Mary Jo Heath was born in Coos Bay, Oregon. She moved to the Rogue Valley with her family at the age of five, attended school in Central Point and graduated from Medford High School. Higher education includes two bachelor degrees from Southern Oregon College, Graduate Studies at the University of Oregon and numerous workshops.
She taught art in public schools for more than 30 years. In 1994 she began working with pastels and has won several awards.
“I have gained experience with a variety of art media during my time spent teaching art in public schools. Of all the media that I have tried, pastel is the most immediate, the most expressive and the most forgiving. The pastels become an extension of my hand as I try to interpret what I see and how I feel about a subject matter. It could be the light, the composition or the challenge of a new subject. Sometimes the subject matter becomes a vehicle for a more abstract expression. Whatever the inspiration, pastel says it best for me.”