The Way of WaterIrish Seascape

Pam Collins’ exhibit opens in the upstairs gallery on February 1 and continues through February 28.  Join Pam for conversation during her reception Sunday, February 23rd from 2 – 4 pm.

Following is Pam’s artist statement.

I want to sound smart and “artsy” and have all the right jargon so you will be impressed.  Unfortunately I can only speak my language, which comes from my emotions.  As Chagall said, “ If I create from the heart, nearly everything works, if from the head, almost nothing.”  I do almost all things from my heart and indeed I know that when I make art based on my emotions, it is successful.

This series came about because of my curiosity regarding an artist’s style.  I posed the question, if an artist works in three different mediums, would their style be identifiable?

As I took on this challenge, I was not fully prepared for the challenges I would face.

The title of this show is “The Way of Water”, because my favorite subject, no matter what medium, is water.  I am fascinated by it, obsessed by it, distracted by it, crazy about it.  When we use the gifts we have been given, and share our passions with others, our whole being is “right with the world.” I am an artist, and I am happiest and most content when making art, teaching others about it and awakening others to find their gifts.

Working in watercolor is very sinuous and rich in color and movement.  I enjoy making the paint move across the paper and see what delicious  colors I can achieve.  This medium is especially well suited in painting water.  Making fabric turn in to a painting is challenging for it can be molded and glued, but it cannot be blended, like watercolor.  Fabric has always been an interest for me.  I love the way it drapes and the textures of fabric are always enticing to me.  Working in mosaic is another kind of challenge.  I have a special heart for this medium for it represents a metamorphosis of my life. Taking old, discarded, or damaged materials, cutting them into new shapes and making beauty of them is a personal healing.  This medium is extremely cathartic for me and is most rewarding.  Each piece I create is a healing for me, and proof to myself that life can be made beautiful from rough edges, shards, and destruction.

Making paintings of Ireland’s coastline out of tiles, plates and glass was a struggle at times.  How does one make fog out of hard material?   How do you convey jagged cliff edges using fabric? Each medium had it’s challenges. I was forced to look at each medium more objectively to work through the obstacles.

Ultimately I am pleased with the results, and I have grown artistically in the process. I pushed through the challenges and discovered I was able to conquer doubts and complications that were before me. I am a stronger, more confident artist as a result of this grant.

And isn’t that what all of life’s experiences are meant to do?

Thanks to Five WIngs Arts Council for allowing me to search for an answer to my question.