Trusting God's Timing

She was born in Cincinnati. She now lives with husband Chris in Hudson, has for the past few years, but the road here was long and not without adventure or faith.

At twenty she moved to New Orleans, the French Quarter. Why? "Adventure. The air is heavy with coffee and magnolias and garbage and Mississippi river water. The streets are heavy with music; it's excessive with the sensory aspects of life. I think that taps something in people. It's not a part of us that gets exercised very much." New Orleans ignited the spirit of life for Pam Jarrett; it peaked her interest in art. She bought her first oil paint set there, "I painted lots of little paintings, little still life's and would give them as gifts, whether people wanted them or not."

She painted for about a year then was sidetracked by the hotel business, working fourteen-hour days climbing the corporate ladder. She quickly became the assistant manager of the Fairmont Hotel.

God's timing intervened a couple years later; she broke up with her boyfriend and simultaneously lost her job. "My whole life ended in a week and I thought, I'll never recover." That was not destined to be. Three weeks later Pam wound up in San Francisco carrying a suitcase with a rope wrapped around it, to keep it closed, $73 in her pocket and a new job as the assistant manager of the Stanford Court Hotel. Painting went on hold. "I never looked at a canvas, I never thought about it. I wanted to be an executive."

Eight years passed. She got married, changed jobs and was transferred to England. After three years in London, "I found I was suffocating. The job was really huge, my marriage was on the rocks, so I bought a paint set and I painted roses." She asked her husband what he thought of the paintings and he said, "stick to business." So she did. She divorced him and transferred back to San Francisco.

"It was there in San Francisco I met the love of my life," a delicious smile tugs at her lips when she talks about Chris. But Chris lived in New York so Pam quit her job, climbed into her MG with a suitcase (no rope this time) and drove to New York via New Orleans. She went back into the hotel business at the Ritz Carlton, but the work was not satisfying, "I was desperate for a creative career." She began searching for that creative outlet. All the while the paint set remained packed away.

Once again God's timing interceded; an uncle died leaving her a small sum of money, the exact amount necessary for her to quit her job and study Faux painting for six months. She unpacked the paint set and studied, soon she was running a lucrative business of her own. She became quite accomplished painting faux marble or wood grain, but had to hire friends to paint faces or portraits on the walls when clients desired them. This disturbed her, but a realization, a direction surfaced; she needed to become a fine artist. "I thought, if I could render a human person beautifully that would be all I would ever want in my whole life." So Pam went to Chris and said, "What do you say we sell the apartment and move to Italy?" When Chris closed his mouth he said, "That's a good idea."

Pam stumbled onto a book, Julia Cameron's, "The Artist's Way" and it changed her life. "I couldn't close the book. There was no choice, I was driven and I decided nothing was going to get me off my track ever again, no business, no money, no job, no nothing that was going to stop me from doing what I really needed to do." So they took the risk and moved to Florence. Pam studied painting in the style of the masters, the way Rembrandt painted, single light source, minimal dark colors that don't compete with the face.

Trusting her heart and God's timing everything on her path lined up. "In my heart I knew I was home, completely connected." The work was difficult but she fell in love with portraiture. "I've always loved faces and color." At school she was permitted to use only charcoal on paper; after a year and a half she was finally allowed to paint.

"How did you know you were ready to paint portraits?"

"I saw a woman in town and I fell in love with her face, beautiful olive skin, blue eyes, half Sicilian, half Tuscan and I quit school and painted her."

Because she pursued, fought for, refused to be deterred and trusted God's timing, Pam Jarrett fulfilled her life's dream.

Painting is discovering the essence, capturing the life force of each subject; portraiture is an extremely intimate process. "I fall completely in love with my subject every time. Say the subject has an ordinary mouth, you look at that mouth long enough, you watch it move when they think and it becomes a beautiful mouth. It has never failed me that I fall in love with every feature of a person. The more you look at somebody who's letting you look, the more you realize that everything is beautiful."

We'll talk next time, From the Road.

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