Newly arrived on the Sedalia art scene, Pamela Morris is a believer in bringing light, line and angles to her oil paintings, and she has already begun painting local landmarks.
Morris moved to Sedalia last year with her wife, Dr. Mandy Blackburn, assistant chemistry professor at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Since that time, Morris has been painting scenes of Sedalia such as the Katy Depot, Hotel Bothwell and Boonslick Regional Library. She recently participated in the fifth annual Queen of the Prairies Festival of the Arts in downtown Sedalia.
While living in Florida, Morris was an editor for Wikipedia for six years and produced 162 music videos on YouTube. Morris, who has a degree in gifted education, was also a teacher of gifted children for nine years. She is now working as a professional full-time artist.
Over the years she’s found that drawing and painting has come naturally for her, and it’s the light that she gravitates toward the most.
“I started drawing when I was 29,” she said. “I think I just wanted to see if I could do it. I started drawing first and then Mandy, my wife, gave me an oil painting kit for Christmas three years later. So, I realized that I could paint. It was actually quite a surprise to me.”
Once she realized she could paint, she had to decide what she wanted to do with the medium.
“I like light, I really, really like light,” she said. “I feel light.”
She likens her appreciation of light to synaesthesia, a neurological condition causing the senses to overlap, creating an anomaly such as being able to hear a color or where touch creates a taste. Morris also contributes to her love for light to growing up in Florida.
“The sunlight is intense year-round, especially on white sandy beaches and white concrete, to the point where it almost hurts your eyes,” she said. “I find this somehow inherently comforting and beautiful. So, that’s what I’m chasing after when I compose an image.”
Morris enjoys painting portraits, landscapes and buildings.
“For some reason I like lines and angles,” she added. “Light, lines and angles and nature.”
Although Missouri is much different than Florida, Morris has found many similarities, especially with natural light.
“It’s still bright, but it’s certainly not as bright as what Florida was,” she noted. “There are many landscapes that remind me a lot of Florida. Kentucky Street … you take Kentucky Street and go south out of town and … you keep going that direction and there’s a set of farms out in that direction, and the trees in the distance remind me of Florida marshland.
“There’s a lot of similarities,” she added. “I could absolutely imagine a river or some kind of movement out to a greater body of water. There’s a lot of very nice light in Sedalia.”
Morris has taken thousands of photographs of various places including Sedalia’s Kentucky Avenue. She then uses the photos as reference to create her artwork.
While she loves to paint, she finds drawing relaxing.
“Drawing is relaxing and painting isn’t necessarily relaxing,” she said. “It’s impressive, and I like the intensity of light that I’m able to produce in oil painting. In some cases I’ll work from a photo and I’ll really emphasize something in particular — the way the light hits something, the contrast between the light and dark spaces in the image. That is more rewarding to me than the black and white possibilities of pen and ink or the softness of pencil.”
Some of her most popular paintings have had responses online at DeviantArt where she has them posted for viewing. “Mattie,” a painting of little girl, “The Third Age,” a scene of Gandalf in the Shire, and “The House on the Corner,” a painting of a Sedalia home at 14th Street and Barrett Avenue, have had good response. Zeus the blind owl, “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” is another popular piece.
Painting large pieces is an option, but she prefers to keep her paintings to a more manageable size.
“I’m keeping the size of my paintings small,” Morris added. “That way they can be affordable. The pricing of art doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes, and I want to be able to give people the opportunity to put art in their house.”
Morris accepts commission work and also sells her existing work. Most oil paintings range 12-by-16-inches and can be framed or unframed. Her art can be viewed at portfolio.pamelamorrisart.com. For more information about her artwork, email Morris at [email protected]
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.