July 2, 2020 // 9:41 AM

Adding Beauty to the Unadorned

Written by Rachel Hungerford

When Pat Oram, Garden Spot Village resident since May 2003, received an unadorned mask to wear during the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw a need for color and design. “Because I’m a painter, I looked at it differently,” she says. Having painted designs on china for many years, she decided to use her skills to paint other blank masks.

Pat received handmade masks made by Garden Spot sewers and decorated the blanks with delicate paintings of flowers. Then she gave the completed masks away to people who needed them. She didn’t see it as another art project, but as helping people.

“I said, ‘I could do that and be a part of it,’” she remembers. The endeavor made her feel as though she was part of something bigger.

Depending on the intricacy and difficulty of Pat’s design, painting one mask can take up to several hours. So far, Pat has decorated 15 masks.

At Garden Spot, Pat is a member of the Art Guild. She did a china painting demonstration in Village Square in 2008. Additionally, she’s sold 4 or 5 pictures in the Art Guild’s annual Main Street Art Gallery. She’s even been commissioned by other residents for her paintings.

Art Through the Years

Pat’s artistic talent began long before she came to Garden Spot. She was first influenced by 2 artists that came to her church and demonstrated chalk painting. She realized that she wanted to pursue art, so she joined a studio class. There, Pat learned everything from ceramics painting to oil painting to watercolors—even china painting, which is what she eventually did for profit.
Pat enjoyed being surrounded by other artists who could bounce ideas and creativity off each other. “It was very stimulating for a young artist,” she says.

When Pat finished her time at the studio, she began to sell hand-painted china and perform in-home demonstrations for people. Although the venture was very successful, it got to be too much when Pat had her first child.

But she didn’t stop there. In her youth, Pat had attended a summer camp where she learned how to do chalk painting. A few years after her son was born, she began to do chalk painting again, doing demonstrations for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, churches, and retirement communities. Her shows involved lots of equipment, music, and lights. Pat calls the experience “wonderful and fulfilling,” especially because she was able to reach so many people with her art.

Ultimately, Pat has always viewed art as a calling—a work not simply for fun, but for God and His glory. She says that everything about her art has been providential.

“It all came together in God’s way,” she says.

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