CLINTON — Tamra Lampe will donate part of the sales of her artwork to suicide prevention. It was an attempted suicide that started Lampe on her artistic journey in the first place.
Lampe is sharing an exhibit at River Arts Center this month with her aunt Karla Trude. Trude’s medium is photography; Lampe uses the acrylic pour method of painting.
Lampe began painting as therapy a couple of years ago when a friend attempted suicide, she said Tuesday as she hung her artwork. It was the most traumatic thing she’d ever witnessed.
Lampe had no background in painting, she said. “I painted ceramics, but nothing like this,” she said.
Following her friend’s suicide attempt, Lampe found herself staying up late at night, pouring paint and tilting canvas. “And then it became a habit,” she said. “And then it became an addiction.”
Lampe found herself with a house full of artwork and nowhere to go with it. She’s hoping this show – her first – will find a buying audience.
Acrylic pour produces amazing abstracts, almost by itself, Lampe said. “You just throw these colors together [and] let things happen. Kind of ‘let go and let God.’”
Painting is the best therapy, Lampe said, and the only cost is supplies.
Lampe is also showing some paintings with embellishments and some created by pulling chain and yarn across the canvass. The paintings created with a pendulum created the most mess, Lampe said.
Her favorites are the blacklight paintings along River Arts Center’s back wall.
Trude’s venture into photography began in 2011 when her husband, Bill, bought her a digital camera with which to photograph their grandchildren, Trude said Tuesday.
Later, Trude’s interest shifted to nature. “Nature doesn’t move quite as much as children do,” said Trude.
Trude’s husband died in 2018. “I just kind of threw myself into photography,” said Trude.
A couple of the photos Trude hung at River Arts Center on Tuesday are from a butterfly exhibit in Rockford, Illinois. Many of the others are landscape photos from parks around Cedar Falls.
Lampe accompanied Trude on the hike that was supposed to be about six miles. But each new turn promised new views of the land, and Trude kept clicking her camera.
“By the time we were done, it was a 20-mile hike,” said Trude. Forgetting the time – and distance – is normal for Trude when she has a camera in her hand and a nature scene before her, she said.
Trude’s favorite photo on display this month is a photo of koi in Rockford, Illinois. “I like it because the colors just pop on it,” said Trude of the 24-by-36-inch photo.
“I’m still learning the art of photography,” said Trude. “I take about a billion pictures,” then she picks the best one to print, she said.
River Arts Center will exhibit the artwork of Trude and Lampe through Sept. 18. An artist’s reception is set from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15.
Located at 229 Fifth Ave. South, the Arts Center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m.