Palmer Lake Art Group

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Featured Artist

Patty Jo Schmidt

Patty Jo Schmidt

Walking into a PLAG event is like entering a scene of “Cheers”, the classic TV show that revolved around interesting characters and warm and joyful camaraderie. Just when I thought I understood the plot line and who was who, in walks one of the beloved original leading ladies, Patty Schmidt. Patty joined Palmer Lake Little Art Group in 1972 when the group was comprised of just a dozen artists, and I am certain that she lit up the room her very first day just as she does today. 

Walking into Patty’s studio one is surrounded by the abundant evidence of a creative life well lived: a library of instructional books, mostly by watercolorist Tom Hill; four separate workstations; aspen tree reference photos scattered like fall leaves; partially finished projects in midconversation between artist and objective; and enough brushes and paint supplies to make Hobby Lobby jealous. Every object holds a lesson that can be learned. Frugality is one of the principles to be learned here. Frames have been rehomed from various thrift stores and wait patiently for their turn to be put on display. Patty’s supply stand, once a tower of beauty products, still brings a vibrancy of color and kink to its recipients, but now with oil paints. Butcher trays now are watercolor pallets. Paints are marked with clearance stickers, but Patty lets me in on her secret that she actually got them for an even greater discount and only paid garage sale prices. Pride in workmanship is evident throughout her studio. A lesson for all beginning artists is the importance of a prominent and clear signature that declares one’s authorship and pride in one’s work. 

Currently, on one of her many easels, sits a beautiful oil rendition of her lovely granddaughter in a summer straw hat. Patty references a completed pastel of Joe Bohler, a prominent historical figure from the Palmer Lake region, to illustrate how she will subtly complete the texture of a straw hat with the suggestion of porous holes forcing the mind of the viewer to complete the image. The savvy painter uses this technique to draw in the viewer and create greater engagement. Nestagolia and future aspirations are both at home here. Newly begun projects are kept company by some of Patty’s original works. If asked nicely, Patty may even show her guest her very first oil painting of a little girl in a bright red dress or the elegant clothing line she designed for her paper dolls. One can see both the great progress that she has made in her skill and the talent that existed in her as a young girl. More is yet to come from this studio, and one of Patty’s obvious passions is for PLAG’s scholarship program so that young artists might be encouraged to follow their own dreams of being lifelong artists. This versatile artist no one trick pony. Patty is accomplished at oils, pastels, acrylics, clothing design, painting restoration and, her favorite medium, watercolors. When Patty speaks of watercolor it is with the same twinkle of love and admiration that she speaks of her beloved appaloosas. Watercolor has a mind of its own and one must collaborate with its wild nature to unbridle its beauty. New members of PLAG and burgeoning artists can find a wealth of wisdom among the “Cheers” ensemble of the PLAG members. If one takes the time to look and listen, there are lessons to be learned not only on how to compose a beautiful painting, but how to compose a beautiful life. Thanks to Patty Schmidt for the generous sharing of her time and talent, but also of her wonderful life. Written by member Rita Bates.