Hello My Friends,
Thank you, those of you who wrote to tell me that it is OK when I ramble
on and write more than usual. This week I am going to keep my letter
short because I need to spend more time in my studio, now that my sister
and brother-in-law have left.
Mary (Honey) and Bill are a joy to have come and stay. Sweethearts
since their teenage days, they are as much in love in their seventies
as they were back then. I was touched to see what good care they take
of each other with helping hands when going down steps. Hey! I must
watch what I am saying! I will have you thinking they are unsure on
their feet and then I will be in trouble like the old days, when as
a younger sister, I was not that sharp about when it was time to "get
I have painted many pictures of sisters with Honey in mind as I try
to capture the special relationship that exists between loving sisters.
Our bonds are the source of our confidence in each other, a confidence
that allows us to laugh one moment, cry the next and then impart well
thought advice. On those days when it seems that everything I do is
off kilter and everyone is looking at me as if I am crazy, a quick call
to Honey alters the mood and I regain my positive thoughts.
Pat, with Deborah Norville on her right, at the Suncoast Girl Scout
Council luncheon for Women of Distinction.
On Tuesday Honey came with me to the Suncoast Girl Scouts Council luncheon
for Women of Distinction. Deborah Norville, children's author, Emmy
Award winner and anchor of Inside Edition was the keynote speaker. A
highly accomplished public speaker, Deborah talked of how her scout
training had taught her to always strive to achieve the best. She related
the inner strength that scouting gave her to her success in overcoming
the challenges of her career.
Like my sister paintings, my scouting paintings are symbols of my appreciation.
In the classroom at school, I lacked confidence and remained silent
to avoid being ridiculed for mistakes made through my not understanding.
This defensive behavior is typical of those of us who have to learn
differently because of our dyslexia. In scouting, my natural capabilities
came to the fore and I came out of my shell and participated uninhibited
by doubts. I am sure you can understand why it is I am so appreciative
of the Scouting movement. I am illustrating two brownie prints we are
about to publish and a couple of weeks ago I showed you my "Our
Leader", an image of a Girl Scout leader.
Two Brownie paintings that Pat has completed.
I have been fortunate to have the company of Marlyn DeWaard following
the departure of Honey and Bill. Marlyn is known to many of you for
her long association with the World of Moss through her editorship
of The Society's newsletter, The Sentinel. Marlyn, whose home is in
Michigan, became a Florida snow bird this winter and has been staying
in a condo in Clearwater. We teamed up on a couple of occasions and
will do so again this week. With Malcolm in Panama supervising our
education projects and the rebuilding of our terrace which had been
eaten away by termites, I appreciate her company more than ever. For
this Easter week, I will have Ginny, Corrado, Pico and Chiara with
me. They are driving down from Virginia.
Painting to commemorate the Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant,
Now to the studio. This week I completed a painting of steam operated
machinery to commemorate the Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant,
Iowa. This is a narrative painting in which I have a number of subjects
to include in order to tell the whole story. The challenge is to gather
the parts into a cohesive single image. As is often the case in such
a painting, I make more than one start as I explore the different possibilities.
Sometimes I get a blockage, like a writer's blockage, and I need to
put the painting aside and make myself take up some other work. Then
when I least expect it, maybe in the middle of the night, I will see
clearly how to move on. Such was the case with this painting.
I wish you all Easter Joy. On Saturday the Museum and the Foundation
teamed up yet again and organized a children's Easter egg hunt. Cori
Lemons, one of the Museum docents was the Easter Bunny and gave and
received a lifetime's worth of hugs as seventy children, thirty more
than had registered, took part in the hunt. The event was a huge success
and so Corrado Gabellieri (Museum Director) and Dell Philpot (Foundation
Administrator) have decided to make the Easter Egg hunt an annual event
and I am looking forward to when I can be present to take part.
Seventy children enjoyed the Easter Egg hunt at the Museum.
That's it for me this week but I am having two "add ons"
included with this letter. Carolyn Welch, the owner of The Art Loft
Gallery, in Collinsville, Illinois has written a superb piece describing
the customs of an Amish funeral. She researched the subject after seeing
the image of Mourning Ride which will soon be issued as a print.
I thank Carolyn for taking this initiative. I know that many of you
will appreciate this opportunity to read about how the Amish handle
death and its closure.
The second article is a report that I asked Tricia Miles, my personal
assistant, to prepare on a exhibit in Sherman, Texas. I was delighted
to learn of my images being incorporated into this public exhibit.
Again have a happy and safe Easter Weekend.
The Customs of an Amish Funeral:
Known worldwide as the “People’s Artist”, P. Buckley
Moss has taken on the formidable task of creating an image that deals
with life’s final chapter - death.
Pat has captured the solemn moment of laying a loved one to rest with
dignity and reverence in her newest limited edition print Mourning
Reflections. Not only has Moss portrayed her view and understanding
of Amish funeral traditions, she has also managed to create a work that
makes remembering the life of a loved one the central focus and theme
of the image.
Pat's painting Mourning Reflections.
The Amish have always been revered as a people who live a simple life
filled with devotion and faithfulness. In true Amish tradition, Pat
depicts the ritual of the funeral procession: a) horses trotting - not
walking - to their destination; b) the line of carriages, having been
numbered by the hostlers, the younger churchmen and boys whose sole
responsibility is the organization of the funeral procession, the numbering
of the carriages, and the hitching and unhitching of the horses both
at the house where a service has already been conducted, and at the
graveyard where the service will be continued; and c) the simple graveyard
entrance where the service itself will be concluded. Through the funeral
ritual and with the anticipation of the ensuing service and the anxiety
that often accompanies the occasion, Pat takes us on another journey
- one that does not necessarily take away the sadness of having lost
someone we cared about and loved, but rather a journey that gives us
a certain peace and acceptance. A journey that allows us and even encourages
us to reflect upon the life of the dearly departed and to keep alive
a spirit and memory that will offer comfort in grieving times.
This journey that Moss takes us on is known by artistic scholars as
“iconography”. It is the “message” which will
help us understand the meanings of certain symbols that the artist has
used to create the image. Iconography requires “education”
in the subject matter and the realm of art interpretation. It is that
which allows the viewer to experience the artistic intention and identify
with the “story” being told. Most of the symbols used in
this image are obvious to the viewer (a tree is a tree, the house is
a house, etc.); however, it is Moss’ combination that makes Mourning
The artist deliberately moves us through the scene using specific lines
and color. Our first stop on this journey is actually on a subliminal
level. The viewer’s eye is taken in an upward direction created
by the vertical lines given to the trees, buildings, and archway at
the entrance to the graveyard, almost lending itself to a feeling of
nervous tension. But Moss changes that direction and mood by grounding
the image in tranquil shades of blue and earth tones and by using horizontal
brush strokes - bringing the eye downward in a sweeping motion, now
giving the viewer a feeling of peace. This calmness created by the artist
is further enhanced by the quietness of the scene - no hustle and bustle
- merely a simple view of the countryside with the only sounds being
that of the horses as they trot past on the way to their destination,
The snow in itself in this image is important for several reasons:
(1) it, too, muffles noises and creates an audible hush; (2) it hides
the ugliness of winter; and (3) it creates the aura of purity - winter
in all its glory is nature’s promise that hope arrives in spring.
Moss is asking the viewer to stop and reflect - not on the harshness
of the situation, but on the inner qualities of life. She is offering
us a moment of prayer and solitude, a moment of hope and renewal; an
acknowledgment that peace and comfort are within reach.
The trees having been placed into the foreground of the image, just
in front of a pond, appear not as translucent shadows but rather stand
at attention - straight, tall, and solid - watching, waiting, acting
as witnesses to the solemn occasion, almost saluting the memory of the
life that passes and which will soon be laid to rest. Their gray color
with streaks of black add to their overall strength and their ability
to sustain the viewer in this time of sorrow.
Looking toward the pond one can barely see the reflection of the carriages
and horses as they move along toward their destination - reflected images
so deep in tone that they are almost darker than the carriages and horses
themselves. The viewer must note that the human forms are not mirrored
in the pond. In art history, it is believed that the reflection of the
soul is more important than that of the physical being. The soul is
only seen by God.
The movement of the funeral procession on this journey goes along the
roadway and welcomes us to stop and contemplate what there is to see.
The house allows our minds to wander and gives us a glimpse into the
lifetime that passes before us. The structure built with brick leads
us to believe that we are putting to rest someone who was a strong and
committed leader in the community and provided a stable and secure home
for the family; someone who could be relied upon and trusted. The orangish-brown
tones of the house reflect the colors of the earth, indicating the person
was no stranger to hard work - labor by the sweat of the brow as seen
throughout passages in the Bible.
The barn, much larger in size than the house, invites us to make yet
another stop and also serves to remind us of the hard work of everyday
life that this person was accustomed to. The position of the barn in
the center of the picture seems to make the structure a permanent part
of the overall environment; and the absence of the roof line causes
the building to blend with the landscape so much so that it actually
becomes a part of the natural scene providing us, once again, a place
of refuge in a cold world.
The entrance to the cemetery is rather nondescript, a simple iron arch
painted white and weathered with time. But Pat has again given us, the
viewer, something to relate to... the simple curve of the arch with
the ground providing a horizontal base, Romanesque in style, mimics
the curve of a cathedral and the warm glow given off by the arched,
stained glass windows one would expect to find there. Partially round,
we are reminded of a segmented circle, which has no beginning / no end,
a symbol of eternity, a place through which we all must pass. The love
that is felt for this person is not “dead”; it is ongoing
and will thrive as those left behind continue to reflect upon the person’s
As previously alluded to, color plays an important role in Moss’
artwork because it allows her to share her emotion and mood. The various
hues of blue in the sky and foreground have given us the feeling of
peace. The white that is used in the patches of snow is a symbol of
purity and grace, but the shades of off white in the ironwork at the
cemetery entrance and on the ground are reminders that life is not easy.
The warm red hues of pinks and oranges that are interspersed throughout
the image (almost mimicking the colors of a sunset) are life.
Mourning Reflections does not embrace death; but it does lead
us on a journey - a journey that gives us a glimpse into Pat’s
thoughts - her attempt to communicate that taking time to reflect on
the simpler things in life and loved ones offers peace and comfort in
the end. The journey of life in Mourning Reflections has come
full circle and is now complete.
Pat's Girl Scout Paintings Shared with the People of Sherman,
Girl Scouting celebrated its 92nd birthday March 12th. Marking the
occasion was a window display in the Sherman (Texas) Public Library,
which was put together by the Girl Scouts Cross Timbers Council's memorabilia
expert Willy Tennant. Ms. Tennant, who is also a Moss collector, included
some of Pat's Girl Scouting-related prints in the display as well as
her biography. "Pat strongly believes in and supports the Girl
Scout movement," said Ms. Tennant.
Window display at the Sherman, Texas, Public Library celebrating
the 92nd birthday of the Girl Scouts.
In addition to Pat's art and biography, the display included Ms. Tennant's
noteworthy doll collection depicting Girl Scouts of different time periods.
Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low was also honored in the group
dolls. A collection of the Girl Scouts stamps and first issue envelopes
were in the display as well as some of the Girl Scouts advertisements
from the past 92 years. Buster Brown Girl Scout shoes were also part
of the display.