Artist Pamela Hays started out as a woodworker. One day, she noticed a rock, while doing woodworking and thought to herself, “that rock could be a frog.” So she painted a funny frog, “to break up the monotony of woodworking.” Then, as it turned out, her friends wanted the frogs and, “started taking them, “ whenever she painted them. So, she thought, “hey, I can sell these,” and now sales have “just taken off...they’re fun...and people start laughing, when they see them.”
Pam uses acrylic paint and wood knobs for the creature’s eyes, then she sprays them with a clear gloss protective coating, “so they can be outside.” She tested them for outside endurance, while she was in Arizona. “One was run over,” she said, “and it survived - with the tire tread on its stomach. So, they are very tough.”
Pam is originally from New Jersey, but lived in Tucson, Arizona for 17 years. That’s where she began doing artwork - as reflected in her southwest paintings. She moved to Colorado with her husband Frank, when he got a job as an aircraft mechanic at the Jeffco Airport . She said, “the frogs have really become popular here in Colorado.”
Although Pam has no formal training in art, she has something more important ...a creative talent and a good sense of color, which she brings to life in both her frogs and her paintings.
When doing wood working, she uses a scroll saw to create freehand cut borders for mirrors - without the use of patterns. Her technique results in wonderful loose, creative designs, which are all her own ideas. She also cuts out lizards and other whimsical creatures. She likes to use bright colors in her paintings and with her animals. Her scenic paintings are done on wood with acrylic paint.
Her range of subject matter for paintings includes country and desert scenes - with pueblos, saguaro cactus and churches. She says she creates scenes of places out of her imagination, places where she would like to be.
She has been successfully marketing her frogs and some of her paintings and mirrors at Farmer’s Markets in Colorado. She has currently been selling her work at the Long mont Farmer’s Market on Saturday, during the summer from 8a.m. til 1p.m.
She said that when she was in Tuscon, she picked out stores she would like to have her work sold in and asked the owners if they would be interested - “and they usually were.” She also has marketed her art through various stores and shops in New Mexico.
She has been creating her unique art for about five years. Prior to that she has been a dog groom er, a limousine driver and a dispatcher. She finally decided to just focus on being an artist because,“ that’s what I really love.“
She buys her rocks from a commercial landscape company, where she can select just the right size and shape of rocks she needs. She said her business has gotten so big now that she cannot not just pick up rocks, wherever she may find them. After purchase, her husband takes the rocks to a car wash to clean them.
In addition to her frogs, Pam also likes to paint tortoises and she is planning to do a prairie dog, “because I have a rock that looks like it could be a prarie dog.” She said she is going to have it holding flowers with the roots still on them and a shovel. Because, “ I think it‘s a cute idea.”
Meanwhile, she hasn’t done any other animals because, “ I have just been trying to keep up with demand for the frogs and turtles.” She said she goes through cycles, where she does a bunch of paintings, then she does the frogs to switch off.
She calls her frogs, “my guys.” And they seem to surround her, wherever she goes.
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