You can’t miss her. For as long as she can remember, Pat Bird has always been drawn to bright colors. When her husband, Norman, once asked her why she chose such a brightly colored wardrobe, her answer was simple.
“It makes me happy.”
It’s that sense of happiness, and a desire to share it with others, that Pat brings to her artwork.
While the idea of being called an “artist” makes Pat chuckle, she has been actively creating artwork—in one form or another—since she was a young mother of three. Initially, Pat’s creative ventures began as a simple way to calm her own nerves but later in life it provided an important outlet to cope with the loss of her son.
Now 90, Pat uses her artwork and expressive use of color to brighten the lives of others. Her latest creation, a 24-inch by 48-inch painting of a butterfly was inspired by the darkness she has seen in day-to-day life.
“There’s so much sadness in this world. So many young people getting killed in school, and I just can’t deal with it,” she said. “For just five minutes, I wanted to give people something peaceful to look at, that’s why we called it ‘Tranquility.’”
Pat’s creativity is prolific and she regularly enters her artwork in Presbyterian Manor’s annual Art Is Ageless® competition. As a result, Pat’s apartment has become a make-shift art studio—complete with two sewing machines, miscellaneous painting supplies and more.
“Her art goes well beyond the canvas,” said Kurt Lampe, marketing director at Manor of the Plains. “She has her patio set up with flowers, and in the summer, it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
It seems only fitting that a woman whose life has been touched so much by color would also have a green thumb. Prior to moving to Manor of the Plains in 2015, during what was originally just supposed to be a week-long “staycation,” Pat lived on a farm she and Norman had operated since 1974.
“I drove a truck. I hauled corn, wheat and sugar beets. I was the farm hand,” said Pat.
Even though she is no longer on the farm, Pat’s love of outdoors continues to provide inspiration. When she’s not in her studio, you can routinely find her gazing out the windows absorbing everything nature has to offer.
One of her favorite scenes?
A brightly colored sunrise, of course.