|Artist Shaped by Farm Life
Artist Pat Walker was shaped by her childhood years on a Mississippi Delta farm. She was born in Walnut, Tippah County, Mississippi but grew up in Rolling Fork, Sharkey County, Mississippi. Her father, Martin E. Walker, was a gentleman farmer and her mother, Lola Wiggs Walker, a poet.
“My dad and I were close and because farming was our life, I was taught to be attuned with the weather and nature,” she said. “It has been that closeness to nature and the earth’s cycles that has made me so passionate about life and art.”
Pat was introduced to classical examples of oil painting and sculpture at an early age through her parents and teachers. The words, "I can't" were not acceptable by my parents or my teachers at Fielding L. Wright School. I was indoctrinated with, "you can do anything if you try!"
“Drawing came naturally to me,” she said. “I continued to develop this skill throughout my early years, but I also began to paint, using subjects found on our farm.”
Light and Dark
Pat lives in a century-old house in Rolling Fork that is filled with fine examples of her own work as well as paintings by other American artists. She believes wholeheartedly in collecting good art and will forgo buying something else for her home in favor of a fine work of art.
Pat is a representational artist who enjoys using the chiaroscuro technique favored by Rembrandt. She believes a classical approach to painting gives her an opportunity to apply paint in a vivid, expressive way; a way that accurately describes the artist's view of the world, both technically and spiritually. It gives her work, which includes still lifes, landscapes and portraits, a sense of mystery and emotion.
"My objective is to draw the viewer into the painting with the beauty of light but to leave enough mystery to free the viewer to wander through their imagination. I want to take their breath away." She said.
Pat works exclusively "Alla Prima" with oil . She loves the way oil paint feels as it goes on the canvas and the smell of it in the studio. It is a flexible medium making it possible to make changes if necessary or desired.
She prefers to paint from real life rather than photographs.
Painting has been a lifelong passion, and Pat has been a serious student her whole life. She has never settled but choose to push to learn more and more about the magical process of painting. "One must continue to challenge the process to become a better painter." she said. She has studied with some of the best master painters in America, including David Leffel, Kim English, Dan Gerhartz, Matt Smith, Robert Johnson, Stapleton Kearns, William Kalwick and noted pastelist and portrait artist Daniel Greene of New York City.
Obviously, you must possess talent to reach a certain level of artistic excellence, but Pat believes that passion and determination will outdo genius every time.
“However, developing methodical work habits is paramount. You must have a strong work ethic and this requires devoting yourself to the work." she said. " You can't just paint when it's convenient or when you feel like it. It takes passion and commitment to learn any craft. It's a journey."
"An artist will have miles and miles of canvas behind them as they struggle to reach ever-higher planes with their work. But if you put the necessary time and discipline into learning your craft, when inspiration strikes, the moment is indescribable. I have painted all night when I've been touched by this angel of inspired magic. It is so much fun and I thank God, He made me an artist."
Being a Christian, Pat also feels that growing in her faith has informed her work.
"One of my mentors once said to me: 'As the soul grows, so does the art." That's so true. I read and study my Bible. I also read inspirational, motivational and books about Christian artists like Rembrandt. The influence of the Bible and the Protestant faith on Rembrandt was tremendous. Being an artist is sometimes a painful walk because you spend so much time alone and because most people don't recognize the sacrifice artists give to create beautiful paintings or works of art.'' It is the 'Road Less Traveled.'
Pat Walker Gallery
Pat worked in Bay St. Louis for a time until Hurricane Katrina’s catastrophic visit in 2005. After losing everything, she moved back home to Rolling Fork, where she paints but teaches workshops in Canton, MS in association with Allison's Wells a program of The Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau. She also teaches workshops across the nation and had just returned home from a workshop at the time of her interview.
In October 2012, Pat opened Pat Walker Gallery in Canton, and she is considering opening another gallery in Vicksburg. She represents the work of master American Artists William Kalwick, Scott Moore, Ann Hardy, Bob Rohm, Stapleton Kearns, Clinton Hobart, Fred Danziger, Fongwei Liu, Frank Baggett, Chuck Davis, Tony Forrest and Pat Walker.
Pat has received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Inc. in New York City; the Mississippi Arts Commission in Jackson; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York City, and the CAC Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. She was profiled by American Artist magazine and was featured in American Artist Highlights, two prestigious publications. She was picked by New Yorker magazine as an artist to watch to name a few honors. She has also been featured by numerous national publications including Art in America, Southwestern Arts, Artists and Galleries of the South to name a few.
Her work has been shown in galleries across the Southeast.
After struggling with psoriasis, which she believes she picked up while cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina, Pat developed a product she now markets nationally. Tinkering with an old family recipe, she came up with a cream – further refined for purity by a Memphis chemist – which she says ridded her of the psoriasis and has helped other people with everything from nail fungus and acne to athlete’s foot and rosacea. The product is called “Ok Toots! Rash Eraser” and you can find more information about it at http://www.oktoots.net : google Ok Toots Rash Eraser or by visiting Amazon.
“It’s the best darn stuff you will ever try,” she said.
For more information about Pat and her work, visit : http://Artist.PatWalker-Workshops.com or http://PatWalker-workshops.com