One of the most encouraging aspects of hunting out local artists has been discovering the supportive arts community that exists within the region. Pam Potter, chair of Preston Arts Society, tells me more about her work, the local arts scene and how new artists can get involved.
I loved your painting of Preston Railway Station that was exhibited at the Harris Open. Why the railway station? My friend and I started sketching the station at 3.15am as we waited for a train to Manchester airport. I realised what an interesting subject this was so came back later to sketch some figures as well.
What else inspires you? As I trained in textiles as well as fine art. I love texture and colour as well as mark making, I love coastal and landscape as well as townscapes.
Where did you train? I trained at The Harris Art College in Avenham in the 60’s and studied for a BA in Art History with Education later at UCLan.
Can you remember the moment when you fell in love with art? My mother was an artist so you could say I was born into it. She was well known in the North West, part of the Manchester art scene and friendly with people like Lowry. This, however, made it difficult later for me to make my own stamp on the subject.
Tell me a little bit more about Preston Arts Society. Can anyone get involved? Preston Art Society was founded in 1960 and encourages the enjoyment, appreciation and practice of the visual arts. It is open to everyone both amateur and professional artists, young and old. We have fortnightly meetings September to May, monthly life drawing sessions, exhibitions and a summer programme, visitors welcome.
Would you say there is a supportive community for artists in Preston and the surrounding area? I am a member of a great supportive community of artists in Preston. As well as Preston Arts Society I am a member of New Longton Artists, Mill Barn Artists, The Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire and meet fellow artists at Korova art café and Oxheys Mill. Art forums and networks come and go in Preston but places to network are so important.
What would you say to someone looking to get back into art or wishing to try out a class for the first time? If anyone wants to get back into art, societies are the ideal place to meet people who will encourage them to have a go. There are many painting groups in Preston who just get together to enjoy the work. On a more serious note vocational classes still exist both in further and higher education.
Aside from the Harris Open where else have you exhibited? I have exhibited in many venues throughout the Northwest in both joint and solo shows. I have also had work accepted with Manchester Academy, and in London.
What are you working on at the moment? I still teach a few classes, demonstrate and take workshops; mostly to other art societies in a fifty mile radius. I am also a professional tutor with the Society of All Artists.
Do you have any workshops or exhibitions coming up? Preston Art Society has as exhibition at Barton Grange Garden centre 17-22nd April. Mill Barn artists are showing at Avante Garden Centre, Leyland 24th April to 29th May. Preston Arts Festival is being planned for 5-19th October, looking at how Preston changed with the start of the First World War. I am looking at Preston archives, The Museum of Lancashire and other areas for inspiration in order to produce a body of work.
Pam Potter will be demonstrating her painting skills at Leyland Museum, Leyland on 8th March 2014. Contact the museum on 01772 422041 for more information.
All images courtesy and copyright of Pam Potter.