Pamela Day

About Pamela Day’s Work

Imaginative, expressive, and unique can describe Pamela Day’s figurative ceramic work, as well as her paintings. Long working in gouache (opaque watercolor) painting, and clay mediums, her work transitions from a simple colorful use of space to textural work, low to high relief, to working her figurative characters in true, three-dimensions. As she does large gouache paintings but may also integrate her mediums to create dimensional environments for her clay characters. Consistently, her paintings and clay work involve color, intricacies, and stylistic realism. Day’s work has been described as ‘stylized-realism’, a style she has long embraced in all mediums she has pursued.

An evident common thread in many of her artworks and studies throughout her life has been her love of birds and bird images. It was said by her mother that even her first spoken work was “birdie” – roll the ‘r’ for the full effect. Watching from the kitchen window, perched in her highchair in a second story flat in Detroit, Pamela had a bird’s eye view of the trees and habitat of the local birds. An impression was made and through the years erupted into her artwork in a variety of ways.

Consistently, her paintings and clay work involve color, intricacies, and stylistic realism, which was first defined when teaching her high school art students an art history the Olmec Civilization from La Venta, Mexico beginning in 1300 BCE. The Olmec’s created monumentally huge head sculptures of their rulers, each head was different and expressed the ruler’s personality. Teaching her students the clay pinch-pot technique, attaching two together to make their own clay heads that represented their alter-ego, with sculpted detail and expression telling the viewer any number of things about them.

These inspired Pamela to continue the work for herself, creating characters that included building them with not only heads, but shoulders, and torsos began to develop. Jesters, Renaissance characters, expressive features, added birds, nests, and glass eggs and beads specifically made for her by her friend, Susan Fox. Her characters are likely to have headdresses, hats, or ‘hair’ made to look like twigs, bark, additionally her stylized leaves.

Besides her style, there are unique ways in which Day finishes the surface of her characters. After firing the pieces twice, second time with an oxide-stain to define details and textures. Unique after-fire techniques involve using colored pencils, metallic wax patina, gouache, and French crayons – caran d’ache.

Her paintings are very intricate and detailed – calling herself ‘a small brush painter’. The subjects vary from social issues, collage-like images; large floral and fauna based on travels, and ‘Objects of her passion’.

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