Pat Bird’s approach to brightening daily life
For as long as she can remember, Pat Bird has always been drawn to bright colors. When her husband, Norman, once asked her why she chose such a brightly colored wardrobe, her answer was simple.
“It makes me happy,” she said.
It’s that sense of happiness, and a desire to share it with others, that Pat brings to her artwork.
While the idea of being called an “artist” makes Pat chuckle, she has been actively creating artwork—in one form or another—since she was a young mother of three. Initially, Pat’s creative ventures began as a simple way to calm her own nerves, but later in life it also provided an important outlet to cope with the loss of her son.
Now 90, Pat uses her artwork and expressive use of color to brighten the lives of others. Her latest creation, a 24-inch by 48-inch painting of a butterfly, was inspired by the darkness she has seen in day-to-day life.
“There’s so much sadness in this world, and I just can’t deal with it,” she said. “For just five minutes, I want to give people something peaceful to look at. That’s why I called it, ‘Tranquility.’”
Pat’s regularly enters her artwork in Presbyterian Manor’s annual Art Is Ageless® competition. As a result, Pat’s apartment at Manor of the Plains has become a make-shift art studio—complete with two sewing machines, miscellaneous painting supplies and more.
“Her art goes well beyond the canvas,” said Kurt Lampe, marketing director at Manor of the Plains. “She has her patio set up with flowers, and in the summer, it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Pat visited Manor of the Plains in 2015, during what was originally supposed to be a week-long “staycation,” and then decided to make our campus her home. Previously, she lived on a farm with her husband, Norman. The couple had operated the farm since 1974. “I drove a truck. I hauled corn, wheat and sugar beets. I was the farm hand,” said Pat.
Even though she is no longer on the farm, Pat’s love of the outdoors continues to provide inspiration. One of her favorite scenes? A brightly colored sunrise, of course.