We were lucky to catch up with Pam Ferworn recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Pam, thanks for joining us today. Can you open up about a risk you’ve taken – what it was like taking that risk, why you took the risk and how it turned out?
I owe part of my new career – that as an artist – to my youngest nephew Charlie. Charlie is one of the sweetest little boys you’ll meet. He has red hair like his mom, loves hugs and to bake. And Charlie has autism. When the world shut down during the pandemic, and schools closed or went online, Charlie’s education was at risk. So my youngest sister, Kim, and I blended of our skill sets (Speech-Language Pathologist and Public Relations) to develop a series of creative lesson plans for Charlie to keep him on track for his education. Some of which involved me putting my art and photography skills to work to create the materials we needed.
Charlie thrived. And Charlie’s success was also pivotal to my art career. I’ve always loved the creative aspect of my job as a Speech-Language Pathologist; the puzzle of figuring out how to get a child/client from where they are to where they need to be and making it so fun that they don’t realize they are learning or doing work. Developing Charlie’s lesson plans showed me just how much I enjoyed that process.
At the same time, my painting was progressing. And thanks to an art mentorship program (Mastrius; formerly Levelling Up), I began to consider a shift in my careers. I loved to create. To paint. To plan a painting and watch it take form. To build something out of nothing and have a visual story at the end. But to show the world my creations?! Eek! That’s scary.
It’s one thing to be creative at home, or behind the scenes. It’s entirely another to showcase what you’ve been doing for the world to see. Because art is personal. I love it; I loved creating it. But what if someone else doesn’t? And what if they say mean things about it?
The biggest risk of all was putting myself out there. That was the first step to seeing if I could make a career shift. Showing what I’ve painted or created and allowing myself up to be open to praise as well as critique. It’s extremely vulnerable to do so but that risk was also what lead to the reward of my art career.
Pam, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I didn’t set out to become an artist. My interest in art was sparked at a young age when I would draw and paint alongside my grandpa during summers at our family cottage. But it was years before I would pick up a pencil or paint brush again.
A move from western Canada to Houston, Texas in 1996 sparked my interest in art. I began to take art classes from local artists in Houston while I was waiting on a work permit. After the work permit was granted, I continued art classes, joined the Watercolor Art Society – Houston and began entering into local shows.
Then along came three little boys. And the painting time became nearly non-existent. My art space became cluttered with laundry and legos. As the boys became older, I carved out an afternoon in my week to take a watercolor painting class. It was through a local church (Memorial Drive United Methodist Church) and their “Arts Now” program. That class launched my resurgence into art and eventually I became an assistant instructor for the class.
The shut-down of covid-19 provided me with the creative push I needed. The lack of schedules provided me time to focus, create and learn. I joined up with an online art mentorship program (Mastrius; formerly Levelling Up). And under the guidance of professional master artists, I began to push my skills and find my artistic voice. Painting became my passion and I moved to becoming a full-time artist in October 2021.
I paint in watercolor, acrylic and casein which are all watermedia. I can use all of these media is a loose fashion and also maintain some beautiful details. I am primarily a landscape painter and I’m known for my big and dramatic skies. But I am drawn by the light and shadows in urban scenes and I’d like to spend more time on figure studies in the future too. As an artist, I’m always learning and pushing boundaries and I’m sure there will be some collage and abstraction emerging into some of my work soon. This is the best part of my job; trying new things!
As for the future, I plan on entering more shows (in the USA and Canada). And my *big* reach is to have paintings accepted into high profile shows. And I will continue to support non-profit organizations through “art for charity”; where a percentage of sales will be donated to charities.
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
Mentorship. I wish I’d encountered a group like Mastrius/Levelling Up years ago. It would have been nice to work under a professional artist in a broader capacity than just a workshop. And meet other like minded artists who were engaging and supportive. You really don’t get that feeling of community with an in person workshop. There just isn’t time to get to know people as well as the master artist in a few days.
However, I’m not sure that this type of group would have emerged without the pandemic. Sometimes a good thing does emerge from a terrible situation. And I think the mentorship group for artists as well as the support I’ve had from the Mastrius artistic community has been invaluable. Without them I would not have made a career move to being an artist.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative? Maybe you can provide some insight – you never know who might benefit from the enlightenment.
I spend about 50% of my time creating and painting. I think that number comes as a surprise to people.
Like any small business, there is a lot of time spend in the background, on the non-painting work. Websites, social media, marketing, emails, pop up shows, invoicing, commission meetings, reference photos, sketches, framing, photographing art, shipping art are just a few of the things that we do in the background when we are not creating.
- Website: www.pamferwornart.com
- Instagram: @pamferwornart
- Facebook: @pamferwornart
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamela-ferworn/
Pam Ferworn French Blue Photography