In every stage of her life, Pat Casanova had a creative outlet, but only recently has she made it her goal to practice art every day.
“I have always done some art in some way, shape, or form,” Pat said.
The artist has lived in Aberdeen since 1970. She attended Northern State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in music. Pat started her career as a teacher for seven years before working at Mary Kay Cosmetics, where she spent the next 30 years pushing her creativity through makeup.
During the pandemic, Pat needed something to fill her free time, and her search began to find an artist to help her learn new techniques and mediums of art.
“I just kept researching until I found people that I liked their work, that I identified with, that I was drawn to. So then I just started purchasing supplies, and got my space all set up and just started in. A little bit every day,” Pat said.
In the beginning, Pat participated in a few in-person courses to kick-start her learning. She renovated her Mary Kay office and piano room to her painting studio, filling it with her collages and other pieces. Pat also made room for her collection of supplies. She uses old pages from books, tissues, and napkins for layering, and an array of Posca Paint pens, ink, and gel pens also line her shelves. Recently, her interest is directed to one particular medium.
“Predominantly, now, most of my classes that I took are in watercolor,” Pat said. “I am very intrigued with watercolor. It’s my favorite because of the magic you can do with it, layering and splattering, just so many things. I love it!”
She explained, “Water color is very transparent.” All you need is water and a brush. “You wake it up.”
Some of the pieces Pat made are for sale and displayed at CJ’s Patisserie and Moxie Salon & Barbershop. In the winter of 2020, Pat was invited to exhibit seven pieces of her art in the ARCC Gallery. In some cases, she does commission work. For instance, a friend of Pat’s had a newly renovated room, and she asked Pat to design the artwork for it from pictures of the rug and furniture.
“I never realized I would like abstract as much as I do. I way, way prefer abstract art over realism. I find it way more interesting and intuitive,” Pat said.
In one of Pat’s classes, she took one concept from a lesson and created several pieces with the same technique. The one idea is present in each piece, but in various forms. She simply kept recreating it and never made the same design more than once.
“When I start painting, I don’t really have a goal in mind. A lot of it is intuitive. I don’t know how I do it,” Pat laughed.
Some of the inspiration stems from the vision of her teachers and the work they present in class, other designs spark from Pat’s past creations.
Art is an escape for Pat, and her main purpose is to find pleasure and have fun with it. Many people in her family have a connection with art in different ways, and finding the time to explore her talent brings Pat back to her roots.
“My mother was very artistic. I am the oldest of 10 children, and I think this is very important because I got a lot of it from her … but I have five sisters who are also very creative and artistic in different ways,” Pat said.
Her family’s Scandinavian heritage plays a big role in a handful of her pieces. Pat has a corner in her work space dedicated to Scandinavian items and artwork. Her grandma travelled to America on a ship in 1905, and a cousin found her ticket. Pat had someone local help her recreate that boarding pass, and she formed a collage with a picture of her grandma, the ticket, and other related memorabilia. She then made 15 more for her cousins.
Usually, Pat has a good sense of the direction of what to do next in her artwork, but at times, especially when Pat takes a break from creating, she finds it more difficult to generate new ideas.
“If I stop and don’t paint for several days, I have to really talk myself into starting again. It’s kind of like, once you start, you can’t stop. And I think it is really important to paint every single day because every time I paint something, I get ideas for the next thing,” Pat said.
Her passion for creating watercolor paintings and other mixed media is too strong to let a little creative block stop her from doing something that she loves. Pat creates artwork that makes her feel happy, and it’s very rewarding to her when other people resonate with her work in the same way.
“If you feel the pull to create, by all means, listen to your heart,” Pat said. “We have opportunities locally for classes to get you started, and with all the technology available to us today, guidance is just a click away. Build your confidence one day at a time until you discover your own style!” //
You can find Pat Casanova’s work on Facebook and Instagram at patcasanova1.