Meet the Founders


 Pastel Artists Canada - The Beginning

       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 Dry Pastel. They wanted an all-pastel venue. Previously thought to be only a drawing medium, the popularity of Dry Pastel has grown with artists and art enthusiasts. Attitudes have changed. The painterly use of Dry Pastel has arrived. This has happened in the main due to the vision and hard work of this early group of people. Although founders Ursula Reese and Don Hamilton passed away in 2007, most of the founders have remained active to this day. Such is the seduction of this flexible, spontaneous medium.

       You can't talk about the founders without a bit of history creeping in. After more than 20 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. Yearly PAC Open Juried Exhibitions and Members Shows 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.


The first President of PAC

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.

Dusk at Canoe Lake                                                    Clouds over Cache Lake


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.                                                                                                                                                             Untitled 


Connie James is still an active member. She loves to explore all media but keeps coming back to pastel. An avid plein air painter, Connie is 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. Her love now is fabric art.



Jean Spencer, PAC

Jean has always been a great supporter of PAC. Her love is botanicals. Sadly, Jean passed away in March 2019. 
Tender Trilliums



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 and now lives in Nova Scotia.

On January 2015 Enid Reed died and she will be missed. 

Throughout her life, Enid was a great promoter of the Pastel medium,instructing a number of classes and workshops, mostly in Southern Ontario, especially Burlington and Oakville. She once reflected that teaching was the most rewarding part of her artistic career. Some of her students and fellow artists became life-long friends, a testament to her enthusiasm and sincerity. Her bright spirit will be missed 



Lillian Hayter, PAC

Lillian was a very active supporter during the early years. 




Carousel Horses     


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