Pamela DeJong is President of New England Wax. She lives in Ashland, MA and works in Framingham, MA. Recently, fellow NEW member Charyl Weissbach interviewed Pamela about her inspiration and process of creating art.
Tell us a little about yourself:
For many years, my primary interest has been plein air painting of the landscape. Locally, I have painted the Ashland Town Forest and Martha’s Vineyard landscapes. My travels to Europe produced several series of paintings of landscapes of England, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy.
My most valuable education came from private lessons in the Rita and George Guzzi Studio of West Newton, Lois Griffel’s Painting the Impressionist Landscape workshop in Provincetown, and the International Encaustic Conferences and workshops in Beverly and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
For the past several years, I have explored the interpretive expression of concepts working in mixed media. My recent work has been an exploration of the mechanisms of healing at a cellular level as well as a spiritual, psychological and emotional one. Currently, I am working on a series of paintings addressing environmental issues, particularly about protecting our oceans and shore habitats.
Describe your process of creating art :
For me, the process of creating art begins with an idea or a concept. Once I settle on that, and often that process takes much thought, I begin researching it. I look for all the information on the subject that I can digest to understand it fully.
Do you sketch or pre-plan a piece or does your art evolve during the process?
Part of this process involves note taking and sometimes drawing. I often draw on the piece as part of the beginning process. Most of the time the drawing is completely obliterated from the finished piece. Drawing helps me with the design process. Color sometimes gets in the way and I can see it better in black and white. Once I have established the design, then the color is filled in and often the thing evolves into something else. The struggle of the process is to convey the meaning I am aiming for, and the joy is the serendipity! I use multi-step processes including the mediums of oil, encaustic, enamel, silver or gold leaf. I also use acrylic modeling paste, gel, sand, wood, clay, and found objects in my work.
What are your inspirations?
As an artist, I feel a great weight and responsibility to convey the message that we, as human beings in the 21st century, stewards of this earth, must research and sustain our environment. There has been a history of climate change in the past, but never as rapidly as it is changing globally at present. Success at slowing global warming will depend on actions by governments and our personal choices. This is not just about the quality of life for our future children but about our own future. Some of my paintings are studies of threatened marine habitat. It is my hope to educate others about the threat of climate change to promote thought and action to preserve it.
Do you have another job besides making art?
I knew the first moment that I picked up a pencil that I loved to draw. That is when I decided to become a nurse! After excelling in the arts in high school, taking private lessons, and showing promise, my parents were shocked when I told them I wanted to go to Nursing School! I kept that secret from everybody until it was time to apply.
I have maintained some form of art education all of my adult life, as well as nursing education. I am a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and maintained private art lessons while attending Northeastern University’s Nurse Practitioner Program. Then I really went nuts and produced three children, all of whom managed to grow up amidst the chaos of their artist/nurse mom. I taught Art at the St. Bridget School for seven years, grades 1 through 8. Then I spent 20 years of my career in school nursing.
I may have a dual personality, always needing art and care-giving. Art-making in many forms has been my diary and the process is spiritual and meditative. My career in nursing helped me make an incredible personal discovery in quantum physics, in the form of Reiki healing, and an interest in the metaphysical from the practice of meditation. Both art and nursing careers are necessary for my mental and spiritual growth.
I am a healer, believing we can heal ourselves with focused thought and energy by creating a calm or energetic visual experience and mood. I am an educator, believing that we can teach others how to protect and preserve our environment, which in turn will heal, protect, and preserve ourselves. I am a visual artist, believing in the importance of creating a painterly, contemporary, recording of the environment at this time on earth.