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  • Writer's picturePamela B Padgett

A Grateful Painter

Welcome to my Blog. Remember I am a painter, not a writer.

Last Tuesday I had a mini revelation. I woke to a beautiful unpredicted light snowfall. A wonderful thing to wake up to a freshly sugar-coated landscape. I decided not to drive to my working studio and do a clean up of my home studio. A great day to dig out old frightful paintings and recoat them for a new start, new idea and fresh painting. I do this once a year. It's akin to spring cleaning...instant gratification!

Looking thru old paintings is also like looking thru old photographs, documenting my life thru my paintings. Some sweetly naive but many just horrible! But as I pulled out the stinkers to recoat I came across some paintings that were from my very early days of studying with my first teacher, Michael Shane Neal. That was the fall of 1992. (My kids were very young, Will 6 months and kelsey 3 ) and I was transitioning from graphic designer to stay-at-home mom...but desperate to nurture my creative needs. Let me state right here, being a mom has always come first. Parenting doesn't allow for a recoat.

And so, I took a Monday night portrait painting class at the Art Center of Cheekwood Mansion in Nashville from Shane. I did not realize this was going to be the catalyst for a new career. Just a night out to myself. I was so excited, inspired and definitely had a student crush on Shane. I talked about him and the things he taught constantly to my husband John. Btw-John was supportive and came to know and enjoy Shane also..

I am so grateful for those years with Shane, he is a dedicated and generous teacher, inspiring me and guiding me into a vocation that I have loved and gained so much joy and insight from. Thru him, I have met so many wonderful painters and made friendships that are lasting. He is now recognized as one the the finest portrait painters today, painting some very high profile folks. I wasn't cut out for portraiture but lessons learned were invaluable.

The attached portrait was among my very first and is my daughter Kelsey, now coming upon her 30th birthday!

Leading me into Grateful opportunity no 2: Shane introduced me to his first art teacher, Dawn Whitelaw, who was an adjunct professor for 25 years at David Lipscomb University. Another friend and painter Paula Frisby taught at Brentwood Academy. They were both accomplished painters and teachers and I admired them both. I soon took a landscape workshop from them. The image attached is from that workshop. I was so proud of this tree. The lesson was painting light and shadow. I look now and realize how short I fell from the assignment. But for me in that moment, I was pretty pleased with my accomplishment.

Lesson learned- Be Grateful and Enjoy the journey. Painting takes time and lots failures and lots of canvas! And Grateful especially for wonderful teachers and friends to experience along the way.

I am also Grateful for so many unknown turns in the road, Grateful today especially for last Tuesdays snowfall that lead me into old discoveries and new inspirations. An occasional Blog for example. So, Don't miss the little things, they may lead you down a wonderful new road!

Happy Trails,

Pam Padgett

Kelsey age 8

Tree in Sunlight

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I think both of your paintings are beautiful! You’re very talented.


Jacqueline Shields
Jacqueline Shields

Pam, I am a fellow blogger, dedicated at times, sporadic too often! But, I am so glad to read your words! Don’t know if you would agree, but writing demands a great deal of introspection. It structures that need! Of course, your beautiful paintings probably call for the same! Anyway, thanks for sharing your beginnings....interesting and encouraging, a blessing to read!

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