The first Friday of each month marks Gallery Cruise on Vashon, where local businesses open their doors and donate their walls to showcase works by island artists. One such artist, Pam Ingalls enjoys rock-star status for her award-winning paintings. Her work has been been juried into more than 125 national and international shows. And to top it off, she’s an amazingly nice person.
I knew Pam was having a show at The Hardware Store Restaurant on First Friday, but I didn’t make it in until Sunday when I stopped for breakfast. On my walk through the gallery area, I delighted in her subject matter, the faces and places of Vashon Island. As I turned the corner, I admired the largest painting on the back wall and thought, “Wow that looks rather familiar, uh, really familiar. Hey wait, that’s my kitchen!”
Several years ago, Pam was visiting on a bright summer day, and taking a few snapshots of the old homestead. She knew the house well, for her dear friend Karin and Buzz lived there before I planted my own roots in the Peach Palace. Apparently the light in my unusually tidy kitchen caught her eye that day, and she captured it again years later in a wonderful painting called Tom’s Kitchen II. If I stare long enough, I can smell pie.
Pam is known for traveling all over the world and capturing the essence of place and person. What I like about this show is how I’m able to see where I live through her eyes. I’ve never been to northern India or the backstreets of Rome, but I’ve slogged to work on the 118 bus to the ferry dock. I’ve never seen the red clay of the Mara, but I have leaned against the red bricks of the Landing Building on the corner of Bank and Vashon Highway.
“I paint simple things – the things I see, am attached to and love. Every subject contains an essence that belongs to just that moment. I get to be with that feeling while I translate it into the poetry of paint. As I become more aware, I keep learning that truth is everywhere. Painting is my way to see and tell the truth. I hope that I’ll inspire others to look twice at the beauty of their everyday lives…and to find their own way of expressing that.” – Pam Ingalls