A painting by Pat Parkinson hanging in the Jane Hamilton Gallery in Tucson got some recent publicity when it was selected to be on the cover of a publication found in hotel rooms throughout the city. Tucson Magazine is a coffee table hardbound publication featuring things to see and do around the Old Pueblo and advertising local businesses,” she explained. “The publishers had used photography on the cover for many years. Last year, they decided to change the look and visited a few local art galleries for ideas,” she said.
“I got a call when they saw White Dove of the Desert. It’s an interpretation of the San Zavier mission. They selected it to be on the cover and it’s featured in the book,” she smiled. “I was stunned. There wasn’t even a contest. They just picked it.”
Parkinson began her artistic endeavors creating fashion ads for newspapers when she worked for a department store at 19. She got married at 21 and took a few art workshops. Then life overshadowed her artistic efforts for a number of years.
When Parkinson’s children reached the teen years, she decided to take a summer art workshop. This became an annual tradition and she studied with the same artists for many years.
“I paint what I get excited about. Travelling always inspires me,” she said. “Or sitting on my back patio and watching the clouds pass by. Visiting museums is another favorite way to get ideas. Then I get out one or more items from my art book collection and I start paging through.”
Parkinson noted that she always has four or five pieces in progress at the same time. “I like to paint large pieces, so I stretch my own canvases,” she explained. “I start with a red acrylic base and paint over it with oils. When I get stuck, I put that particular piece aside. I turn it to the wall and let it sit for three or four weeks. When I come back to the piece where I had a problem, I have fresh eyes,” she explained. “At that point I can usually immediately see what’s wrong and how to fix it.”
Parkinson paints a variety of images. “Landscapes are hard to conquer,” she said. “The colors are challenging and plein air painting is difficult. The color palette changes depending on the environment. Pacific Northwest scenery requires much cooler colors. Here in the Southwest, the colors are warmer.”
Parkinson and her husband were first introduced to Tucson by way of baseball spring training. “We were visiting every year, and I got the idea to see if I could get some of my work in a local gallery. I was successful in that and then we decided to make this our full-time home in 1998.” She’s still showing her work in a local gallery 20 years later.
Since moving to SaddleBrooke, art has been a nearly full-time endeavor for Parkinson. “I paint from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 or 2:30 p.m. nearly every day and I got involved with the art guild to interact with fellow artists. The excitement from the creative process rubs off on each other,” she noted.