Taking inspiration from the Kootenays and infusing her creations with a dose of symbolism and emotion, the paintings and shrine boxes of Slocan Valley artist Pam Sims shine with a particular luminosity. Sims’s work is currently on display at the Nelson Public Library.
Working primarily in oils, Sims grinds her own pigments and mixes her own glazes, then wields brush and aesthetic sensibility to capture the essence of the landscape in her paintings. She paints in a detailed and realistic style all her own.
She also makes nature shrines: shadow box wall sculptures constructed with wood, plaster, and various paints. The shrine boxes offer an eye into the natural environment, viewed through ornate frames that resemble church windows to mystical effect.
“I am interested in what is universal and beautiful in spiritual architecture,” Sims explains.
“With these sculptures, I can bring a little of what is sacred to me in nature, inside my home.”
Embracing challenge, Sims pushes her skill and knowledge with each new painting, and has recently begun working with gold leaf application on egg tempera.
“It’s hard to do,” she says. “Gold leaf is difficult to cut with a sharp scalpel and yet easily tears with a soft brush. I love it.”
With each shrine or painting, the heart of nature shines through. “I make art that people want to live with,”she says.
The exhibition continues at the Library until the end of April.