Bobbi Patton: finding her bliss through art

Bobbie Patton pauses with an in-progress work; Photo by LaVerne Kyriss.

LaVerne Kyriss

When Bobbie Patton and her husband went looking for an Arizona retirement community last year, she had one non-negotiable criteria. “Our new community had to have some sort of art club,” she explained, noting “everything else was negotiable.”

The Pattons had lived in the Sacramento, California area for many years, including most recently in Roseville, but settled on SaddleBrooke for the lifestyle and for the Fine Art Guild. “I only started exploring art after we moved to a Del Webb community in Roseville. I kept walking past the art room and was frankly intimidated. One day, a group of women motioned for me to come in. They encouraged me to try my hand at a class and I’ve never stopped,” she laughed.

“I work in oils because I love the way the paint feels. I love pushing it around. You can do things with oil paint that you can’t do with other media, including ‘do-overs.’ Oil is very forgiving, but if you just can’t get it right, you can start all over on the same canvas,” she said. “I tend to create an abstract on top of a failed work. Sometimes you get the most wonderful effects.”

“I started painting landscapes, seascapes and flowers, the scenes around northern California. Then I ventured into pet portraits. It began with a pet photo contest at our fitness center. We voted on the best ones and they were featured in a calendar that benefitted the SPCA. The next year, I asked if I could paint some of the photos,” she said. “The organizers said yes if I was willing to donate a painting the next year of the contest winner. Painting pets helped me to learn a bunch of new skills and new ways of painting.”

Patton considers herself very much a beginner, and is still actively seeking a variety of classes. “I’m really excited that Kay Sullivan offered a pet portraits class in April through the Guild and I just learned we’re lining up a new oils teacher,” she said. Patton said painting helps her find her bliss. “I paint for enjoyment. It makes me feel good. I’m inspired by the beauty around me.”

“I’m sometimes challenged to know when a work is finished and detail work can also be challenging. But I’m never afraid to start over if it just isn’t working,” she reflected. “I first found even the idea of painting to be so intimidating, but people were welcoming and encouraging. I just needed someone to urge me on. People new to art should give it a try. It’s fun to explore new things in life and to see how your work progresses over time.”

“Sometimes people will say they wish they could paint like someone else, but I think you should paint like you,” Patton advised. “When I first started taking classes I was following the teacher and learning skills. As I got more comfortable in my own ability, I wanted more and more to try my own approach. Now it’s fun to be in a class or in open studio and see all the different approaches. I also love learning from others in the Wednesday non-critiques.”

For more information about the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild activities and classes, visit their website at