Grimm’s Fairytales have become a new subject for me to investigate new images and stretch my work beyond the clay figure, getting a chance to go back to painting with gouache again – an opaque watercolor.
The impetus for this series began when I was reflecting on my first years of teaching, over forty years ago, in Brighton with my close colleague, Janet Davies. Janet and I used the Grimm Fairytales to motivate our students as they made papier-mâché hand puppets, painted their own scenery and performed the plays for their class and others. My works, although three dimensional, are fabricated and structured to hang on the wall, built to create their own ‘stages’. Each of the works combines my clay work with additional mediums.
Hare’s Bride Puppet Show has the whole Grimm tale calligraphically written onto the background and the floor of the ‘stage,’ while Red and Big Bad has a quote from the tale that leaves one wondering which character is being quoted. My imagery leans towards the dark side of the Brothers Grimm’s tales.
As most of my clay work entails – they are usually twice fired, the second time with an oxide-stain. From there they may be fired again with glazes on them, or I’ll have used Prisma-colored pencil for the surface color, added patinas, and any other additions that seem to speak to me. All share my own special stylized-realism.
Hare's Bride Puppet Show (from Brother's Grimm)
(click on image to enlarge)
oxide-stained clay and colored pencil, gouache painted background, calligraphy, fabricated "stage".
Dimensions: 36" height, 12" width, 9" depth
From artist's collection (2500.)
Each of the character's from Hare's Bride Puppet Show are represented differently. The Hare as a puppet in an active upright position, looking very much alive and engaging, whereas the Bride lays discarded on the stage, her eye's staring off into space. The Parson Crow is painted into the tale, perched on the tree in the background with Fox Clerk hiding underneath the stage. Pinch-pot heads, coil-built bodies, makes each form hollow.
Meant to be hung slightly above eye-level allows the viewer to be an audience to the 'show,' and gives full view of the all the characters
Red and Big Bad (from Brother's Grimm)
(click to image to enlarge)
oxide-stained clay figures, colored pencil, gouache painted background, fabricated background, mixed media
Dimensions: 17" height, 18" width, 9" depth
Red and Big Bad appear to be coming out of the darkly illustrated pages of a large, leather bound story book, their looks askance at one another with a combination of fear and desire. The painting shows the heat of the moment represented by the red glow at the lower area of the deckle edged pages. Big Bad even shows a burning desire represented by the heat coming up from his chest. The book sits propped on a small black lacquered 'table.' Pinch-pot head makes each one hollow.
Meant to be hung at eye level - to closely engage the 'reader.
Rumpelstiltskin (from Brother's Grimm)
(click image to enlarge)
Dimensions: 29" height 20" width 7" depth
clay, colored pencil, gouache; fabricated structure, painted and dimensional setting
Given an opportunity to build and paint environments for her pieces, Pamela has created quite a complex and dimensional piece for Rumpelstiltskin. Difficult to photograph as such, his piece has a back and angled side walls, painted to create an appropriate backdrop for the menacing clay figure of Rumpelstiltskin to dance about in the night around his fire, as he delights in the thought that no one will be able to guess his name.
The back walls and 'floor' of the piece include additional clay accessories to add to the three dimensional concept. Rumpel' has a pinch-pot head, coil and bunch formed body, which makes him a hollow form.
He's been displayed at a number of exhibits. Check out in Pamela's resume.
Three Grimm Tales; The White Snake, Girl with No Hands, The Juniper Tree
(click image to enlarge)
Dimensions: 12" - 14" height, 8" width 2 - 3" depth
$250 each, or all three for $600
These small 'Italianate-style' versions of Grimm's Tales illustrations are begin as oxide-stained clay, colored pencil, and a metallic wax patina on each to highlight and compliment aspects of the illustrations. Girl with No Hands also has a pair of silver wings.