Pam Douglas

Clive, IA 

I specialize in painting and drawing.  Primarily working in pastel, the subject of my work is landscape and still life.  Rather than represent the row crops of the midwest, I find beauty in the landscape ignored and left to nature.  Nature creates beauty in its chaotic placement of color and texture. My still life works are contemporary compositions representing simple objects set in a specific orientation in space.

Today’s divisive banter pushes me to escape to places of solitude and peace.  Whether in my studio or outside along a dusty road, I experience being in the present while I am painting.  I offer this experience to the viewer. I also give them the opportunity to consider beauty in the simple still life or the landscape that is considered unremarkable until you spend time there.  I invite the viewer to imagine the serenity found in nature and consider it my mission to remind people of the duty we have to work to keep balance in our environment.

In my work, the interaction of color intensity and temperature strengthens the illusion of light, color, and form.  Through my continued investigation of the use of color, I work to skillfully to produce the limits of depth or atmosphere. 

​My technique depends on where I am at the time I am painting and the subject matter I intend to paint.  I evaluate the subject matter before I choose what paper and the underpainting method I will use to begin the painting.  I can choose from a variety of papers or surfaces. I use watercolor stock, drawing paper, pastel paper, sanded papers, or gessoed surfaces I prepare myself.  

My underpainting is created by applying pastel and then brushing on mineral spirits or alcohol.  I will block in large shapes that simplify the composition or subject matter. Sometimes, I will use water color to block in a painting before applying pastel.  After beginning the pastel application, I can also come into the painting at any time and brush the pastel with alcohol to set or darken color on the paper.

I use many different densities of pastels.  I usually begin with hard pastels and then with a layering technique, will work from the harder to the softest pastels.  I also generally work from darker to lighter colors while painting. 

In my still life paintings the subject matter is structured by the impact of color and evolves from a method of layering color to build variations of depth and patterning producing both tension and harmony.  I respect the local or intrinsic color of an object, but I deliberately choose color to create the strongest sense of depth, light, and form.  

In my paintings, I find the use of complementary color very important.  Using complements or split complements gives me the most vibrant contrasts and intensifies color as I lay it in over the under painting.  As opposites in temperature, I enjoy how these color choices broaden the tonal range in my paintings and enrich contrasts. Using these also establishes color balance and harmony in my compositions and sets objects in space.  

I have traveled to many places and attended many workshops over the years.  I have participated in many regional and national competitions and have offered many solo exhibitions throughout Iowa.  My work has won awards at all levels of competition. I am recognized as a signature member of pastel societies. Although an artist waits for these opportunities to learn from others and share their work, most of my time is spent at the easel.

​The process of remembering the places I have visited and recreating the mood of a landscape or creating tension in a still life energizes me.  The process of seeking and finding subject matter for my next painting engages my adventurous side. I always look forward to having a block of time to start a new group of paintings.