Friday, April 1, 2016

Spotlight on Pamela Dennis Hall, Texas Top Ten 2016

"John and Charlie", 40" x 30",  Oil on Canvas​

Name: Pamela Dennis Hall
Current City: Fredericksburg, TX

When and how did you first become seriously interested in art?

I have always been aware of the beauty around me and tried to translate what I see into
art. My father used to bring home reams of used paper from his work, and I would turn
over to the unused side and draw what was around me. My love of horses and dogs
turned into countless drawings. My first “solo show” was in first grade, when my teacher
asked me to draw other students for an open house. Knowing that others could respond
to my work became further incentive to create.

What is your training and what medium(s) subject matter do you work in?

Art classes on weekends at the Cleveland Museum in grade school, and the opportunity
to take weekend classes at the Cleveland Art Institute during high school gave me a solid
background in drawing. Going to an art institute after high school was frowned upon by
my parents, who wanted me to have the security of an art education degree. At Ohio
State University, I found that by majoring in figure drawing, I could add some studies in
realism to the enormous pressure to create abstractions in my other studio classes.
Through workshops with artists such as Daniel Greene, David Leffel, and many others, I
learned about materials and techniques that enable paintings to last for years to come.
My favorite medium is oils and subject matter is portraiture….human, dog or equestrian.

What do you try to express in your work?

I try to create not just portraits, but paintings with an emphasis on composition and light.
Light fascinates me…it can be a small spot of sunlight on a leaf, the way light travels
across a subject’s face, or falls on a subject washed with sunlight from a nearby window.
I want to go beyond the likeness, for each portrait subject offers chance to honor a
person’s spirit and character for family and friends for years to come. As a life-long
lover of animals, I see the opportunity to show what makes them unique and the special
character that makes them an important part of their owner’s lives.

What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences?

There are so many! Sargent always comes first for me. Sorolla, Van Dyke, Vermeer,
Landseer…and on and on. A contemporary favorite is Burton Silverman. His portraits
have such insight and solidity.I think Daniel Greene showed his workshop students that an artist can work better with some structure to the way paint is mixed and handled. Before that, I was mixing colors
here and there, with no real method. Being able to really see color and mix paints to be
the color I was seeing was a big step forward. David Leffel saw poetry in the smallest
things…his ability to share that with his classes was inspiring. Carolyn Anderson and her emphasis on letting edges go was also an influence.

What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?

I can just take a walk, go out to visit with my horses and watch then grazing, and just
naturally doing what they were intended to do, or look at my 5 dogs in my studio with
me, and get ideas for paintings. A neighbor just bought a Charolais bull and he is on the
list. What a magnificent animal! I am always trying to make each new painting a step forward in technique and
expression, and if I am feeling stuck, looking through works of artists, or taking a
workshop can be a boost. The Metropolitan Museum is a must for trips to New York

What would you like to be doing ten years from now?

Painting portraits of people and animals with ten years of added insight and experience.

Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?

Yes, I am always trying to improve my technique and my ability to make a painting what
I envision.

Are you happy with your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this
career choice or things you would have done differently?

I love being a portrait painter. It offers a unique chance to know and relate to clients.. I
am now painting the 2 year-old child of a client I painted when she was a teen. The
connection with people means a great deal to me.I would definitely do things differently. If I had a chance for a “do over” I would go to the Art Student’s League and study instead of going to college.

Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you’d like to share?

Fifteen years ago, I moved to a small ranch near Fredericksburg, TX. It gave me a space
to do exactly what I wanted to do, near a town with well known art galleries and an
artist’s school that hosted workshops all year. Having a space for all the animals I love
and the rewarding job of caring for them and their environs is a built in source of joy.
The only vacations I require are trips to museums!

Best piece of advice for other artists?

Don’t doubt yourself, and never think you have reached your goals.
You can nurture an astute inner critic, and hear other’s positive and negative comments
about your work and use both to further your goals.

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