I think I became an artist because of these sticks of buttery chalk and vivid pigment. When I was 15 years old, I discovered Edgar Degas books in the school library. I was mesmerized by his strong dark lines and striking color combinations. My art teacher, Mary Carrithers, gave me a box of pastels and I proceeded to copy as many Degas as I could. I love the way this beautiful medium blends to create luminous atmospheres and serene spaces. My earliest works were in this medium and I continue to enjoy the ease and spontaneity of putting chalk to paper, as much as I did when I was fifteen years old.