Exploring her artistic diversity

Artist Pam Peters works in both wet and dry mediums to create a varied assortment of art.
Jan. 19, 2013 @ 05:38 AM

Pam Peters is a woman of many talents. When you ask her what kind of art she does, she will respond with a long list. She is truly a jack of all trades.

Peters began her journey into the art world about six years ago.

"I have always drawn and done things like that. I used to do cheese boxes with stencils and would give them away as presents. Everyone in my family is artistic, but I had never actually had the opportunity to study or work with anyone," Peters said. "About six years ago, I started out working with Deborah Brestel, who used to have a gallery over Hill's Hardware. She is an acrylic artist and I took classes with her for about a year."

When Brestel moved away, Peters began taking more classes with Evelyn Roberson. Today, she says that Nikki Hicks is her mentor.

"Nikki has been my mentor now for about two and a half to three years. My work has improved in leaps and bounds," Peters said. "In just six or seven years, I have just blossomed."

From her classes, Peters has learned to work in graphite pencil sketches and multiple types of paints including acrylics, pastels and oils.

"The only thing I don't mess with is watercolor because I don't think that way. With watercolor, you have to know where your highlights are before you get started. My highlights always come last. They get popped in at the last minute," Peters said. "My favorite thing to paint is people. But, I have done the least amount of work with people as far as finished product. What I have done the most of is roosters. I like roosters. There are so many colors and they can be in so many forms. You can never go wrong with a rooster."

Peters gets the ideas for her paintings from photographs.

"I have a friend who sends me pictures because she travels all over the world. I might get an idea, play with it for a little bit and then I will change it. I put my own personal twist on it," Peters said. "I do a little sketching of the paintings first. A lot of people can go right in with the paints and just do it, but I have to have some kind of parameters to start with."

Along with paints, Peters also makes pottery.

"What I am trying to do with the pottery is not so much the artistic stuff, but the serviceable. All of my pottery can be put in the oven, microwave or dishwasher," Peters said. "They cook beautifully. It is wonderful stuff. I am after that market of people who are interested in having pretty pieces that can go straight from the oven onto the table and you can serve out of it. I got rid of all my other stuff and all I use is the stuff I make now."

Peters uses her own personal pottery pieces when she is putting together some delicious meals in the kitchen with the help of her very own cookbook, "Grannie Pam's Favorite Recipes."

"I wrote the book because it took me six months to find a sour cream pound cake that tasted like my grandmothers. I decided after doing all that work, it might be a good idea to put down all of the family recipes so that my children didn't have to do that," Peters said. "It started selling right away. It has been selling for seven or eight years and now that it is on Amazon, hopefully it will be a little bit better. It hasn't made a lot of money, but it has made consistent money. I usually get a few bucks in when I am least expecting it and when I really need it the most."

The book has 185 recipes from a variety of cultures including Portugal, Cuba and Sweden.

Sometimes, she chooses to forgo the traditional oven, and use her very own wonder-box instead.

"My wonder-box is like a bean bag chair with a lid. What you do is bring your pot to a boil with the food in it, put it in the bean bag, cover it and about five hours later, dinner is ready. You can also cook bread in it. It doesn't brown it, but it gives it a nice crust," Peters said. "I have studied WWII, especially WWII in England and they has such depravation because of the lack of fuel and food. They really had to think about things to make it work so that they could survive. One of the things they used was a haybox. It was a wooden box with a wooden lid that would be stuffed with hay, leaves, cloth or whatever they could get to insulate their pots. My wonder-box is just an offshoot of the haybox.

While she is cooking, she uses an apron, which she also makes herself.

"My aprons are made in the 1940s style, so you can just slip into it. They are all different colors and they have really big pockets," Peters said.

Peters sells her aprons, cookbook and art pieces at the Rutherford County Visual Artists Guild in Rutherfordton.

"I have been a member of the guild for five years and I have been the secretary since I joined. Deborah suggested that I join since I felt like I was serious about my art. It is probably one of the best things that I did for myself besides starting to paint," Peters said. "This is a great organization to be a part of. We have just done amazing things in the last three or four years. Just starting this gallery was very important. It was important for the community and it was important to us as artists because we now have a place to hang our work."

Peters still has ambitions to try work in other mediums and is making plans to write her next cookbook.

"I've toyed with the idea of doing colored pencils. I am also getting ready to write another cookbook. This one will be more family stuff and some newer recipes I have come across," Peters said. "The more you do, the better off you are."

For more information about Peters' work, you can contact the Rutherford Visual Artists Guild at 828-288-5009.