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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Roseann Haslett: Preserving Memories with Pastel Portraits

Aug 31, 2011 07:32AM ● By Debra Novak

Despite the number of mediums she tried and the critical self-talk she heard in her head, Roseann Haslett couldn’t run from her destiny as an accomplished pastel portrait artist. Haslett, who specializes in portraits of people and pets, has been artistically inclined since childhood.

When a degree in journalism didn’t quite fill the creative gap in Haslett’s adult life, she tried feeding her muse a regular diet of travel as a flight attendant. Although she delved into other forms of art during her free time—ballet, belly dancing, acting in community theatre, photography and freelance writing for art magazines and community newspapers—nothing totally satisfied her hunger for self-expression, fulfillment and purpose like her graphite drawings.

An artful “Aha!” moment that led Haslett to the canvas on a consistent basis happened when she realized that drawing faces of people and animals with pastel sticks, rather than graphite pencils, allowed her to touch her art. “With pastel sticks, I could touch the color, paper and faces in a more intimate way,” says Haslett. “Although I’d been drawing with graphite pencils off and on for years, I intuitively knew that this medium was for me.”

In 1995, frustrated by self-criticism and an inability to capture skin tones that could make her subjects jump off the canvas into the hearts of viewers, Haslett turned to the yellow pages to find a professional artist that would teach and mentor her. “Learning about skin tones from a professional is what I needed to bring my subjects to life,” she explains. Mastering this missing piece of expertise improved the overall quality of Haslett’s portraits and made her work shine at juried art shows, where she won recognition and awards.

To better master her subject material, Haslett became licensed, bonded and insured, in order to start Animal Pals Pet Sitting. “I knew it would give me opportunities to not only ‘guard furry angels when owners are away,’ but also to learn more about them,” she advises. Spending time with her clients’ pets has yielded a reward: a special knack for capturing personality and character on canvas.

Taking reference photographs on the job allows Haslett to better portray her two- and four-legged friends during her leisure time, when she’s feeding her contented muse. “Portraits let me portray the deep connection between animals and people,” she explains.


Connect with Roseann Haslett at 858-663-2374 or email [email protected]. Visit AnimalPalsPetSitting.com or RoseannHaslettArt.com.