Art & Design Magazine

Draw & Discover: Miniature Innovation

By Americanart

The Luce Foundation Center’s Mary Tait who leads the weekly sketching program, Draw & Discover, recently discovered that one of the regular participants, C. Pamela Palco, is a miniature artist. She paints miniature paintings (generally between 2" x 3" and 4" x 5") on paper, ivorine, and even feathers! The feathers are either provided by friends who have pet birds, or found outside her house from the local avian population. She says that the most challenging aspect of painting on feathers is that they tend to absorb the acrylic paint and as a result many layers of paint are required. Eye Level talked with Pam about her miniature artworks.

Miniature painting on feathers

C. Pamela Palco, Lace Encounter, 2011, 2 5/8 x 2 1/8" inches, acrylic

Eye Level: How did you get started in art?

C. Pamela Palco: I started drawing when I was a young child and never lost my interest. I was always trying to improve and graduated into watercolors initially, then I was anxious to try all kinds of media.

EL: How did you transition into miniature painting?

CPP: A friend who was very involved with The Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington DC had always admired my paintings and suggested that I visit one of their annual shows and maybe try to produce a miniature myself. My first attempts proved successful and I've been passionate about miniatures ever since. I am now the Historian for the society and stay very much involved in the production of their annual show at Strathmore Hall in Maryland.

EL: What are you working on currently?

CPP: I am close to completion of an acrylic on clayboard of a Western Tanager at the rim of the Grand Canyon. I took the photo on a visit out west and have been wanting to produce a miniature of it ever since.

EL: How did you hear about Draw & Discover and what made you want to attend?

CPP: An acquaintance who had just retired from the Smithsonian told me about the program and it sounded like something I would enjoy. I love to try new approaches to painting and sketching.

EL: What is your favorite drawing from Draw & Discover that you’ve done so far?

CPP: There are several I was pleased with but I think my favorite is Big Race by Clarice Smith.

EL: What would you tell other people about Draw & Discover or the American Art Museum that have never been here before?

CPP: I am constantly recommending the program to other artists and suggesting they visit the museum. I have some friends that will be visiting from Switzerland in September and a visit to the museum is already on their schedule.

Come visit the Luce Foundation Center where you can find over 500 portrait miniatures on view, many of which are watercolor on ivory (but none are on feathers).

Sketching: Draw and Discover! is offered in the Luce Foundation Center on the third floor Tuesdays from 3—4:30 p.m. Some materials provided; please bring a small sketchbook and pencils.

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