Portrait of an artist
June 14, 2013
"SCREEEEEEEECH." "That did it, Maggie! You're going into the other room. She's just showing off for you, Ron." And with that, Pamella's 20-year-old parrot is taken out of the kitchen, scolding, vociferously to an unknown destination.
I'm spending the morning with Pamella, one of the most artistic people I have ever met. Her spouse, Buddy, works for the Nevada State Legislature. They are 180 degrees apart in demeanor, but have discovered the kind of marital bliss that makes you want to spend as much time as possible with them. Although we're close friends, I gently probe the surface of the artist sitting before me. Pamella is soft spoken, extremely feminine and highly intuitive.
"I have given myself permission to make creativity my life's work," she said and proceeds to tell me about her work with Judy Chicago, a famous artist. For many years, Pamella embroidered over Judy's paintings, giving them a textured look.
"That's how our brand of mixed media needlework came into being," she said. I glance at a proof of the cover sheet of "Seasons: Through the Lives of Two Women." The book is written by Pamella and Melanie, longtime friends. The cover's primary color is a mossy green. Dominating the cover, is a picture that draws your eye up along rough-hewn steps into a shimmering golden light.
"Publishing this book has been expensive and difficult, but we have to do it," Pamella said, with a heavy dose of determination in her voice. I've read her other book, "Neglected Rhythms of the Heart: The Story of an Invisible Woman." This book captures Pamella's struggle with the domination that life sometimes deals the young. It's her way of encouraging others who find themselves stuck in an intolerable life. "I had a lot of trouble in school, and had to drop out. I'd get up in the morning and write down anything that came into my mind. That's when I started journaling. It's the only way I can think clearly. I have to write. I'm passionate about recording my life," she said.
Writing is her way to reach out and embrace people. Pamella brings more raisin bread toast to the table and fills our tea cups. One of the lovable things about Pamella, is her readiness to confess, at any moment, her innermost thoughts.
Last year, I was bummed out with two hip procedures. During my recovery, she brought me buckets of homemade peanut butter cookies, and this is from a woman who openly shuns her oven. Pamella sees the world through the eyes of an artist.
She glows when she speaks. She has the ability to rip off the cover of her soul and sprinkle out the diamonds she finds there. We may have herds of cattle, and acres of alfalfa in Smith Valley, but we also have ourselves one fine artist. Her name is Pamella.
Ron Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.