Pamela Lampi, artist
I am a self-taught artist and observer of beauty, the interesting and the bizarre. I have had an interesting life, second oldest of 7 children. I have worn many caps through the years ... waitress, cow-hand, traffic control flag person, office manager, mother and grandmother. We moved around a lot when I was young, so the gypsy spirit stayed in my soul when I got older.
My 2 boys and I lived in a school bus on a small farm in the Cariboo. where it frequently got to -40. No electricity, running water or indoor plumbing - we did have an outhouse accessed by going through the sheep pen and a barbed wire fence. I still have several scars from that fence!! We, as well as our 3 dogs and 2 cats all slept in the same bed piled with quilts, wearing 2 sweaters on top of our flannel pj's , socks and our toques, as there was only a small tin heater that required stoking every hour or so. Even the mice tried to climb in with us to get warm! It was a great experience, and it has helped me see the beauty in everyday life.
The winters were hard, but at the time, I was too young to really care! I loved milking the cows in the winter, the milk steaming in the frigid air, the sweet smell of the cow as you put your head into her flank. It was zen to me, I could meditate to the rhythm of the sounds of the milk hitting the bucket and the cow chewing, every now and then switching her tail.
When the weather was warmer, there were other chores. Moving the sheep between pastures. Chasing the cows up to the range... To visually create paintings in my mind while on horseback riding through the mountains, a herd of cattle slowly moving ahead. We always saw wildlife, moose, deer, rabbits, eagles, to name a few. There really is nothing better in this world.. Ok, more about my art and less about my memories.....
I have been selling my paintings for over 30 years, and have given classes as well as workshops. Watercolors and acrylic paintings were my go-to for years. (This is where I am supposed to insert my years of training, degrees, etc.which I don't have any of.)I'll just say my training were my schools, elementary and high school. The teachers were great and allowed me to "doodle" to my hearts content, as long as I finished my work, they were fine. My greatest teacher was Mr.Murray, who taught art in the basement of the Ellis Building in Penticton, B.C. He was awesome.
My paintings live all around the world. I didn't know about the stuffiness and apparent protocol for putting my work in galleries. So, I just packed up some of my paintings and went from gallery to gallery to see if any were interested. I was shown on SaltSpring Island, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Calgary, Banff, Missoula, Pensacola as well as several other cities in Canada and the U.S. They actually took them! So much for protocol. Some of my paintings were stolen from a couple of galleries, which actually pleased me! What a great reminder that not just the wealthy can enjoy art.
The first time I sold one and it was shipped off to an art collector in Germany, I almost fainted. Why would anyone want one of my
paintings to go to the artist mecca - Europe? After that, it became easier, and I saw my work go to France, India, Australia, the U.K, all around the U.S and Canada.It was mind-blowing but also a wonderful feeling that I could give others pleasure with something I had painted and at the same time, support myself. Who knew?
All of that came to an end, unfortunately when I finally gave in to my lifelong battle with mental health issues. I couldnt paint for any length of time, even if I wanted to. I didnt know what was wrong and for over 17 years I isolated myself. A few years ago, my brother insisted I go get help, and here I am! I was diagnosed with social anxiety, chronic anxiety, and major depression. I went to therapy, I try to take care of myself now, and I'm on meds that help me get out of bed most days. It's still very hard for me to speak around strangers, which doesnt help marketing my artwork. And I stumble over words when face to face with a stranger. But, I'm working on that too. I didnt want to restart my "career" with painting, I wanted a new focus for my new life. So, I discovered my elves. And I love them! They are my therapy, but also, much much more! I surround myself with them in my studio, so they feel like family.
Each one starts out as a piece of wire, or a bottle or even a peanut can. I use Polymer Clay and Apoxie Sculpt for the solid parts and creatures, and wool or quilt batting for their bodies. . I generally use mohair or cria for their hair, most eyes are handpainted on glass, real leather and furs, jewelry and chains are mostly recycled retro or vintage, clothing is hand-sewn (or glued if necessary) by me, recycled from fabric/clothes from thrift stores.Some of the softer creatures - like the hare Stian and the wolf Ingolf, are needle felted using 100% wool. All designs are mine, I woodburn, carve,paint, felt and sculpt and do anything else I think the sculpts need. Each of my elves have their own personalities which I hope others discover.
Okay, enough about me.... time to check out my family! (ok, the elves. but you know.....) I hope you love them as much as I do!
Check Out my new Blog - The Book of Elves