Local artist is turning mistakes into masterpieces


Photo credit: Molly Sullivan

Growing up, mistakes are sometimes necessary in order to learn. Chico State lecturer and artist Mariam Pakbaz, is doing just that with her artwork.

Pakbaz has a knack for wood paintings, whether it is using pastels, acrylic, prisma colored pencils or watercolor. The catch with her wood masterpieces is she doesn’t erase her mistakes. Instead she shows her progression throughout the completed piece.

On March 25, Pakbaz brought a collection of about 20 original works to Chico Paper Company for display. She chatted with fellow art enthusiasts about her work, the course she teaches at Chico State, inspirations and how she comes about creating her pieces.

Chico State lecturer and artist Mariam Pakbaz Photo credit: Molly Sullivan


“Back when I was about 3 (years old), I saw my brother drawing and I wanted to draw. I started drawing on my homework assignments,” Pakbaz said.

In graduate school, Pakbaz learned how the wood didn’t warp and her preferred medium has been painting on wood ever since. Her paintings are either one medium or a combination of three or more different types.

The works displayed consisted mostly of horses because she draws inspiration from her horse, Doggie, who she’s had since she was 17.

“Horses and mice are the most common and I use live models,” Pakbaz said. “Horses appear the most because they are a romanticized animal. When you’re on one, you are transported through time.”

Photo credit: Molly Sullivan

Most of her pieces show the different outlines of the steps it took to get to the finished product. Her piece “Raspberry Folly Articles” shows a woman riding a horse But originally it was meant to be a much smaller scene of the woman petting the horse.

The piece has the original scene at the bottom painted in white, where she eventually blew up the proportions and changed the shot. There are about four sketches of horses in blue and white, along with the finalized horse in red. While a few works show her struggles, some fully painted pieces like “Cherry Girl” show little to no visible sketches.

Photo credit: Molly Sullivan


Each piece varies on how long it takes to finish. Her simpler piece “That’s Lovely,” adorned with green and blue tones and purple letters, took about two-to-three hours to complete. However, her more intricate piece “Tiger Eyes,” showing a brunette woman in a red bikini and tiger mask circled by green flowers, was started in 2014 and just recently completed.

All of her work at the art reception was $120 to $600. Check out her work here.

Julia Maldonado can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.