T.J. Palm Author
I had the pleasure of interviewing Pat Wiles in Canon City, Colorado. I stared by asking her about her mother, because I was talking to her a few weeks ago, and she had said and I Quote, "I followed her around till she made me an artist." I wanted to find out what she meant by that. Her mother taught art while living in Kansas, after that she was the artist on the Princess Cruise ships. She traveled the world, Pat is definitely a world traveler. Pat and her mom had a great relationship. Pat's mom never turned her down for anything, if she asked her. Pat's mom was so spontaneous, she'd say today no school, we are going to go out and do anything we want. If Pat wanted to paint, her mom would throw together a little paint box with some paint and brushes and a piece of paper. Then she would take Pat out to paint Iris, her mom loved to paint Iris. Pats mom made her who she is today. Pats sense of adventure, her passion for painting, her love for kids, and best of all her sense of humor, all came from her mother. Pats kids are so will rounded with travel ,art and 4-H. Pat had a great relationship with her mother as do Pat's kids with her.
Back in the day she was good friends with the Governor of Texas, Ann Richards she was quite the character. She was famous for the quote "poor George Bush he can't help it he was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Ann Richards and Pat canoed down the Rio Grande with the Paparazzi in tow Pat said, "it was like a circus!"
When Pat was fresh out of college in her 20's she went to her first art show in a mall and sold nothing. Then a couple walked up and bought a small painting she was so excited, and as they walked out Pat heard them say our wedding picture will look great in this frame. Then Pat laughed, she has a great laugh.
Pat traveled to a lot of festivals and art shows, in Florida, Las Vegas, California, Texas and many more. She would be so tired Pat would fall a sleep sitting up in her booth and one of her friends would put a sign on Pat that said just shake for service.Pat had a booth at one of the art shows that was in a round tent, that was split into four booths. You could hear everything that went on in the other booths. A man was going from booth to booth. The first one he said to the young lady you have beautiful hair, the next one he said you have beautiful eyes, the third one he said you must work out because you have a beautiful body. So Pat ran and got her comb and combed he hair and he gets to Pat's booth and he says you have the best art out of everyone at this art show! She was laughing so hard as was I.
Pat loves to paint horses and wildlife more than anything. The medium that she likes to work with is watercolors. Pat has taught art for 40 years, and still teaches 4 to 5 days a week in a small studio. She really enjoys teaching in her studio. I've watched Pat's classes, everyone is having a ball all together at a table just painting away. It's fun to see people having that much fun. Pat likes to challenge herself and paint something she has never attempted to paint before.
I asked her who were her favorite artists that inspired her the most and she quickly said Remington and CM Russell, because of there depiction of the Americas and the old west, she could look at what they were depicting and know exactly what it was like back then," and that was very intriguing to her as a young girl.
As far as local artists Pat really likes Rudl Mergelman and Colleen Bobenck.
Pat has also done mural's, one in Anita McCoy's dance studio, and one in Shorinkan Family Karate. Pats largest Mural is at The Fremont Center for the Arts , it is of Cat Ballou which was filmed at Buckskin Joe, Canon City, Colorado. When I was doing research for Cat Ballou I saw an article on the movie. The director wanted the horse to lean up against the wall and cross his legs. The trainer of the horse said crossing his legs is not something a horse does naturally, but maybe in 3 or 4 days I can get it done. The director gave him one day! The trainer started right then, he bribed the horse with tons of sugar cubes, and just keep putting his leg back in that position over and over, and got the horse to hold that position long enough to get the shot and it was done in one day. The director was more than happy. Cat Ballou was filmed at Buckskin Joe Frontier Town & Railway in Canon City ,Colorado back in 1965. Buckskin Joe is no longer there the whole town was sold and moved.
If your walking down the street in Canon City, Colorado stop by the studios and see her murals, then go to the Fremont Center for the Arts to see the Mural of Cat Ballou.
I asked Pat what she would like her legacy to be she said, "working with kids." She has kids of her own, I think she would work with kids even if she didn't have any. Pat loves teaching kids as they are the future! She does visual arts, 4-H, Painting, drawing and ceramics. Pat teaches anything she wants now because shes' been around long enough that she doesn't have to get paid anymore for everything she does. Pat said " it's a great feeling!"
I asked Pat how many books she has Illustrated and she said "a dozen, and one of the covers was nominated for an award." Pat then said "one of those was yours, Tale of a Horse the Sheik of the Desert and I'm doing your next book Norman For Mayor the luckiest cow in the world!"
Pat was really well know Nationally and Internationally for a lot of different types of art. She sold one painting for $5,000, it was called Rocking Horse in the Attic. She sold it to a baseball player with the Texas Rangers. Before she sold The Rocking Horse in the Attic, it was sent to the National Women's art Center in New York City to a contest at an art show. Pat sent another painting to Les Etoiles Gallery in Paris, France for a contest.
What she became the most famous for was her Amazon Women art series. They were absolutely beautiful!!
I asked Pat where was her favorite place of all the places that she's been in her life, and she said, "Australia was the first, and then Amsterdam was the second." Then I asked her where was the worst place she ever visited and she said "Portugal, because the men Pee in the streets." That cracked us up, it was just the way she said
When Pat moved to Guffey, Colorado she was caretaker of a Vacant lodge and was paid to play with puppies. What a great job! That gave her time to pursue her art in Colorado. Guffey is a very remote area, but there are a lot of talented people there.
Pat's art is displayed at the Artist Galley in Canon City, Colorado and at the Blue-Spruce in Florence, Colorado.