Pamela Berkeley


“I work eye to hand”, says Pamela Berkeley, ”I paint what I see as honestly as I can. What delights my eyes.  Nature is always in balance if you pay attention. If I feel like throwing in  a floating rose or a salamander, why not? I’m doing the painting. I’ve always been able to draw pretty well, so I don’t think about it too much. If it feels good and looks good to twist an angle or balloon out a goldfish bowl to give more movement, I will. I’ve had for friends some of the most brilliant artists and writers as teachers. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m grateful.”

Berkeley was born in Biloxi, Miss. in 1948. She grew up in rural Westchester County, N.Y. As a teenager, Berkeley attended classes at the Art Student’s League and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. While raising her first child, she enrolled at Brown University and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture where she met her second husband, Rackstraw Downes, and moved to New York City in 1976. At that time, she was painting small scale works, painted in Maine and New York City, landscapes combined with still lifes and goldfish using tiny triple 000 sable brushes.

She had her first solo show at the G.W.Einstein Gallery in 1977, and was represented by them for the next twenty years. In 1980, Berkeley was attacked by a dog and the nerves in her right hand were severed. Microsurgery was able to correct most of the paralysis and she could paint again with limitations. Her paintings, from necessity, drastically changed scale. The canvases were now 6 feet x 8 feet done with large brushes. She was now painting life size portraits and animals, again, realistically. Her subjects were mostly actor friends dressed in various costumes and in various environments. ”I love the Pre-Raphaelites and rip them off whenever I can”, says Berkeley.   After the Towers fell and she had divorced two husbands, Berkeley moved to the woods of Massachusetts and began painting landscape/still lifes again.  Berkeley is remarried to Bill Reed.

Pamela Berkeley has received awards from the New York State Council for the Arts CAPS, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is also a member of the United Scenic Artists Union, Local 829. and has painted sets for films ,TV ,and Broadway shows generally in the capacity of Charge or Camera Scenic.  Reviews of her work has appeared in Art News, Arts, the New York Times, American Artist Magazine among other publications.

www.pberkeley.com

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