Pamela Moore - an artist from childhood on
ON viewing a collection of artists’ works at an exhibition or any other selection, it quickly becomes clear what their preferred subjects are.
Some feel free to range over the entire gamut of subjects – others stick to themes and topics they prefer to work with, wherever their spirit feels most at home.
An d i n a r t i s t P a me l a Moore’s studio the theme is undoubtedly figure work.
Like many top artists, Pamela has been drawing and sketching ever since she can remember, yet she did not take up painting until later, when she married David.
“I l i ke t o paint anything beautiful,” she said, and yet she returns constantly to paint and draw the human figure, which, as she presents it is certainly beautiful.
“I’ve always loved art since I was a girl.
“I didn’t have a lot of equipment so I would carve in the sand cliffs across t he road, chalk on the pavement – anything I could do, I loved it.
“But I didn’t start painting until I married David, when I bought a set of oils.
“I didn’t have any idea then so I started going to lessons and eventually found Ron Crawford who had been a student of Max Meldrum, who had in fact taught my grandmother to paint.
“Ron taught me tonal painting and I spent 10 years with him but I was only painting once a week...even so I kept going just to keep on doing it”.
Pam’s love of painting now chiefly involves watercolours and portraits.
And despite her prodigious output she still attends workshops “because I just want to paint better,” she said.
Interestingly, Pamela has not followed any structured art course despite her early wish to do so.
Her first job was of all things in the rag trade, but when this finished she was employed as a designer by Geoff Bade Casuals.
Although she started there modelling, and in sales and packing, she was doodling by the phone one day when her employer asked ‘can you draw? – draw me that suit there’.
This led to Pamela joining t he design department and travelling overseas getting new designs and ideas.
It also led to her being sent to RMIT to study fashion design.
In her time with Ron Crawford she was unhappy with the l andscapes she painted and felt a switch to watercolours might loosen her up to show more freedom in painting these subjects.
Looking for the best teacher she could find in this new pursuit she came up with David Taylor – one of Australia’s top watercolour artists.
After a few years there, Pam asked herself what else could be done in watercolour, such as still life?
Finding Margaret Cowling – a member of the prestigious ‘Twenty Melbourne Painters’ - teaching life drawing and watercolour at the Victorian Artists Society, Pam attended there for some time.
When Ms Cowling finished teaching, she asked Pam to take over her classes, which she did for a couple of years.
This was about t he t i me when Pam and David’s children had grown up and a move was considered to Bonnie Doon where t heir weekender was located.
“David said you can build a studio now – we did this and I have just stayed on here,” Pam said.
And what a studio it is - it is large, with a podium for life drawing of models, south facing windows to give diffused light, a kitchen and even accommodation for the models if they stay over the weekend.
A welcoming fire keeps it pleasant in spite of the country cold, and it is furnished with art books, paintings and drawings, and easels and supplies for students.
In this studio Pam teaches portraiture, watercolours and a life drawing group with live models.
Curiously, she does not exhibit overseas, although she has taken specialised courses with several famous painters there.
L o c a l l y, a mon g o t h e r awards she has won the Kenneth Jack Memorial Drawing Prize twice, accolades from the Australian Guild of Realist Artists (AGRA) and locally, Three Faces twice; there are in fact four full albums of other awards in her studio.
Her favourite artists are mostly American – Richard Schmid, Michelle Dunaway, Daniel Keys, Charles Reid and the UK based John Yardley are among those she follows.
STILL LEARNING: Local artist Pamela Moore has been painting and drawing for almost 40 years and is still wanting to paint better. Her workshop is filled with her works, now mostly life portraits.