Local artist displays wildlife paintings

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Feb. 13, 2013
Pat Morris, a wildlife artist whose work is on display this month at Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, holds up one of her more popular creations - a feather painting. Photos by Jennifer Coe.
Pat Morris, a wildlife artist whose work is on display this month at Kent Memorial Library in Suffield, holds up one of her more popular creations - a feather painting. Photos by Jennifer Coe.

Although Pat Morris has loved art since she was young, it was when her son began school in 1971 that she finally had the quiet time she needed to start developing her skills. She began with subjects very close to home: animals.

Morris works primarily in pastels, and often uses items from nature as her canvas. Kent Memorial Library in Suffield recently held an opening reception for an exhibit of her artwork. The show will be on display until the end of the month.

“I love wildlife,” said Morris, who is a Stafford resident. “I started with my own dogs.” She has, in fact, gone on to draw many people’s dog and cats, and even some horses - but it’s another kind of canine that really holds her heart.

In 1981, a professor at the University of Connecticut introduced her to her first wolf, and she was mesmerized. “I was always enraptured by this animal,” she said. She went on to volunteer with area wolf preserves and got to visit up close with them, providing her many opportunities to paint them. “Wolves are the animal I paint when I need to express myself,” said Morris. “They talk for me.”

Morris has no formal training, but has turned her natural artistic eye into a second career.

“I flunked all my art classes in high school,” she laughed. The teacher had her painting abstracts.

Morris, who takes a lot of walks in the woods for inspiration, draws from photographs as well as memory. Sometimes she creates on-site. As she walks in the woods, she will often see tracks of bear and deer. Later, as she is painting, she places them in the scene. “I am going to put you there because I know you have been there,” she said of her wildlife subjects.

For many years, Morris was a delivery driver - backbreaking work which she has recently been able to put behind her. “Now I get to get up every morning and paint,” said Morris. “I am not rich, but I am paying my bills somehow.”

Many people seek out Morris’ talent to create pet portraits. “That is the most fulfilling thing that I do,” she said. “I can almost memorialize it for them.” Her biggest challenges? Painting the animal’s eyes and “capturing their spirit,” she said.

Sometimes she creates the eyes and then walks out of the room. When she comes back in, Morris said, if the eyes “grab her,” then she knows the rest of the drawing will flow naturally.

She considers the effort she puts into her painting as “spiritual.”

“It is how I express myself,” she said. “Whenever I [capture the eyes] it’s like magic,” said Morris.

Morris has also begun painting with acrylics on feathers, which she has found to be very popular. “I live feather to feather,” she joked. She also paints on mushrooms, found wood and bark.

To see more of her work, visit the website www.patmorrisartist.com.


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