Milton raised artist Pamela Bounds-Seemans loves Delaware so much that the state is constantly showing up in her work. Here she discusses her art and her love for her home state.
Pamela Bounds-Seemans, born and raised in Milton, is known throughout the arts community and beyond for her fun and funky acrylic paintings.
Her latest series, which will be displayed at Nassau Valley Vineyards through December, is an exploration of some of the haunts of her life, all scenes of Sussex County. "Reimaginings of Sussex County" features rural scenes, Overfalls Lightship, Punkin Chunkin, Returns Day, fall and winter settings, and familiar holiday themes.
Q Describe your art.
A I do mixed media and acrylic watercolor and puffy paint. Mostly what I do is a painting in the middle, then I do collage around the edge and then it extends out to the frame with paintings and jewels and texture.
Q So, what is it about collage that you like?
A I had to get ready for my first show years ago at Del Tech and I had to get a bunch of frames together. But, I never could keep a matting neat. I always got fingerprints on it. I'm messy. So, I would cover it with bows and lace and it just kind of extended out to collage. Plus, I really like texture and I'm a packrat.
Q You mentioned that you got a master's degree in watercolor. How did you get from watercolor to acrylic?
A Well, I never was a real watery watercolorist. I could control it better as the paint got thicker and thicker. Then, I just switched over to acrylics. But, I still use watercolors for the details or for the sky or something when I want it light. I also use a lot of the texture paint. I call it puffy paint.
Q What was your early work like?
A My first show was in 1980 and I had died my hair purple causing everybody to call me the purple lady. I did a lot of buildings and businesses then. I also did a lot of local scenes that people could relate to and local happenings and events. I started out doing a lot of houses but I've kind-of branched out now.
Q What are you working on these days?
A Well, now I do a lot of mermaids. That's my most popular seller. People just love mermaids down at the beach. I also still do the local scenes like Return Day. But, I've added Punkin Chunkin, too. I found a great photographer that got some great photos of the people and the machines so I added that to this series. I've also done a lot of Sussex County scenes with autumnal and winter themes. I'm going to have a painting of the map of Delaware with all kinds of collage and things on it. It's going to be a lot of Delaware and the things going on here.
Q What do you hope people get out of this series?
A Well, I hope they realize that I'm a Delaware artist who's been painting Delaware for a long time. I've done a lot of Delaware scenes and Delaware life. People always say that it brings a smile to their face when they see my work. And, they say I must be a happy person and that they say they can relate to it because it's actual Delaware life.
Q So, it's important to you that people recognize you within your work?
A Yeah, I want them to see that I chronicle Delaware life.
Q What do you think people see in your work?
A I call myself the insider's outsider. Outsider art is kind-of a new branch of art that's kind of wild and intuitive, not your usual art. But, you can tell what it is. It's kooky and kind-of shocking in some ways but yet it's warm and it you can tell it's Delaware.
Q It's sound like you go by the old writer's adage of "writing what you know" in your painting.
A I've always gone by that theory. I think if I went to Tuscany or somewhere, people wouldn't relate to it. I like to paint what I know. I like for people to go up to it and say, 'oh, there I am.' People see themselves and the things they know and love. My husband's always said I should branch out and go to New York but I just want to paint Delaware and be in Delaware and paint the Delaware people.