Ever since I was able to hold a pencil all I wanted to do was draw. Anything that involved creating pictures, even painting by numbers, which introduced me to paint. Whether it was copying other artists work or drawing from life I had this thirst for trying to capture a realistic image and being creative.?>
I was born in Liverpool, Merseyside where I lived for 30 years before moving to Worcestershire. My education was pretty ordinary really, I went to a standard Comprehensive school where I gained an A level in art and 3 O levels. What wasn't so ordinary was my art teacher, Mr Jones, he was a wonderful man who's art skills were brilliant. He was always there for guidance and encouragement which led me to gaining a place at the Liverpool Polytechnic, which is now John Moore's University.
I had a year doing the foundation course which introduced me to various areas of art. I chose to take the Graphic Design route as it seemed to be the best option for future employment. After achieving a BA Hon's degree I was taken on as the graphic designer for a local authority where I was designing anything from leaflets, posters, information signs to designing the content and layout of exhibitions. I really enjoyed the challenge of the job as most of the work was done by hand, not as it is today, most design work is done by computer. I left to have a family (two girls) and opted to remain at home until the children went to school. By the time I decided to return to work everything had changed.
How did I get into teaching you may ask? I never wanted to be a teacher, which was one of the options after my degree course. It was all by chance, after I was asked to do some voluntary work at a local community centre. It was a small group of women, I showed them how to make objects out of salt dough, which they then painted. I couldn't believe how much pleasure they got from the session. I couldn't believe how much pleasure I got from their enjoyment. This was a turning point for me, I felt this was something I could see myself doing,- teaching. I enrolled on a teaching course which required a certain amount of teaching practice. I immediately thought of doing graphics as I had my degree in this area, but out of the blue came an advert in the local paper to teach Art and Craft, to students with learning difficulties. Not having any experience teaching students with special needs, I wasn't too hopeful, but I was successful and got the job, it was just enough to cover the teaching experience. What I didn't expect was that I was going to really enjoy working with students as much as I did. That's how it all started.
I continued teaching art, working for local colleges mainly teaching out in the community. I have taught people with brain injuries, mental health problems and I feel lucky to have been able to say I thoroughly enjoyed my job. Unfortunately I was made redundant through lack of funding for the programmes I was working in and I left the college. I felt I needed to continue teaching the people I had been teaching for many years and so, I decided to set up on my own.
The first class began at Alvechurch Village Hall with a small group of about seven people, which hardly covered the cost of the hire of the hall. We then decided to put an advert in the Village Magazine which doubled the class. Since then it has gone from strength to strength with 2 classes on Thursday at Alvechurch and an evening class at Droitwich. I also have 2 classes that I teach at Avoncroft Arts Society in Bromsgrove and I still teach a group of students through Headway which I continued when I left the college.
People ask about my artwork, what type of paintings do I do? I have worked in most mediums, but given a choice I do like using oil paints and I enjoy doing portraits. But , I have to be honest, I don't do many finished pieces now. Most of my work are demonstration pieces, as I prefer to see myself as a Teacher of Art and not as an artist. I get more pleasure and satisfaction from seeing a person who starts my class wanting to paint or draw, perhaps with little or no experience, producing art work which they proudly hang on their wall or give as a present, sometimes selling their work too.
To see some of Pam's own work click here