"I paint simple things – the things I see, am attached to and love. Every subject contains an essence that belongs to just that moment. I get to be with that feeling while I translate it into the poetry of paint. As I become more aware, I keep learning that truth is everywhere. Painting is my way to see and tell the truth. I hope that I’ll inspire others to look twice at the beauty of their everyday lives...and to find their own way of expressing that."
Pam Ingalls is an island artist with longevity and substance. Twice a year, at least, I spend time at her gallery show. Her subjects vary from Italian scenes, Central American images, and best, her shows of island residents. She calls herself a Russian Impressionist. I think of her as a magician with light.
Year after year I would buy her postcards, risk saying a few words to her, and take her images etched onto my mind. About fifteen years ago, while at her showing, my husband mentioned that I taught piano. She exclaimed that she had a dream of taking piano lessons. A plan was hatched. I would teach her piano and she would give me a painting. Her moderate sized pieces were then $1200. That meant a year of lessons.
Week after week I sat beside her and guided her through scales, chords, and pieces that I hoped captured her interest. With long fingers, sometimes dotted with paint, I encouraged her to be patient as muscles and tendons moved new ways. She was very humble to try a new pursuit. It didn't come easily. I learned that she was a very hard worker. For thirty years she had supported herself as an artist. Her life was simple but at the same time very adventuresome. Our lessons had sporadic gaps when she was off in Italy painting with students. For all the romance surrounded the profession of artist I found Pam to be grounded and kind.
You may be wondering what painting I acquired in exchange for the lessons. She could have given me anything from her studio but she chose to paint something new, just for me. Taking pictures around my home, she settled on my teaching corner. We brought out a cello my husband was restoring and when my daughter told her that the cello was named Pete, she named the painting, Pete At The Piano.
Pam is just one of many island artists I know and appreciate. I shared her story because she sowed a seed within me to try painting myself. My home has more paintings which I received in trade for piano lessons. This one started a collection. Each piece of art has a personal story and I so admire the artists whose work is on my walls.
You can find out more about Pam Ingalls here. Tomorrow I tell about how I braved the world of paint, canvas, and brushes.
I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.