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10/31/2010


How Does Art Save? • by Pam Warden


Pam Warden“God is creative and in His likeness, we too express creativeness - each in our own special way.” Nancy Gorr

Hi, my name is Pam Warden. I’m a Christian artist and own the wholesale business Pam Warden Art. I was thrilled to pieces when Jenny asked me to be a Guest Curator. I’m a big time Jenny Doh fan, and since you’re reading this you probably are too. Currently, I’m a designer with Legacy Publications and also with Maggie Co. I am licensed with Applejack Art Partners. They have many BIG artistic projects like Disney, Andy Warhol and Charles Schultz, and little projects like me.

I paint with watercolor, acrylics, and sometimes coffee, using a technique I’ve developed over the years. It's said that friends don’t let friends drink Maxwell House ... but I do, and I also paint with it! Here’s a tip: You can’t paint with Folgers Crystals, the crystals slide across the paper. I found that out the expensive way. (I'm truly Little Miss Nobody from Nowhere, Wisconsin, but I get to have my work shown alongside of Snoopy and Charlie Brown ... ART SAVES like that.)

My Adeline
My mom was a singer with the Sweet Adeline's and a soprano soloist in church. She wrote this in my baby book: “Pam tries to harmonize with me and she draws on everything.” I’ve never changed. I was once a professional musician (singer/guitarist) and now I’m an artist. No other type of work has ever made sense to me ... it is just who I am and what I do. God created me like this. I have held other jobs in other fields, but I found a way to create art in each one. I even doodle in church on the bulletins — it's how I listen. I've always seen my art business as a real job, because I look at each painting with a goal of solid print sales or greeting card sales in mind. I know other artists do that too, but I’ve been asked both in relation to music and art if I feel like I’ve “sold out” because I’m so commercial. The answer is a big NO. (Music, Painting, Knitting, Sculpting, it all helps the world make sense to me ... ART SAVES like that.)

Greater Love Hath No Man ...
My husband is dying from chronic rejection of a transplanted lung. He is in hospice at our home. John and I were both Firefighters. He was a Training Officer and I was a Fire Inspector. My goal was to become an Arson Investigator, but I quit when John got sick. We both worked on structure fires (John’s favorite) and on wildland fires (my favorite). He contracted a “Firefighter’s” lung disease and ultimately received a lung transplant on November 8–9, 2005. It worked well until now ...
The art I create is how we make a living because he can’t work; he can barely even breathe. He was also on a Volunteer Fire Department and has no insurance. It’s kind of scary sometimes, but I keep trusting in the Lord and putting one foot in front of the other, many times in tears, but that's OK. Tears are very OK. “Come to Me all of you who labor and I will give you rest ...” (With art I am making a living ... ART SAVES like that.)

“Move that brush!”
At this time in our lives with John so sick, it is very difficult for me to paint, or to concentrate on anything really. I got a few gentle reminders from Jenny to send in my headshot, to send in my story ... The world has tipped and I slip, forgetting what I’m supposed to do. Orders have to be FedEx’d out, prints have to be signed, frames ordered, paperwork filled in and filed — all that it takes to run a small wholesale business and a household (a dusty household, but household none the less). Then paint and design for Pam Warden Art, while being first and foremost John’s caregiver. Here’s how I do it: I pray and I put that foot out, feeling for something Solid. “The Lord is my Rock and my Deliverer.”

While staying focused is the absolute hardest thing to do now, I’ve always felt that focus was hard for most artists to begin with! I have a purpose in my heart to go to the studio and paint, but I end up wandering around the house or outside around the property … humming and singing and wandering. (Art quietly waits for you to wander back to it when you are distracted ... ART SAVES like that.)

How Does Art Save?
God saves. But I do get the concept. He uses art in my life to help with the wounds, in both me and my customers. My latest painting is titled The Angel of Hospice. She is so sad, so sweet, so loving, and so exposed. She's holding her little heart out in front of her body for all the world to see. It has not gone to print yet, so I can’t say anymore about it, or tell you the saying that I wrote for her until it goes to the printer. Kind of like the "Move That Bus" big reveal on the TV show Extreme Home Makeovers. (I'm allowed to explore and share my emotions while working on a painting ... ART SAVES like that).

This Isn’t Your Momma's HP Printer
If you are an artist and decide to get into prints of your work, find the best, not the cheapest, company. Mine is one of the top 50 in the country. The people there treat me like a queen. I love them. They give me Cokes, snacks, private but spacious conference rooms, tours, plus all the help that I need with that crucial end of the business. They send me presents and cards too. How can you not love that? They really understand the business. They really want me to succeed and that helps me! You have to love your printing company and they have to love you too. When their printing presses hit the 10,000 mark they are just barely warming up. Even a large company like the one I employ, one that uses huge machinery, can still be very hands-on. I also have the most wonderfully talented man who produces my large canvas Giclee's by hand. He was another in a series of gifts from God to me and the business. (In one of the saddest periods of my life, I got to experience the thrill of seeing a bazillion prints of my work roll off the presses ... ART SAVES like that.)

Two Steps Forward
It’s been a challenging six years for our family. Our beautiful daughter was recently diagnosed with MS, as was our youngest son. Hers is progressive. They were diagnosed within a year of each other. We were such a “normal “family 6 years ago ... The proverbial shoes keep dropping from the sky on my head! Unlike our daughter, our son experiences periods of remission. (He just did the stone work on the Extreme Home Makeover house in Neenah, WI. You can watch for him this Fall, standing with the VIPs, and you’ll see his fabulous fireplace and outside work. He’s the cute, 6’4" blond.) Two Step is the name of our MS support walking group. We also have a healthy oldest son and six grandchildren. (So proud to know that practically the whole country will see our son's stone work artistry, the child who always hated art class (we homeschooled). It's so ironic it makes me laugh ... ART SAVES like that.)

Giving Back
I’ve given a lot of paintings away to hurting women. I sign and personalize prints especially for them ... that’s one way I attempt to give back. I do receive the nicest letters and handmade cards in the mail. I never want to become self-absorbed or prima donna-like, so I give of my talents whenever I can. As an artist I feel that I am part of the healing process for others too. My work is sold nationwide and worldwide, but in small, independent gift shops, a few Hallmarks, and quite a few hospital gift shops and pharmacies. I will never meet most of the women who buy my work, but I’m a part of their lives in that they have a piece of me by having my art in their homes. Just knowing that makes me HAPPIER than it probably should. (Sometimes my artwork can make tears melt into smiles and hugs ... ART SAVES like that.)

Let’s Talk About YOU!
In spite of any challenges you may face (I'm also losing the use of my hands), I’m here to tell you that you CAN DO IT! You can CREATE! You can make art for a living or just for fun. You can join classes in your area or you can join them online. If you can’t afford classes, there are many wonderful free tutorials you can find by googling what interests you the most. You just have to take the first step, putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t need a big studio. When John and I were at the hospital I would turn my hotel rooms into studios, sometimes the waiting rooms too. I keep a pen, tiny sketchpad, and a compact Windsor & Newton watercolor set in my purse at all times. (I can create art almost anywhere ... ART SAVES like that.)

You CAN do it too and I am cheering you on.

Blessings, Pam

To learn more Pam Warden, visit pamwardenartwholesale.com.

Pam Warden

Pam Warden

Pam Warden

Comments

Oh, my Pam. I am in tears reading your story. How can I complain? How can I possibly think that any of my little problems, even remotely compare to what you and your family's facing every day? I know...art saves like that!
I too, like you, knows that only God saves. I praise Him for your story. I praise him for You. I praise Him for His glory.
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.
With love and warm wishes~
diane

Hugs! Praying for your family at this very moment. What a wonderful gift you were given with your art. May it continue to heal and reach others.

I forgot to say in my story that I have a contest at my blog http://pamwardenart.blogspot.com
Leave a comment and I'll be picking 2 winners.
Love,
Pam Warden
(and thank you diane cook for the loving comment above...)

Pam, Your story is one that always inspires me, but it is you my friend, with your constant smile and your great laugh, that is is the true inspiration. Meeting you and John still remains on of the best things that I discovered through blogging and our evening together when y'all where here...truly the best. I like to think of it as a sweet little gift from God to the four of us. Great job here, glad you are featured, you deserve it my friend. Art not only saves, it can be the thing that brings us together as well.

LOVE ya!
-c

Pam, when I first discovered your art, I was deeply moved and couldn't get enough. Now I know why... so much of your heart is spilled into every painting, and that resonates with me. You really ARE a part of my own healing process, Pam. Today I'm ordering something for my home. Your words encourage me to keep going! In fact, your life and art gives hope to ALL of us. ♥

Cindy...I wish I'd have thought to write what you said, "Art not only saves, it can be the thing that brings us together as well."
Alyice...thank you for the sweetness.
Victoria...thank you for writing what you just did...for telling me that.
Love,
Pam

Pam, you know how much I love you.
...you're more than the mother of my puppy, Sister Mary Tina.
You were my friend first and Sister's mother second.

I cried all the way through your Art Saves article as it was beautifully written and I could feel you through your words.

And, then I was going to write my comment here but Diane stole what I was going to say.
So, go back to the top, re-read her comment and know that it comes from my heart, too.

Praise God for John, for your kids, grandkids, for you, for your gift that touches so many and mostly for his son who died so that we might have life.

I love you, Jan

Inspiring, as always. Sorry to hear of all your struggles. Thanks for sharing your ART SAVES thoughts. You have a gift for writing, among other things. Loved it all.
God Bless,
LisaE

Pam, your story is heart-wrenching yet so uplifting, too. Your faith shines forth like a beacon in the midst of a storm. Praying God keeps your beam shining for the world to see in powerful ways for the growth of the kingdom of God.

Jan...thank you for hearing my voice in the story...
Lisa..."a gift for writing", thank you for telling me that.
Hariette...If my faith shines through I am more thankful than you could believe. As the song says, "I will praise You in this storm."
Love,
Pam

Thanks for sharing your story! You are truely an inspiration, my pray is that God will continue to bless you and your family. Your art work has been an amazing outlet to share God's love and to inspire artist like myself. Thanks again for all your support!

You are such a huge encouragement, Pam! Oh my word- your words just bring tears to my eyes. Praying for you and John. Thanks so much for your inspiration. You are a true blessing.

Pam, I'm so glad to know more about you. You are fabulously strong and courageous. You have inspired me so much. Again. (And again.)
Your family remains in my prayers.
In Him,
Colette

Keishia, Sara and Colette...you each used the word, "Inspire" or form of it. I want to thank you, I'm glad to know. God has a purpose for me.
Love,
Pam

Lovely, Pam!

Hi Pam, I'm the proud owner of one of your Snowman painting and it finds a special place to shine each Christmas too. I mentioned once I'd purchased a box of Legacy Cards and was shocked to find they were all done by you!!! Art does save that way doesn't it??? I've wiped the tears away reading this awesome story of courage adn Faith...God is whom we praise for all things in life, and HIS Grace will see us through....thanks for sharing your heart dear!!! (((hugs)))

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