I had never picked up a soft pastel stick until May, 2005 - that's actually when I got back into my art 30 years after obtaining my Fine Arts degree...another story for later. :)
It's amazing how I have improved in almost three years of creating pastel paintings. The improvement comes from many hours of practice, exploring other artist's techniques, viewing WetCanvas threads, and attending workshops.
Here is one of my first attempts using soft pastels - June of 2005.
"Seaside Before Sunset" - 13"x23" on Canson paper
In September, 2007 - I created one of my favorite paintings -
"Forgotten Field" - 12"x18" on Museum Grade Wallis Paper.