Painter Pam Hatch, who grew up in Texas City and now resides in League City, says her greatest reward from art is “people being touched by my work.” Hatch paints in vibrant-toned pastels and acrylics, and she teaches classes in those media at Sue Bown Studio in Dickinson, Upper Bay Frame & Gallery in League City, and Texas Art Supply in League City. A Galveston Art League member who is well-known for her landscapes executed in pastels, Hatch, 72, also leads workshops in that specialty at the Art League’s downtown Galveston gallery.
She has won awards at Art League juried competitions and has been published twice in the Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA) international directory. Hatch sells her paintings, which are often inspired by photos she has taken during her Texas travels, at Upper Bay Frame & Gallery and through her website, PamHatch.com. Below, she shares personal insights about art and her approach to painting.
Q: When did you start creating artwork?
A: I loved it from the time I was a child and began with the usual crayons and pencils. My family was very art-oriented and encouraged me. My mother drew, my grandmother was an artist in oil, and my grandfather, who was an architect in Galveston, painted in watercolor. As a young teenager, I began working in oil, but turpentine and linseed oil give me a headache so I don’t do oils anymore.
Q: What types of art classes have you taken? Are you still learning?
A: I took a couple at Alvin Community College, but I’m mostly self-taught and have taken workshops through the years. I get inspired when I read and see something creative. It inspires me to experiment. I still want to improve. My biggest challenge is getting values ― the darkness and lightness of colors ― right because I wasn’t taught that, and the books available then didn’t teach it the way they do now. I’m also working on composition and printing and trying to improve my technique.
Q: What famous artist you admire?
A: The first one who comes to mind is the Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla. He’s known for painting beautiful light on figures and water.
Q: What types of things do you paint?
A: I did a lot of wetlands and people called me “the marsh lady” or “the swamp lady.” I have a tendency to go toward water. I like the reflections and the symbolism of water, the peacefulness of it. But my real love is painting the interiors of churches even though I haven’t done a lot of them. I got started with them through the Sacred Places Tour in Galveston.
Q: Can you briefly describe your process?
A: I’m not a structured painter. I’m inspired by the memory of what I’m painting ― the wind, sound, the water rushing by. I look at the composition. I might remove a tree if it’s in the wrong place for the best composition of the painting. I like color and I like to push the color in my art. Sometimes I paint in colors that aren’t true to real life. I like to give the color a little sparkle.
Q: Do you work mostly indoors?
A: Yes, because it’s more comfortable for me. But my classes go outside a couple of times a year to plein air paint.
Q: Do you manage your time well?
A: I’m not very disciplined. When I was younger, I was more focused. I get distracted more easily now that my husband retired and our schedule is very flexible. I want to try everything. In the past I’ve done as many as 100 paintings a year, but now it’s closer to 10 a year.
Q: What’s your best tip for beginning artists?
A: Try not to copy other artists’ work unless it’s just to learn technique. So many people are copying today because it’s easy. But you won’t develop a voice of your own by copying.