Hello! Thanks for stopping by for…
I'm so happy about this week's Behind the Blog– which could also be called "Behind the Brush." I got to interview my sweet friend Pam Holderman, who I met in Kelly Rae Robert's class. Pam's art is so heartfelt and uplifting. And so is she! I love how that she embraces her spiritual life– and the way she channels it in her work. Her blog, "Heaven and Nature Sing" is a lovely and inspirational place to visit.
You are an incredibly talented artist– at what point in your life did you know it was your calling? Thank you… I have always created and the 'light bulb' clicked on when I took a ceramic class the summer after Kindergarten and I made the best bunny ash tray. We all made ashtrays back in the 60's even if we did not know any smokers. I remember feeling so proud and it was so wondrous to see the clay pieces after they came out of the kiln. That is when I knew I was an artist.
What was the first kind of art you were drawn to? How has that evolved? I don't remember other than I love color and how one color plays against another. I love the idea of painting, dressing or decorating in neutrals, but I just can't do it– gotta have lots of color in lots of layers. The art that I like years ago still excites me. My tastes haven't changed a lot. I like representational and abstract– doesn't matter but it has to give me that zing and spark. I love good contemporary art, but I think a lot of the famous contemporary art from the '70's onward is rubbish. Oops did I just say that? I had to study it in school and never got it. A white painting on white canvas – give me a break.
The College Years
Self Taught, School or Both? I took every art class I ever could. I got a BA from Scripps College and then was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow and studied Albrecht Durer in Europe for a year. Upon my return, I applied to 3 schools for my masters in fabric design and did not get accepted to any. That stopped me in my tracks. Why do we let others dictate how we think about ourselves? So my art just went by the wayside for many years.
What are you creating these days? I just love still lifes. I adore Morandi's simple compositions. I wish I liked to paint people more. I try, but it does not excite me much. I like painting santos though and of course crows too and will work on more of these.
How would you describe your current style? Oh that is a tough one. I think we are sometimes blind to our own styles. I hope mine brings a smile to the viewer's face, the color is happy, and that it gives the viewer a joyful pause as he/she looks at the layers of mixed-media. The title of my blog 'heaven and nature sing' says it all for me.
Can you tell us about your studio? When do you like to work in there? I have no discipline. Just create when I want to and if I don't want to I don't. Wish it was different, but it just does not work for me. I am usually in a big creative push or nothing is happening. Although my mind is creating all the time and I am constantly writing down ideas I want to make. The funny thing is that sometimes after I picture them in my mind I feel they already exist and I don't need to make them. Can't believe I just said that.
How do you deal with creative challenge (artist's block)? I don't. Just ignore it and try not to fret over it and know that I will be creative again when I am ready.
You Are the Salt of the Earth
Where do the ideas for your art come from? Oh my – everywhere. I love meshing ideas from the Bible with everyday life. An example would be "you are the salt of the earth" with salt and pepper shakers.
Can you share your creative process? What mediums do you use and how to you make them all work together? I usually start with some sort of texture on the board or paper. I don't like canvas or flat surfaces. Then I do some transfer drawings, and start building the background with stamps, stencils, cut out paper and just keep layering until I get the result I like. It is always a little different experience.
Many people feel intimidated to "make art"– what would you say to them? Just do it – one step at a time. A year ago I did not have a blog and had not been painting "for me" for a very long time. I had no idea how to create a blog, but I did it anyways. I have changed it several times since and there is always more to learn. I set up an etsy shop and need to fine tune that still. I need to make prints of my art – so much to do and learn. If we wait until everything is perfect, who will ever start? This creative community is very supportive – it is not a competition. I see no difference between craft and art and just being creative. It all comes from the same place in me and I never fit in with the college "fine art" scene that says art is better than craft. One of my favorite quotes that really seems true to me is the following: "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult." Seneca
Was there a person in your life who encouraged your art and made a difference in your perception of your talent? I suppose my mom who was a wonderful potter, then poet and now photographer. At 86 she still loves to work on her photography prints. She has always encouraged me. Oh yes and my husband… when he was my boyfriend in college, I was not accepted into a junior year abroad program in Rome for art. He went to school in a different state then. He sent me a bouquet of flowers and a card that said "I will accept all your applications". That was the nicest thing anyone ever did to lift my spirits.
Life is Like
Are you part of a creative community? Not until this year when I discovered the world of art blogs. I basically did not paint for many years because there wasn't a way to share what I created and it was a lonely existence if one couldn't share with another artist who just gets 'it'. The internet has allowed this incredible group of people from around the globe to encourage and support each other. What an incredible blessing. I took Kelly Rae's class last month and joined a facebook group from the class. It is awesome to meet like-minded souls. That is how I met Malia. Cool huh?
What basic equipment does a person need to start painting? Basically if someone has a stick and some dirt – that will work. If someone wants to create then any materials will work. I have always collected any and everything that could be used to make art. Now as I am older and have a little bit more expendable income, I find that I purchase lots of art supplies and most of them I do not touch. I love the free stuff such as bottle and jar lids which make wonderful circles, bubble wrap for printing, corks for making stamps etc.. I also think the cheap craft paint works just as well as the expensive, but the pigment is not as intense. I have painted outdoor signs with it and they have not faded after 10 years.
God is a an element in your work– can you explain? My faith affects everything I do and create. My blog says that I love the way God put color and texture into nature and that inspires me to put that into my art. I can't sing, but I can draw and paint and that is my singing – hence "Heaven and Nature Sing" – my blog title. I like to connect faith and art and find the sacred in the secular. I have a passion and desire to inspire others, to help them along their artistic path, and to show God's beauty in the simple everyday doings of my life.
You work a lot with kids– what can we learn from the way they approach art? I love working with K-3rd grade. They are open and excited and willing to try something they don't immediately understand. Unfortunately kids start turning into little adults after that and really scrutinize their art and start comparing. My job is give kids that "aha" moment (that I had with the ash tray in Kindergarten) and get them feeling good about themselves and what they create. The biggest pitfall to them is the idea of making a mistake. My very favorite thing to do is to show student how to take a mistake and turn it into a positive. Don't we all need that?
Can you recommend a simple art project we can do with our kids? Go to my blog and look under Art Lessons for Students at the top. All my lessons that I taught during the past year are there. If you need more instruction just e-mail me and I will clarify. I am having fun thinking of new projects for this coming year.
Tell us about how you were featured in Somerset Studio Magazine? Somerset is always looking for art. They explain how to submit in the back of their magazines. I simply sent in the piece of art with an explanation of how I created it.
What are you feeling like embracing these days and what types of things are you feeling ready to let go? Oh that's a good question and one I have been wrestling with. Since I am getting older it does seem like I want to weed out the things that are not as important to me and spend lots of time being creative. I love working at a school and being around young minds, and I love teaching them art. But that allows less time to make art. So it is a juggling act. I am an introvert and if I was only creating I would pull away from the outside world and get lost in mine, and for me that would not be very healthy. So I choose to do less art and spend time with people who inspire me. I am trying not to judge and not to fret if someone doesn't like my art – so ready to let go of that.
When you complete a piece of art– how do you feel? It really depends if I am satisfied with it because many pieces are not perfect and never will be and some just have it all together from the start. It may sound cliche, but they do feel like they're kids and it is hard to part with some of them.
Do you collect art? Favorite contemporary artist? My favorite piece is a watercolor that I found 20 years ago in a second hand store. It is beautifully done and the scene is Albrecht Durer's house in Nuremberg. It is one of those pieces that I dream of taking to Antique Roadshow if they ever came to town.
I bought a mixed media angel from Jane DeRosier last year that really inspired me to start selling my art.
Color: I go weak in the knees over reds, greens and mustards
Art Store: Michaels
Store for Inspiration: Anthropologie
Magazine for Inspiration: Anything by Stampington, House Beautiful
Coffee Drink: Decaf Vanilla Latte (preferably made by my barista husband)
Place to go to Relax: My new patio or on the shores of Pine Lake
Movie: Billy Elliot and About a Boy
Song: Changes Daily – currently music by Cloud cult, Brandi Carlile and Brett Dennen
Quote: "For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12 again this goes with the idea of just taking one step after another, and offering each other grace…
Book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
Artists: Durer, Monet, and countless contemporary mixed media artists (many listed in links on the blog)
Art Book: Walking on Water reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle
Museum/Place to Find Art: The Guggenheim in Venice, The Albertina in Vienna, the Getty Center in LA
Where can we find you and your work:
Email: [email protected]
Paintings for Sale on Blog: Lots listed on the page that says "for sale" – most are for sale in card form and I want to make prints to sell this fall (anyone interested?)
FaceBook: Yes would love friends
Anywhere else? Not now but would love to find an outlet in the Seattle area, or anywhere for that matter.