The Pastel Journal


Aesop taught us millennia ago that “slow and steady wins the race.” More recently, Malcolm Gladwell has popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. Plein air landscape painter Willo Balfrey provides clear evidence of the truth behind these suppositions; her artistic journey has been ongoing and persistent, and she’s reaping the benefits.


Balfrey grew up in Durango, Colo., and although she had some interest in drawing, she had no drive to be an artist as a child. Still, the Colorado landscape must have seeped into her subconscious. “There were such beautiful mountains surrounding my family home,” she says. “Even though I didn’t know I wanted to be an artist, I think back now and realize what a huge influence the landscape has had on my vision of beauty.”

Years later, when Balfrey began

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