opened the Pastel Artists UK Facebook group, I knew the people I was trying to reach.  The group runs as a support and advice group for pastelists and is out there as one group which is different for that reason.

The thing is of course a Facebook group can only do so much.   In many cases as I see questions asked , and responses given from the wonderful community we have built, we are only papering over the cracks of the knowledge needed to truly progress and grow.

Meanwhile I was in a position of being able to run a couple of live courses, or painting holidays a year, and write a few articles for the art press, and maybe add a couple of commissions into the mix and I had a really good living.   Along with a growing degree of professional respect and reputation.  A lucky place to be you might say?    But I wasn’t happy about the state of pastel tuition.

And so now – with the opening of the Academy just around the next corner,  I am asking you;   Are you going to join me on this journey into a new artistic life?

The Reputation of Pastel – will be in your hands.


This is the thing.   I can pass on everything I know and you can have you part to play in the ongoing history of this fabulous medium.      If you go on to do that, all the years I have spent dedicated to the pastel medium will have been all the more worthwhile.  And pastel will have a bunch of artists which will take it into the future – with a good education!

Are you with me on this?



  1. Kelli

    Love the welcome video for the Pastel Academy. Very excited, can’t wait for it to start.

  2. Paul M Harman

    It is easy to see why this project has consumed you and your time. It looks like you have put a huge amount of thought into every aspect of it. A one stop location for information on pastel is a wonderful resource. I hope that it is a rousing success, nothing like it exists anywhere else. All the best for a successful launch!

    Paul Harman,
    Signature Pastel Artist


      Thank you Paul. Yes the idea was a big one in the first place – but it is worth it. The time – well wo years so far and of course when it opens and I am teaching and mentoring the time will only increase. But I know it is worth it. XXH

  3. Les Gaston-Johnston

    I have hold of you and no way am i letting go, I am so looking forward to this, my goal is to help others and yourself Heather.


      Lee – you have made me laugh tonight!! Thank you for that Lee. Boy this has been a job. But I can very clearly see the end of the tunnel following all the internet and electrical issues.


  4. Kris Heard

    Good god yes, with you all the way Heather I can’t wait! :0)


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