From Pamela's DPW Gallery Page:
I am an avid portrait painter. As a mother of six (and grandmother of nine) I have had ample subject matter, if sometimes a lack of time and energy. Nevertheless, I have kept painting in the last 30 years because it is what I love to do! I am beginning to delve into still-life, as I have realized that 'everything' is actually a portrait! Somethings just sit REALLY still.
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
I was getting a BFA in ceramics at the University of Oregon and I kept walking by the painting studios and I realized that I loved the smell of oil paint. It was love at first smell. But, and this is great, I was scared to just plunge in, so I took a bunch of drawing classes.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
Many. I had six children, and in the middle and after getting my BFA in painting and drawing, I took care of my family and supported my husband in the process of a four year career change. That was super HARD. It turns out that I'm the kind of person who needs to draw and paint like some people need to exercise. I get weird, irritable, and depressed if I'm not creating. For years I sublimated by making amazing bread, sewing my own and my children's clothes and making a crazy creative home. Today I just love going to my studio every day and hoping that clothes and food show up... enough.
|Let Me Be Your Sanctuary|
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Pamela's interview.
What mediums and genres have you experimented with?
I went through a phase where I loved oil pastels. I loved the slidey, greasy feeling, and they were very portable running around with children. I also did some lithography and, again, I loved the greasy feeling of the litho-crayon. My favorite drawing materials are a cheap ballpoint pen and $1 ruled composition books. I write in the composition book every morning as soon as I wake up and often draw what I am thinking of painting that day.
Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
I keep returning to oil painting and I LOVE painting on pedestrian materials like paper, cardboard and foamcore because it makes me feel really loose. People around me keep saying I need to only work on archival materials but I just can't quit that cheap stuff. I feel like I do my best work when nothing is too precious or too serious.
|Too Difficult to Control|
(click to view)
Who or what inspires you most?
I LOVE this question. I am terrifically inspired by children's books like 'The Old Woman Who Named Things' and 'Miss Rumphius,' and I love "story" - the 'age old way' that we communicate with each other.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE real mail. I share that love with Mindy Carpenter (look up her work please). I love the packaging part of sending a painting to people... writing a thank you note, wrapping the painting in tracing paper and sealing it with a sticker of my signature. I love brown paper, tape, labels, and BIG sharpies. And of course, I have a relationship with Stan - my local post office guy.
The people who inspire me are, hands down: Fairfield Porter, Alice Neel, Jennifer Bartlett, and Giorgio Morandi. All of my heroes are people who just kept working regardless of what life threw at them. Alice Neel kept painting portraits when all of the men were painting abstract expressionist stuff and saying that figure painting was "over." Fairfield Porter kept painting his family and landscapes when, again, every one in the art world said those genres were passé. Georgio Morandi just kept painting his dusty, quiet, still-lifes in the bedroom while living with his sisters. Jennifer Bartlett embarked on a bad house swap and turned it into two hundred fabulous drawings and paintings called "In The Garden." I love the idea that we paint 'where we are,' and 'who we are'... and that is enough.
(click to view)
What does procrastination look like for you?
I love to drink coffee and read The New York Times and put off going into the studio because I always think that I have lost my mojo. And, truth be told, sometimes I've had a really crappy painting day the day before... soooo... I always have to return to painting to get over it.
What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?
I play little mental games with myself. I say "Today, at 4:15 I am walking out of my studio to go to yoga, so back that up to spend 6 hours in your studio. Once I get into my studio, I never want to leave, so I basically give myself a talking to... every damn day.
(click to view)
How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?
I actually suffer from idea-a-rhea and I see so many things and have so many ideas that it's more a matter of choosing the best 'paintable' option. I have a big, messy family and they're often my subject matter, but I also admire writers and musicians and filmmakers and get many ideas from them.
How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?
I take myself on artist dates (thank you Julia Cameron) - I go to films, I read, I go to Yoga, I take my anti-depressants. I'm an introvert, so I need a lot of alone time. In my work I'm sort of trying to follow Mary Oliver's advice: Pay attention. Be Astonished. Tell someone.
(click to view)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
I toggle back and forth between technical skill and philosophical input. This past summer I spent a day with Peggi Kroll Roberts focused solely on getting myself to use more paint. She was fantastic! Right now, I'm kind of mind blown by the writers and painters who went before us, and the chain of influence and the fact that I've never heard of amazing people whose quiet steady work moved the creative conversation forward.
What makes you happiest about your art?
When I get to the essence of a thing without overly delineating and I have the confidence to just leave it. When I surprise myself by being un-self-conscious and something wonk-a-doodle comes out of me.
© 2018 Sophie Marine