By Molly Richmond / Photography by Craig Stocks
There’s a familiar saying, “Those who can… do, and those who can’t…teach.” I had the great privilege of meeting the exception to the rule in Pam Miller. Not only is she an accomplished painter, but has been teaching painting classes for over thirty years.
Pam originally grew up in Minnesota, but has also lived in many other cities before calling Washington, Illinois home. She has been a permanent fixture at the Peoria Michael’s art store for the past 11 years.
Pam recalled watching William Alexander‘s oil painting show on her family’s black and white television, and it was a show that she never missed. That television instructor was the very one who taught PBS oil painting instructor Bob Ross how to paint.
“I remember my first art class I attended in my mid twenties. It was a folk art class, but I only went a couple times because the instructor ruined one of my brushes,” she recalled trying to hold back her laughter.
“After that I taught myself how to paint out of art books.” Although she began as a self taught artist, she quickly realized that helping others with their painting projects was something that spoke to her spirit. “I absolutely love teaching. My favorite part is watching their confidence blossom when they finally get it, and there is nothing better than having a huge blank canvas just waiting to be adorned by someone’s creation.”
Over the years Pam has worked in many retail chain stores, but for the last eleven years she has been employed by Michael’s in their Peoria store. Pam has also been certified as a Grumbacher instructor which specializes in beginner’s acrylic paint class.
Pam’s love of art extends beyond painting, she also teaches polymer clay classes for adults & jewelry classes. Pam has also been a long standing member of the Washington Fine Arts Society and sells many of her own paintings and jewelry at their annual Fine Art show which is held every August.
Although Pam loves teaching her students, her favorite thing to do is painting murals. We were fortunate enough to see one of her spectacular creations at Dr. Ruelas’s dentist office located on Juliet Drive in north Peoria. The stone effect mural was not only life-like, but when you took a closer look at the detail, little whimsical fairies could be found hiding within the design.
Pam has also done murals for residential homes and finds painting children’s rooms especially rewarding. Currently she is working on a project which is a custom painted table top for a children’s room. “I am painting the face of a clock on the top of the table and it’s very detailed, but when it’s finished it’s going to be darling.”
If you’ve ever wanted to give wings to your creative side, why not sign up for one of Pam’s classes, and you never know what hidden talents may be discovered. Pam’s painting class schedule at the Peoria Michael’s store is: Wednesday 5:30-8:30pm and Thursday 10:00-1:00. Cost: is $25.00 fee plus your supplies and you must register 24 hours in advance of the class time. When you register, you will be given a supply list. All the items can be purchased right there at the store.
Feel free to contact Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can visit her website at www.pam-paints.com. For commissioned work you can call her at 309-253-1789, or just pop in the Michael’s store and tell them Playing Peoria sent you.