Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Artist’s work tells a story through paintings

Aug 04, 2022 09:59AM ● By Becky Ginos

Pam Beach speaks with art-goers surrounded by her paintings at the BDAC Pop Art Show. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

BOUNTIFUL—Pam Beach paints people – but not in the traditional way – her artwork has symbolic meaning with multiple layers. She believes that everyone has a story and she’s going to tell it through her paintings.

Beach has been the Artist in Residence at the Bountiful Davis Art Center for the last year and has created 14 large paintings and 200 small pieces for her exhibit You/Me/Us that opened on July 29.

“We all get to feel the exact same things, just at different levels,” she said. “We have common feelings, they just look different in people’s lives. When we hear each other’s stories it changes us for the better.”

Beach has loved painting since she was child. “I went to BYU on scholarship and got a degree in painting,” she said. “I did some painting after then I got married and had six kids. I never stopped. It just changed. We would do huge murals in front of our house. I made peace that it was not going to be what it was before.”

Now her youngest is almost six. “I thought I might be able to paint,” she said. “She paints with me. It surprises me every day that I do it because I never thought I’d do it again.”

When she applied to become the Artist in Residence, part of the process was to explain what the focus of the show would be. “They wanted to see if you were willing to push outside of your comfort zone,” said Beach. “They wanted to know why you create and how you create art – a full picture of your process.”

It’s a year long position that comes with studio space, she said. “I live in a home in Bountiful and I was painting in a corner of my kitchen.”

Her large paintings are 36”x 62” and focus on individuals, Beach said. “I have 200 paintings on one wall that are 3”x3” with just eyes. I painted these with the hope people will better see the people around them and better understand them.”

Beach said she was familiar with the Artist in Residence and she noticed the blinds in the room they worked in were always shut tightly. “I leave them open. People stop by and I talk to them. I paint people. If I can’t talk to the living, breathing ones right in front of me why paint them?”

Everyone has a totally different reason for making artwork, she said. “I’m fascinated with people. If I listen they’ll tell me what to paint. If I’m having a hard time then I need to go back and listen to them more. That way I can be true to who that person is, what’s important to them and what they value and who they are. The people make the artistic decisions for me.”

There isn’t anyone who isn’t beautiful, said Beach. “They each have a beautiful story. I just listen to people and they spill everything to me.”

Beach uses the people around her as models. “I’ve painted my family because I live with them and it’s easy to get a hold of one,” she said. “If I know someone I’ll likely end up painting them.”

The large paintings are a demanding experience, she said. “I can’t turn away. It takes between 30 to 60 hours. I usually work on many at one time so that way if I get stuck I can move onto something else. It’s helpful to have a lot of pieces going at one time.”

Before COVID, Beach said she had never painted from photos. “Until the pandemic I would have never considered it, but for my big paintings it’s difficult for people to sit still for that long.”

Beach looks at her work as a way to give back. “Art can change people,” she said. “It builds bridges instead of so much fighting.”

You/Me/Us will be on display through Sept. 10. The Bountiful Davis Art Center is located at 90 N. Main. Hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, noon – 5 p.m. λ