Pamela Whitman poured warmth and wisdom from her heart and soul at her opening on Friday evening, March 11th. Drawing on her years of continuous study, independent research, teaching students, and treating clients, Pam provided a clear and accessible explanation of how Light, Color, and Darkness manifests in the three-fold nature of the human being as described by Rudolf Steiner. Pam further explained how this concept of color resulting from the interaction between light and darkness has been researched and shared along the lineage uniting not just Goethe, Steiner, and Liane Collot d’Herbois, but going as far back as Aristotle and Plato.
First, there is the connection of light with our thinking and nerve-sense system, the upper pole. Expressions such as “I see”, “a bright idea”, and “it dawned on me” all show our common experience of light as a spiritually creative principle.
The connection of darkness with our willing and metabolic/limb system, the lower pole, involves those functions usually outside of our conscious awareness or control, such as digestion, the precise details involved in how we move our limbs (e.g., lengthening this muscle while contracting that one). In this realm, whenever our awareness is heightened something is usually wrong and pain can result. Yet the darkness is also a spiritually creative impulse, as warmth, as love, as the darkness of the earth nurturing a seed until it germinates and grows toward the light, as the darkness of the womb carrying and nurturing the fetus, and even as the warmth of our bed as we sleep at night to refresh for the day to come.
Color is the meeting of the two in the middle realm, the rhythmic system of breathing and circulation. We often associate color with our sensations and emotions, e.g., feeling blue, in the pink, seeing red, etc.
As Pam further explained, she has been drawn all her life to the meeting place of science, art and spirit. She came to veil painting through Waldorf education, first taking a course with Ted Mahle. Afterwards she viewed some veil paintings in a gallery in Tahoe City, recognizing that that was the kind of veil painting she wanted to do. These paintings had been created by a student of Leszek Forczek, who had studied with Collot d’Herbois. Years later, he became her painting teacher. It was slow going at first, one workshop a year with Lois Schroff, then going to the Emerald Foundation to study the therapeutic principles behind the work, where she continues to study today. Pam seeks to learn from all the available teachers of Light, Color, and Darkness and to share this meaningful work with others.
Pam studied with Liane Collot d’Herbois during the last five years of Liane’s life and learned that doctors had sought out Liane’s impressions of their pediatric patients which followed from insights she gleaned from their paintings in the home where she worked. Liane also collaborated with Dr. Ita Wegman, who further developed and explained the connection between Light, Color, and Darkness within the human being, sharing her gift of wisdom so that others could learn it too.
Pam then described the process of veil painting, furthering our appreciation of her exhibit and the laws of color it reveals: building up layers of transparent watercolor, allowing them to dry before adding another layer, creating unique color nuances in the process; first creating a color atmosphere, then color weaving, and only later form. Creating a space in this manner for color on paper creates a space in the soul for spirit. When veil painting is created while following the laws of Light, Color, and Darkness, something in us resonates with it, recognizes it. That’s what attracts us to veil painting. Often we expect to get something from a painting, but these paintings can instead evoke something already within us and thereby help us be filled from the inside.
Pam expressed her appreciation for The Art Hall, as it is providing a space for work like this which might not be seen in regular galleries. This exhibit has been an opportunity to share her striving, her process in Light, Color, and Darkness.
Nine participants also had the benefit of immersing themselves in an intensive, two-day veil painting workshop with Pam the weekend following the opening of her exhibit at The Art Hall. In a beautiful, forested setting with floor to ceiling windows—and a pot of soup on the stove—Pam guided us further into this world of color with her finely-tuned experiments, illustrating color behind and in front of the light, and walking everyone through her “color tunnel” after reading Liane Collot-d’Herbois’ description of the movement of colors.
With this teaching, participants were then better equipped to press on with their own work with a richer understanding of how color veils were forming out of light and darkness. Pam’s clarity and compassion provided excellent support for everyone to develop improving capacity to follow the laws of color and to allow form to emerge, developing subtly at first and then more robustly over time. While our group was quite eclectic, Pam graciously met the needs of each painter. Her breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and sharing was so generous and thoughtful!
Pam’s stellar exhibit will remain hanging through April. We recommend spending some time with this work, for the healing potential is clearly felt, and encourage scheduling an appointment. Even if one was not at her presentation, Pam’s evocative veil paintings and pastels speak volumes to the human heart and soul.
Many of the works are available for purchase. Fine giclée prints and art cards are also available or can be ordered through Robin at 503-222-1192 or firstname.lastname@example.org. As has been the case for other visiting artists, Pam will be donating 50% of all sales to The Art Hall (a kind of pay-it-forward gesture!) in support of the Hall’s ongoing growth. Current proceeds are intended to help us procure gallery-quality lighting.
Thank you, Pamela Whitman. You have graced us all with your beautiful spirit and art. We look forward to your return!