Artist Spotlight

Patty Mathes

Artist Spotlight: Patty Mathes painting outdoors

Per Patty: “When I was four years old growing up in St. Louis, my parents gave me Christmas presents which foretold my life as an artist. An old “Super 8″ movie shows me trying to wriggle into a fringed Annie Oakley outfit, digging my feet into bright red cowboy boots, and standing tall in front of a wooden easel. Annie Oakley, with her pigtails flying and pistols blazing, was my heroine. I spent hours dressed like Annie, drawing and painting horses using my collection of horse figurines as models. Today, friends know I am just a grown-up version of that girl. I still love to wear my Western clothes and paint Western subjects.

My love of creating floral paintings using vibrant color is also a reflection of my early St. Louis childhood playing in a neighbor’s wild and bountiful garden and picking wild blackberries hanging from her weathered fence posts. As a young artist I was inspired by these images and set up my easel next to an old stove in my basement determined to capture those images on canvas. During the long winter nights, I would melt candles and mix the wax with oil paints to create garden florals in my version of the Van Gogh tradition. I am still drawn to flowers and cacti because of my strong love of color, shape, and design. As an adult, I have been fortunate to photograph some of the world’s most beautiful gardens. These photographs and sketch notes serve as resources to create paintings rich in detail and color. There seems to be nothing more beautiful than multicolored blossoms playing against garden greens or a sun-drenched desert landscape. Explorations of floral shapes are exciting because they are abstract wonders. I feel flowers bring us back to nature, ground us, and put us back in balance.

I am also a seventh generation American and find strength in my roots as well as motivation for my paintings depicting the drama of people, animals and their relationship with the land. I am inspired by stories of my hardworking pioneer ancestors who built a sawmill and a church in Ohio while clearing the land for a farm. As a child I spent countless hours in the summer riding a Shetland pony, roaming the fields and helping my grandmother in the vegetable and flower gardens. The church stands today and the farm is still family owned.

Now, I am honored with invitations to photograph and paint cattle drives, roundups, and sacred Native American ceremonies. Many of my models are Native Americans, ranchers, working cowboys and cowgirls. I challenge myself to paint traditional Western subjects capturing uplifting messages indicative of a vanishing rural life as well as Native American themes.”

Patty Mathes
'San Xavier Blessings’
24x20 acrylic

Past Artists of the Year Winners