I head to the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) Convention in a couple of days and one of the treats awaiting me there is my roomie Brenda Boylan. She’s a bundle of fun and full of life!

I know this because I shared a room with Brenda at the last IAPS in 2019. Until then, I only knew her by her artwork. Circumstances led us to end up as roomies and what a bonus that turned out to be! Not only was she fun company, she was also cool with me hosting my HowToPastel get-together (party takeover!) in the room, and so easily accepted my late-night returns (after being out eating, drinking, and dancing!). And we laughed and shared and had the most amazing time, so much so that we promised to room together at the next Convention. And here we are!

In the interim, Brenda has been a busy gal! Most recently she’s created an art workshop video for Streamline Publishing and I was intrigued by the title – FUNdamentals. That fits perfectly with the Brenda I know.


brenda boylan painting demoed in the FUNdamentals video
This painting was demoed in the FUNdamentals video.


I was curious about the title, so I asked her about it.

Gail: Brenda what’s with the title FUNdamentals? Tell me about it.

Brenda: Yes the fun is so very me… I tend to use humour whenever I can. Humour helps us relax and level out everyone’s nerves so that we can all learn quickly.  A bit of humour makes the lessons memorable.

Q. Why did you think it was important to take this angle?

A. I love to share my enthusiasm with pastel painting! While I paint/exercise with pastels, it is so visceral, tactile, and immediate. This direct medium creates a connection through me onto the painting surface that provides a grounded sense of connection with mankind. This connection is much like singing or playing music – it is fun… and it allows me to be me!

Q. So cool! So tell me, what are the three main highlights of your course?

A.The basics of building a composition, colour theme, and creative intentions.


brenda boylan the blue line pastel 24x24 in pastel today gail sibley
Brenda Boylan, The Blue Line, pastel 24 x 24 in.


Q. And what’s the main thing you want students to come out of the course with?

A. I want the students to build a solid plan so they can have success working with pastels.

Q. How has creating the course (and I know a LOT of work goes into this!) changed/affected your own work?

A. It was a huge reminder that I needed a structure, a plan of the basics, instead of simply jumping right into work without a plan in place.

Q. Anything else you want to tell us about the course? Some cool secret perhaps??

A. In the FUNdamentals video I shared the basics of working with pastels while composing a scene of a big barn on a hill. It was a lot of fun working with the Streamline film crew and giving them so much credit for all their talent. And my cool secret? Have fun with painting. Not every work will turn out, but each piece is an important step towards a better piece.  We start out crawling and soon we are running… it takes practice.

Fabulous advice!


PS.  By the way…Brenda is teaching at Pastel Live, the upcoming online experience. She let it slip that she’ll be teaching something urban-related for sure.


brenda boylan the fall line pastel 24x24 in pastel today gail sibley
Brenda Boylan, The Fall Line, pastel 24 x 24 in.



Be inspired by these accepted UART competition entries!

Need some painting inspiration? Then click here to go check out the amazing collection of 50 accepted entries in the UART competition! 

Which is your fave?

Here are a couple of paintings to whet your appetite:


deborah shea splendid orchid pastel on UART 800
Deborah Shea, Splendid Orchid, pastel on UART 800.


SILJA salmistu lemons pastel on UART dark 500 entry
Silja Salmistu, Lemons, pastel on UART dark 500-entry.


Silja Salmistu wrote a fascinating guest blog for HowToPastel. The subject is quite different from what you see here!



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