Portrait of the Artist as a Young[er] Woman

Patricia Banker Peart

First, let me clarify: I am no saint.

I make them...

...from clay, glass, metal, paint...and other media...

...using historical references.

and I probably make them in another sense as well .....

St. Expeditus Sculpture

St. Expeditus Sculpture

Expeditus was not the first saint I sculpted, but he’s become my personal “patron.” My tendency toward procrastination has at times been legendary. I’m afraid that I may well have nudged family and friends closer to sainthood (I’m sure they’ll thank me someday!) as they patiently waited for me to get around to doing something I was supposed to do. Some long-suffering college roommates once even stayed up all night to help me finish a put-off art project that was due the next day. I have phone calls waiting to be returned; wedding gifts, thank-you notes and greeting cards waiting to be sent. Some of them have been waiting for years...I don’t need to get into the psychological reasons here (I’ve become well-versed in them)...

However, I do somehow seem to get a few things done...and the older I get the more I realize just how little time I’ve got left to do the rest! But just so I don’t come across as a some sort of dallying dilettante (though I might well be one), I’ll list some things I have managed to accomplish:

  • I did obtain degrees in Art and English (with the help of those roommates!) from a fairly prestigious (at least according to their promotional literature) university.
  • I found — and have stayed married to — a great guy for nearly 4 decades. (I recently made a web blog for him detailing his single-handed sailing adventures travelswitheos.com, but he has yet to update it — an even great procrastinator than I am.) I created Brendan the Navigator with Randal in mind. 

    Brendan the navigator icon

    Brendan the Navigator Anachron

  • I’ve raised (with a tremendous amount of help from their dad) 3 sons who (so far) have brought us much more joy than pain — and have recently given us 3 wonderful daughters-in-law and 4 amazing grandchildren. (Whatever “rebellion” they engaged in was against our bad examples, e.g., untidiness.)
  • I’ve edited and published 4 books.
  • I have been the editor of 3 magazines (spanning 8 years), somehow making sure most deadlines got met.
  • I wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column for 5 years (okay, I probably did miss a few deadlines).
  • I owned a full-services design studio ( all-women and we brought our babies to the office) that generated enough income to pay my bills until, in a state of postpartum psychosis, I started my own magazine.
  • I taught art in both public and parochial schools....

In fact, my whole life I’ve felt slightly out of sync...doing something just because it felt like the right thing, even though others saw it as weird or peculiar. I’ve learned to accept it as a compliment when the very people who smirked at something I was doing, turn around and do the same thing 5 years later because now it has become cool or trendy. (1974... living in inner City Detroit, renovating an historic house and riding my bike not only to work, but to the Farmers Market, comes to mind.) And I continue to have a lot of expensive “learning experiences.” — Sometimes I think some of those experiences could qualify me as a Holy Fool.

I think that’s why these saints appeal to me so much. They did what they were inspired to do, despite public opinion and “common” wisdom.

The similarity stops there, however: The most painful torture I’ve yet to endure at the “hands of adversaries” is boredom and having to be polite; I’m still trying to figure out my own “spirituality;” and no saint would ever write this much about herself!