"Step Into Freedom" is an original pastel drawing by Michele Molina (2018). This is drawn on Strathmore Charcoal paper 500 series (gray). Framed in a simple 22 x 26 inch black frame with glass. Detail done with gray-toned Prismacolor pencil.


STEP INTO FREEDOM depicts two women affected by mass incarceration in the U.S.


Read their stories below.


“Stepping into Freedom” Adrienne Davis and Suzy M.


Written by Adriene Davis—(on left) Her husband is Stephen Davis who went to prison at age 19 and was sentence to Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP). He has served 23 years. Adrienne says, “Being a prison wife of an inmate serving LWOP I often get questioned as to why I married someone that is sentenced to die in prison. But no one ever stops to think that he must be extraordinary for this woman to look past the obvious obstacles. This past August, my husband received a commutation of sentence from Gov. Brown. He will go to Board in a few short weeks. A love that can flourish even in the darkest of places, that is an unwavering love that most will never know nor ever understand.”


Written by Suzy M.—In 1997 she was arrested and given Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP). “My survival was God’s strength getting me through every single day.” She had help from Innocence Matters to prove that she was innocent of her crime and was released after 17 years in 2014. She had written “FREEDOM” on the bottom of her Tennis shoes and didn’t want to believe she had LWOP. She said, “I believed one day I would walk free!”


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"Step Into Freedom" Freedom from Prison, Original Pastel Drawing, Framed

  • What are pastels?

    Pastels are pure powdered pigments mixed with very little binder and made into sticks, pans or pencils. These are the same pigments used in making oil and water color paints. Having very little binder mixed with them enables pastels to be rich and vibrant. 

    How long will pastels last?

    Pastels will last an incredibly long time with proper care. They are actually superior to oils in that they will not crack or darken over time and every bit as permanent. The pastels of Degas and Cassat were created back in the 1800's and still just as beautiful as the day they were completed. 

    How do I take care of my pastel?

    • Do not touch the surface of a pastel. It can be easily smudged or smeared. The oils from your fingertips can cause the paper to degrade over time.
    • Do not hang your pastel or ANY artwork for that matter in direct sunlight. Even if the work was created with top of the line materials sunlight will cause fading.
    • Keep the work away from moisture. Do not store it in a moist humid place. Moisture can damage the work and encourage mold growth on some types of art. Don't hang an original work of art in a bathroom!
    • Pastels usually come with a sheet of glassine as a protective covering. Leave it in place until you are ready to frame it.
    • Never place anything on top of your painting. This can damage a pastel by smearing or leaving an unwanted impression on the surface of the work.

    Professional framing is ALWAYS recommended.

     If you absolutely can't afford a professional framer here are some tips for framing it yourself.

    • Get a frame deep enough to hold the glazing (glass) a mat board, spacers the work and a backing board. Frames made for oil paintings work pretty well.
    • The pastel should never touch the glass in a frame. Use an acid free mat to prevent this from happening.
    • Use a thin spacer between the mat board and the art. These can be thin strips of acid free foamcore, mat-board or small rubber spacers made for pastel framing.
    • Use UV blocking museum quality glass or glare free glass if possible.
    • NEVER use acrylic sheets or plexiglass for your pastels. These can create an electrical charge that will pull tiny dust particles from the surface of your pastel and cause them to stick to the acrylic or plexiglass causing a dirty haze.
    • Always use a dust cover on the back of the framed art. This is usually a piece of brown butcher paper cut to the size of the frame and taped tightly to the back to seal out unwanted dust and critters from getting into the frame.
    • Once framed, do not hammer any hardware to the back of the frame as this will dislodge the pastel from the surface creating dust inside the frame. Never transport a pastel face down.

    Pastels are surprisingly durable so don't be afraid to purchase one. They will last every bit as long as an oil painting.

    Credit Article: "Tips on Pastel Care" by Vivian Cooper

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