Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Five Minutes with Oil Painter Pam Holnback

This past several weeks I've been interviewing artists in a range of styles with a variety of aims, from fine arts to ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions & Originals). Seeing some of Pam Holnback's paintings brought back memories from my Kentucky roots, particular Natural Bridge State Park. Pam hails from Colorado, and there is undoubtedly no end to the inspiration that can come from being surrounded by natural beauty.

What interested me even more, however, was that her career had been as an art teacher. I remember well going to the art room while in elementary school in Maple Heights, Ohio. Later, I found great encouragement from Mr. Sebes who taught art at BRHS-West. My college professors were equally formative in helping me bring a confidence to my work. Even when the execution was bad, they saw a spark of something more. But I'll never forget those special times in the art room at Stafford School in Maple Heights, made possible by an art teacher and a school that supported the arts.

So, without further adieu.... Pam Holnback.

Ennyman: You taught art for a lifelong career. How did you become an art teacher?

Pam H: When I started college I was an art major. During a required freshman speech class, I was always giving the speeches on art related subjects. The speech teacher told the class that I'd make a great teacher, and my mind said, Yes, I would love that. I switched my major to Art Education and never looked back.

E: What grade levels did you teach, elementary, mid-school or high school?

PH: Through my career I taught K - 12. The last 13 years were in middle school. I taught at a wonderful, supportive school. I loved the energy of those kids and the fact that they came to art everyday for one semester. I incorporated many of my lessons with their Social Studies curriculum.

E: Did you ever wish you were teaching college art students?

PH: No, my personality, interests, and aspirations were always with challenging, inspiring, and teaching kids.

E: Have you always lived in Colorado? I see you derive a lot of inspiration from the natural beauty that surrounds there...

PH: Thank you. I came to Colorado as a college freshman, and except for 6 years that I lived overseas, I've been here ever since. Colorado is a great fit for me. I love the out-of-doors, the mountains, the vast skies, the sun. It's all here and I incorporate it into my paintings. When our kids were small and I had little time for painting, our family was always enjoying the out -of-doors. It's why people live in this state.

E: What are your biggest influences and why?

PH: One of my biggest personal influences was my mother. She was a little ahead of her time. My sisters and I were raised to believe that anyone could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it. She traveled and worked after college, and then married. I followed in her footsteps. One of the biggest influences on my paintings is my environment. I paint what's around me and what I love.

E: Oils can take so long to dry. What do you like about oil painting, and why do you paint on panels?

PH: I started painting w/ oils because the artist that I wanted to study with was an oil painter. I like using them because they're forgiving, and I love how well you can mix colors. I've never really painted with any other medium. I use small panels for my daily paintings. I use stretched canvas for my bigger pieces.

E: Are you selling your work, and if so how and where?

PH: My work is all for sale. I've sold some through the Internet, some in shows, and now have some pieces in a local venue.

E: I believe all children have a natural inborn creativity. Any suggestions for art teachers on how to be a source of motivation to develop that instead of becoming the wet blanket that squelches their creative dreams?

PH: I believe that whether you're an art teacher, or teacher of any subject, that children respond to a positive, fair, consistent, motivating environment. This will help students of all ages, all subject, all levels.

E: Any favorite painters of your own?

PH: Monet for his incredible colors. Russell for his love of the West. Dixon for his vast skies and clouds. Bougeraux for his portraits of girls. Sorolla for his incredible whites. All of them for their hard work and discipline.

E: Thanks for your time and insights....

Be sure to visit Pam's blog. No wonder Ansel Adams took to the mountains...


Debbi Smith Rourke said...

Thanks for sharing this interview of Pam Holnback. She is an inspirational painter and friend. So nice to hear about her background. Wonderful!

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks, Debbi, for the endorsement that I did well to interview Pam, and for dropping by to make a comment.
Best to you.

Susan Roux said...

Very interesting post. I follow Pam's blog and it was nice to get into her head a bit. I blog about others often, but have never thought of doing an interview. Its an interesting take... Thanks.