About the Artist
Pamela Haddock, in her own words
I have been told my work is spiritual I appreciate and try to achieve an emotional connection with my subject and infuse it in my work. I love the mountains, the movement of light as the time of day shifts along with the movement of the clouds. I love rocks and water, trees and the landscapes they create. Borrowing from actual locations and visualization of places that have been enhanced by memory I create my scenes. I use a print brayer on plate surface substrate. I enjoy the unpredictability of the process along with the fact I must stand and engage so physically with the medium. The unique interaction of these elements creates some surprising results. I layer watercolor pigment rolling it on with a brayer creating light direction. With the colors layered I then spray with water and lift to reveal the deeper layers. Using single edge razor blades, palette knives and chisel end brushes I push, scratch and scrape the rock and tree shapes into the paint. The result is the impression of dappled light, dust motes and fireflies along rock strewn landscapes. The color is not absorbed into the substrate. Because the paint lays on the surface it retains an intensity unlike color applied to 140lb. traditional cold press paper. Upon completion of the work I seal the painting with a UV/UVA acrylic sealant which also serves to pop the color intensity a bit more.
I have not abandoned traditional watercolor techniques and continue to paint using a wet on wet technique on 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. This technique is a reliable old friend that I continue to visit often
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Pamela Haddock embraces creativity as a natural part of every day, a problem-solving process of “seeing how you can fit things together to make something else,” she says. A native of West Virginia, she lives and paints now in Sylva, inspired by hiking and visiting the mountain places that figure in her watercolor works.
“The shapes of rocks and the movement of the water with its patterns or lights are mesmerizing,” she says, “and I fight with trying to recreate them with my impression of them and the way they make me feel. I have been told that my work is spiritual and, perhaps, that is the best compliment in that I am communicating my impression and reaction to the landscape.” Favorite places include Deep Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee Valley, Oconaluftee River, Nantahala Gorge and winding roads along the Tuckaseegee River. “Many of my favorite subjects were found while getting lost on back roads in rural North Carolina or taking a less traveled trail branch while hiking,” she says.
In college, she majored in geology, finding the science and field trips fascinating. She worked for her professors doing illustrations for their publications about beaches and barrier islands.
She had begun cultivating those drawing skills when she was a child and an uncle who owned a printing company provided her with a limitless supply of paper. “Drawing was my outlet to imagine and tell the stories that rattled around in my head,” she says. She describes her parents—her mother an interior decorator and her father a machinist—as “hardworking, highly creative people.”
With the pandemic’s disruption of life as it was, Pamela finds herself drawing more. “I have been drawing figuratively, which gives me insight into other ways to look at composition,” she says.
She also uses drawings as preparation for her paintings. “I like to analyze my subject by creating a value drawing where I decide on the position of strategic lights and darks,” she says. “Then the painting can happen quickly using the value drawing as a guide. I lose myself in the process that becomes akin to working a puzzle, deciding where patterns of light and dark should go to lead the viewer into the piece.”
Throughout her painting career, she has received welcome encouragement from family. She worked for a time in her husband’s medical office in Sylva before devoting herself full-time to working in her home studio. “My husband assured me that I should paint without worrying what would become of the work,” Pamela says. “That freedom gave me wings. I could concentrate on the process and stretch my creativity without worrying that I had to paint for a particular audience.”
Since the pandemic hit, she has painted live on Facebook and has discovered Procreate, a digital illustration app that allows her to “draw and explore without adding to the stack of paper that accumulates in my studio when I am painting.” Another thing she finds satisfying during this time is encouraging other artists in their creative pursuits. She recalls a time when she volunteered to help her daughter’s grammar school class with drawing. “One of the students, after watching me, exclaimed, ‘Wow, Mrs. Haddock, you are not afraid to draw,’” Pamela says. “It made me sad to think that anyone would be ‘afraid’ to draw, but I realized I needed to encourage anyone who had that particular fear.”
Even after years of working at her painting, there are still discoveries to be made. “There are times when happy accidents occur,” she says, “unexpected mixes, or movements with the paint that dictate that you abandon it to itself to see where it will go. Those are times of great pleasure and satisfaction.”
Pamela is a signature member of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina (WSNC) and will have her work, The Oconaluftee in Spring, featured in the 75th Annual WSNC Juried Exhibition, a virtual show this year, running Sunday, October 4 through November 21. Visit NCWatercolorSociety.org to learn more.
Her work is also exhibited at several regional galleries, Twigs and Leaves Gallery in Waynesville among them. “Twigs and Leaves Gallery is especially excited to have Pam Haddock displaying her artwork with us,” says gallery owner Carrie Keith. “We strive to create a unique experience for our customers and Pam’s work does just that.”