“I’m so excited!” exclaimed resident Pat Bird when talking about the outcome of her painting in this year’s Art is Ageless® competition at Manor of the Plains in Dodge City, Kansas.
Pat’s acrylic painting, “My Mother,” won in the People’s Choice amateur division and she owes her inspiration to memories of her mother.
“I was kind of doodling around and making up my mind at what I wanted to draw and all of a sudden this thing I was setting up looked like my mother. That was my idea: to paint my mother how I remembered her when I was a little girl,” said Pat. “We’re part Cherokee Indian. She had beautiful hair and was quite a lady. She was also very talented – she could play the piano, the organ and the accordion.”
Pat inherited her mother’s creative genes and has used them in various ways throughout her life.
“I’m always sewing, painting or working in my garden. I made all my children’s clothes, part of mine and decorated my home. When my three children left home, I had empty nest syndrome only I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I knew I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere, so I started painting and took classes and studied under two women in Dodge for several years. Then I decided I wanted to be more prolific in my painting, so I found an outreach program, but the teacher lived 50 miles from where I lived. I thought, ‘I’m going to do it, this is what I want to do, and I don’t care what I have to give up!’ I made the drive every week and she was worth it!” said Pat.
One of her first projects was painting murals in Deerfield, Kan., where she and her husband, Norman, lived. She also had plans to paint scenes on the walls of their home, but Norman got cancer and she put her artwork aside to help care for him for three years.
“We met on the first and only blind date I ever had in my life. It lasted almost 50 years,” said Pat. “When he passed way, the kids said they wanted me to go back to painting and sewing.”
And she did. She went to a local art supply store and purchased four large pieces of canvas. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them at the time, but she’s now down to her last piece.
“There’s something about birds – I love birds. There’s something rattling around in my brain and once it comes out through my fingers, we’ll see what it looks like. When I get these birds done it will be my last piece of canvas,” said Pat.