Rookie Artist Looks For The Soul In The Eyes

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Ask Pat Sessions if she has advice for beginning artists and she will give you an incredulous look.

"I am a beginning artist," Sessions says.

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She picked up a paintbrush for the first time two-and-a-half years ago.

"When you are absolutely new to art, you have to paint every day and explore every aspect," she said.

Animals are the subjects that entrance her most, with portraits close in the running.

"I like capturing their souls in their eyes. I always try to do the eyes first, because once you do the eyes, everything else falls into place," Sessions said.

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"I've blocked the wheels twice but it's coming along," artist Pat Sessions said of her coal wagon (at left). Sessions' painting of a wolf (above) expresses how she captures the soul of her subjects in their eyes.

Since then, she has sold work to Open Range Magazine for their online site.

To see Sessions' coyote on the Internet visit www.openrangemagazine.com.

She has shown at the Northern Gila County Fair, the Payson Art League's November 2007 show and at Gila Community College's show.

At the PAL show, Sessions said she most enjoyed meeting the artists who were so encouraging and watching Donn Morris work on a watercolor painting.

She is still Joy Layson's student on Thursdays and Jim Strong's student on Fridays.

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Riding in an open car on a coal-stoked train out of Heber, Utah, Pat Sessions took pictures of the barn that became this painting.

In the summertime, Sessions and a few classmates often set up their easels on her deck and paint.

"People who have done this all their lives probably find it strange that I have difficulty," Sessions said.

Color and perspective are challenges, so she keeps her color wheel handy.

Sessions is a realistic painter who takes her camera with her everywhere.

"Stop there, that looks like a good shot," she tells her husband, Ab. Then she "snaps and snaps and snaps."

Her road to art has been long in coming.

Some 20 years ago, Sessions retired as a real estate broker and took drawing at a local junior college to expand her horizons.

"Then, at 49, I went and earned my teaching credentials so drawing went by the wayside," Sessions said.

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Pat Sessions claims she is a beginning artist herself when asked to give advice to novices. She has only been producing work for a little more than two years.

For the next 11 years she taught elementary school.

First-grade children were her favorites.

"They believe you are wonderful and I love to teach reading. First is probably the only grade level where you see the results of you efforts. In the next grades you plant seeds and somewhere down the line they develop," Sessions said.

When she retired and she and Ab moved to Pine, oil painting classes were a natural fit.

"Life is too short not to try all these things," Sessions said.

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