Being born on Neebish Island, located in the St. Mary's River, has left a unique impression on Pat Norton and her art. Her father was in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, tending the navigational lights along the river. Pat and her eleven brothers and sisters grew up with the river as their playground. This created a deep understanding and love of the river and the ships that passed by, that has lasted through the years. All of this world would later become the main subject of her art work.
In the sand, along the river, can be found hard particles of clay in many shapes and sizes. These forms of clay, called "mud babies", became the first objects used by Pat to paint and draw upon. During her high school years she had an art teacher who taught her the enjoyment of using color and form. Pat credits this guidance of Robert Bishop as the most important part of her art career.
Watercolor is the medium that she uses to express the every changing moods of the river and lake boats. She often paints a mood of feeling of a freighter rather than the exact details of a particular freighter. To best do this she developed a technique unique to her art work.
Her work has been in juried shows throughout the United States and has won numerous awards.
The original to her print "cargo Sunrise" was purchased for the permanent collection at Rahr West Museum, Manitowac, Wisconsin.
One woman shows have been at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Pollyanna Gallery in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan and Besser Museum, Alpena, Michigan.
Pat has paintings in public, private, and corporate collections across the country, highlighted by Ogle bay Norton Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
Having raised three children, Pat, with her husband, now lives in a log house on the St. Mary's River in Barbeau, Michigan. Her home is on a point of land that juts into the river close to the passing freighters. This allows her to capture the atmosphere of each freighter and to talk with the crews as they pass.
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