Where Art Meets Life: July Member Artist Pat Kerns

by Bella Erakko

A person once said, “Clouds are the heaven. Flowers are a smile from heaven.” Pat Kerns, realizing how ethereal both can be, has been known to jump into her car, bathrobe-clad, camera in hand, to capture a cloud-captivating sunset or dawn. Or she can be seen strolling through the Farmer’s Market and her own garden choosing flowers—not destined for a vase but a canvas.

Perhaps her fascination with clouds goes back to childhood days of visiting Aunt Leta who believed one of the best ways to spend the day was lying on the grass watching clouds shape-shift. Obviously cloud-love passes through generations as Pat’s son was an avid storm chaser. Flowers offer the same fleeting perspective of beauty. After retiring a few years ago, Pat—once a multi-media art teacher—has chosen to focus on graphite, pastel, and oil. “I love working from actual life. You are trying to capture that moment. Even with clouds, I am trying to remember that moment.”

Pat Kerns was recently very moved by what Barry Wright, a fellow artist, said about his photography: “When I take a photo, it is not about what I see; it’s about how I feel. If I don’t feel something, how can I make my viewers see something?”

Her spectacular powdered graphite clouds, often on large canvases, allow her to find the light radiating through the clouds. Applying powdered graphite to prepared canvas, she uses erasers—pink, kneaded, electric—to draw viewers into a billowy world that is as fleeting as a dream, out of sight, over the horizon., gone That moment, whether a cloud or fragile flower, where art meets life, is precisely where Pat Kerns wants to take the viewer.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 14 from 5 until 8:00 with a free drawing for one of Pat's works at 6:00. This reception coincides with Hannibal's Second Saturday Gallery Night and is free and open to the public.