In 1989 a small group of pastel artists living in the Burlington area banded together to support one another. They wanted locations to show their work and to present, to the public, the exciting use of pastel. They wanted an all-pastel venue. Previously thought to be only a drawing medium, the popularity of pastel has grown with artists and art enthusiasts. Attitudes have changed. The painterly use of pastel has arrived. This has happened in the main due to the vision and hard work of this early group of people.
You can’t talk about the founders without a bit of history creeping in. After more than 30 years the association continues to thrive, starting off as Pastel Artists of Ontario (PAO) and changing its name (2000) to Pastel Artists Canada (PAC) to reflect the growing, diverse membership that has spread well past the boundaries of Ontario. After incorporation a few years ago, the formal name is now Pastel Artists.CA
In the early days, Don Hamilton and Ursula a Reese worked together as co-chairs with Sue Rizvi acting as general factotum, looking after membership, money, minutes and newsletters. The lines were blurred and members took on more than one job. Connie James looked after workshops for many years. As the membership grew, paint-outs and workshops were offered. The group took every chance to inform the public and mentor fellow artists. The joy of the medium was infectious and still is.
PAC is all about helping fellow artists with information and locations to exhibit their work. As the group grew (200) it became national and then international. Art stores started to carry quality products as more artists began asking for the materials they needed. Today the tradition started by this small group of founders continues with paint-outs & workshops with local and international artists.
Our annual PAC Purely Pastel open juried and online members exhibitions encourage artists to compete and sometimes show for the first time. Since PAC membership now spreads across Canada, the newsletter, website and email keep the members connected.
The association has the founders to thank for their visionary guidance. Their enthusiasm encouraged more hands to join together over the years to share the work and continue the dream. Lillian, Ursula, Enid, Connie, Sue and Don gave tremendous gifts of time, talent and vision to the association. Without them PAC would not be the strong energetic society it is today.
Pastel Artists.CA’s aim is to promote public appreciation and knowledge of the soft pastel medium in Canada; to improve the growth and skills of Canadian artists working in this fine art medium, and to promote fellowship among pastel artists nationally and worldwide.
To accomplish that, we sponsor workshops led by Canadian and other internationally known instructors, host juried gallery and online exhibitions and maintain membership with the International Association of Pastel Societies.
Members also benefit from our quarterly “Purely Pastel” newsletter, in which they are encouraged to share their knowledge and successes; have access to a growing DVD learning library at a greatly reduced cost; as well as access to and listing on our website.
The Evolution of our logo
Our logo has changed over the years with the latest redesign in the fall of 2018.
Meet our founders
Ursula Reese PAC, MPAC
PAC's First President
Ursula loved the Niagara Escarpment and Algonquin Park and her dramatic paintings depicted that. She hiked and painted these locations in all seasons. “Being outdoors gives me peace and tranquility, which I try to share with the viewer”. A noted instructor, she was the recipient of many awards and honours. Although Ursula worked for artists in other associations (COAA, IAPS, FASM, DVSA alumni) Dry Pastel and this association were her joy. She took PAC from provincial to national and finally international status. Ursula passed away in 2007 leaving behind a wonderful legacy.
Don Hamilton, PAC
Don Hamilton was co- chair with Ursula Reese from 1989 – 1995. Don loved to be outdoors hiking, climbing and skiing, and this was evident in his work. Don worked in many other media but his pastels were exceptional. Don passed away in 2007.
Connie James, PAC
Connie James loved to explore all media but kept gioing back to pastel. An avid plein air painter, Connie was equally at home with representational and non- representational subjects.
Sue Rizvi, PAC
Sue Rizvi is no longer an active PAC member but worked tirelessly during the early years looking after the books, membership and newsletters.
Jean Spencer, PAC
Jean has always been a great supporter of PAC. Her love was botanicals. Jean passed away in March 2019.
Enid Reed, PAC, MPAC
Enid, a respected artist and instructor of note, was an accomplished artist and the recipient of many awards. Enid was known for her gentle interpretations of the land and her sensitive portraits. She enjoyed a long successful career. Enid passed away in January 2015. She will be missed.
Lillian Hayter, PAC
Lillian was a very active supporter during the early years.