Truckee’s Backstreet Framers and Gallery: The Art of Seeing by Pam McAdoo |

Truckee’s Backstreet Framers and Gallery: The Art of Seeing by Pam McAdoo

Amy Edgett
Sierra Sun
Color Wheel Rocks, part of Pam McAdoo's The Art of Seeing, will be on display at Backstreet Framers and Gallery in Truckee through mid-December.

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Pam McAdoo has done a million different things, yet people don’t know her as an artist. “That’s how I see my essential self,” said McAdoo.

One step into her studio and the watercolors transport her into a state of doing, zen-like, working with tools of the trade to create an image. “The reason I make and teach art, it helps tap into a different place in my conscience,” said McAdoo, who teaches art at Sierra College, Tahoe Truckee campus.

Typically, her subjects are landscapes and portraits, but a little over a year ago, a group of like-minded artists challenged themselves and McAdoo to focus on a series of work. An abstract pattern, formed in a Portland Ore. Japanese garden spoke to her. A slab of granite over a dry streambed with rounded, granite rocks.

She captures subtle shadows, smooth egg shapes and surface, color shifts from slate blue, rose, sienna in single pieces, with the series of 25 watercolors to show at the Backstreet Framers and Gallery, 10099 Jibboom St., Truckee.

Each image is similar, it captures the garden rocks, in several layers, or blocks. Each is different, with a varied wash, grouping or tint. Each time McAdoo enters and departs her studio, she is a different person.

But the local artist always appreciates being outside, cross country skiing, gardening and travel. McAdoo adores travel. “I go to one place, get planted, and get a sense of the community,” she said. Indonesia, Japan, Equador and Europe are a few places she’s plopped. “The stimulus of walking into a different culture wakes me up, and I see things in a different way,” McAdoo pondered. “Exotic fruits, upside down chickens, it’s kind of alarming. I love that startle.”

On a trip to Nepal in the 80s, McAdoo stayed in a town where sparse living, no wheels, no bicycles, the people eating a potato diet, did not hamper their zest for life. They were generous, warm and welcoming. “I was struck by the awesome amount of time spent, weaving, cutting a stone to build a house, how much they invested in making their world visually beautiful,” McAdoo said.

She feels at the best of times, you are a medium, that the art flows through you to become a tapestry, a painting. And she finds watercolor to be the hardest medium under the sun: It’s unforgiving. “You have to hold your nose and jump into watercolor, be brave and let things happen.”

Step into McAdoo’s Japanese garden series, with an opening reception Friday, Dec. 3, 4:30-7 p.m. at Backstreet Framers and Gallery in Truckee. The work will be on display until mid-December. Visit or call the Gallery at 530-587-1409 for information.

An opening reception Friday, Dec. 3, 4:30-7 p.m. will celebrate the opening of a show of recent watercolor paintings by artist Pam McAdoo. It will be festive, celebratory at the Backstreet Framers and Gallery, 10099 Jibboom St., Truckee. McAdoo studied drawing and painting in Italy before earning an undergraduate degree in Studio Art from Antioch College, a Masters degree in Illustration from Syracuse University and an MFA in Illustration from the University of Hartford.

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