Today, the enchanting and talented artist and interior designer Pamela Copeman joins us in the Creative Cafe to discuss her passion for art, what inspires her and her life-long dedication to creating things of beauty.
I am inspired by books, movies, theater, and I also find great inspiration from television shows, especially period pieces such as Downton Abbey and Mad Men. Whether it is the grand sets of Downtown or Joan’s dresses on Mad Men, I find these carefully constructed worlds inspire me especially when I paint interiors and fashion. I am also inspired by my travels. Whether to Guatemala or to Europe or even Las Vegas, I find different cultures and surroundings offer so much ‘eye candy’ and visual stimulation. I have always believed that inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look for it, and I love translating these influences and energy into my paintings.
I see creating art as a way of communicating in a deeper language that words cannot always offer. It is an escape when the world creeps in too far. I am able to express myself through my art, whether it is mixed media, watercolor or oil paints. Art has become as extension of who I am.
Art attracts me because I can create something that is totally original. Even if I’m referencing an image or photo, I am painting something that I envision, something from my mind’s eye. This is a different type of creativity than I use in my Interior Design work. With design work, I collaborate with my clients to create a space that reflects them. In my studio, it is just me. When I paint, I find myself in a near meditative state, in quiet pursuit of laying paint to stimulate in the viewer an emotion or a memory.
If not pursuing art, I would love to be an actress (I majored in Speech & Drama in college), particularly in a drama or a musical. There is something very safe for me when I take on a role. My mother raised me and my four sisters on fairy tales and I don’t think I have ever outgrown make-believe!
Being an artist and creating art is something that gives my soul flight…it fills my heart with wonder and joy. Art makes every day special and filled with color. Art elevates my view of the world and other cultures.
The most recent art-related book I’ve read and would recommend is the novel “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. I adored the premise and the beginning of the 771 page book. However, for me, there were so many twists and turns accompanied by an ending that I found absurd, that I ended up being disappointed. I do still love the painting The Goldfinch that is on display at the Frick Museum in New York City.
As far as an art book, I have just received Carol Marine’s book “Daily Painting.” I have studied with Carol and love her painting style and her! This book is very academic and illustrative, it follows some of the exercises of her classes. I strongly recommend this book for all painters – it is visually appealing and highlights other artists as well.
The most challenging artistic project I’ve undertaken was two Christmas commissions for the sisters–in–law of a dear friend. I was flattered and determined to do a great job. I was asked to paint a home in Spain from a poor quality photo – with poor light to boot. The home itself was challenging with an intricate architecture featuring multiple peaks and chimneys. The other painting was of a street in Italy. This one should not have been as difficult because I have traveled to Italy. Again though there were issues ~ the photo was taken from a poor vantage point and she wanted a particular restaurant awning in view. I labored over these and probably made about $1 an hour after all the time spent sketching, researching, and re-painting. I was petrified that one sisters-in-law’s painting would be better than the other and my friend would be alienated forever based on my skill. The pressure!!
I started these challenging paintings by sketching first and then did an image search for similar photos to help me with the shading etc. The end result was that when I met both of these sisters-in-law a couple of years later they both mentioned how much they loved their paintings. The icing on the cake was when my friend told me the paintings were one of her favorite gifts to give that year.
My creative endeavors have led me to travel to workshops in several international locations. Many years ago I was gifted with the opportunity to travel to Mexico and study with artist Page Pearson Railsback. At the time was a new painter and I was very insecure about my artistic skills. Additionally, I had never traveled alone outside this country. It ended up being perhaps the best present I have ever received. I learned so much not only about the process of painting from a gifted artist, but also about the beauty and kindness of Puerto Vallarta and about myself and my ability to manage multiple flight connections – which made me a much more confident traveler and woman.
I continue to take the opportunity travel whenever I can ~ even when revisiting a place there is always something new to see or learn. When I traveled to Tuscany this fall, I painted everyday with watercolor. It was a new and challenging medium for me but so much more portable than oil paints. I loved the ease of watercolors and being able to paint everyday.
My favorite place that art has taken me is into a group of talented local artists known collectively as Girls Just Wanna Paint. I was beyond thrilled when they invited me to join four years ago. Each month one of the member artists selects a challenge for us to paint. For example, December’s challenge was Celebration. We then post our paintings online at Girls Just Wanna Paint. Early in the month we meet to socialize and critique one another’s work. Not only have I grown so much artistically, I have developed a new circle of friends whom I admire and love so much.
The project I dream about creating someday would be to curate and design an exhibit of my paintings in a gallery or library. The title would be “A Few of My Favorite Things.” I have often been asked what my genre is in terns of my art. I answer that I am still developing my favorite “thing” to paint. There are so many subjects and different mediums that catch my attention that it’s hard for me to narrow what I paint to one genre. In my show I would include still life, faces, gowns, of course beautiful interiors. I would also love to create a fabric and wall covering line!
My advice to those who feel the call to pursue their creative dreams is that there is no time like the present to set goals for 2016. If you have the desire to create, there is usually a need in your soul to do so. Start with a local class and get your feet wet. Be aware that there is a learning curve when taking on any new skill and you just like anything else, you have to do the work. I have studied hard to be an artist and in return art has given so much back to me…on so many levels.
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