Viewpoints – Pat Katz

Wanderlust Fuels My Art

I am a prairie girl at heart. Born and raised in Saskatchewan – the province where my roots run deep. Truly, a big blue sky over a golden field makes my heart sing. My first recollection of making art as a child is sitting at a table at the window at Elmer and Tilly’s farmhouse (our nearest neighbors) and using crayons to draw and color a field of stooks across the road.

As was the case with many mixed farm families of my era, we didn’t travel far from home in any season. There were animals to feed, fields to tend, gardens to grow, and finances were tight. 

However, in the summer of my 15th year, my Aunt Verna and Uncle Gordon invited me to join their family on a camping road trip to Expo ’67 in Montreal. And THAT experience sowed the seeds of wanderlust and a desire to see the world that has fueled a lifetime of travel.

As we journeyed from one pavilion to another exploring ‘Man And His World’, I was introduced to the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Sweden, Israel, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Thailand, China, Australia, the USA, and more. The taste tantalized, and I wanted more.

As soon as I finished University, I took my savings and headed off to Norway to start a 5 week solo backpacking journey through Scandinavia. Tucked in my pack were a sketchbook, pencil, and a small set of watercolors. 

Julius Meier Graef by Munch & Katz

In Oslo, I recall sketching Munch’s paintings while visiting the National Museum, and sketching Vigeland’s sculptures at the outdoor museum in Frogner Park. I remember pulling my paints out one evening at the hostel near Frederikshavn, Denmark, after having been inspired by my visit to the WWII bunkers along the northern coast of Jutland.

And then, life happened. You know…marriage, children, career (all good things to be sure)…and it would be almost another 30 years until I circled back around to sketching and painting. When I did, I reclaimed a part of my joy I had left behind.

For the last 20 years, my watercolors, pens and sketchbooks have been constant companions on my business travels and our vacations.

I love plopping down on a park bench, on a streetcorner, in a café, and pulling out my sketchbook to capture the sights and scenes in a way that goes far beyond photography. When I look back at my sketches done on location, I remember the way things looked, sounded and smelled. I recall the circumstances around the sketch and the conversations I had with those who happened by and stopped for a chat. The images are rich in memories.

Le Cigale & La Formi – Cassis Watercolour ©Pat Katz

I’ve discovered along the way that these captures bring joy to others, too, as they remind them of their own adventures and discoveries. That understanding fuels me to share my work with others.

Yes, I also love creating in the studio – playing with florals and still life and sketching from the many photos I’ve taken on our travels. But the best of days is a one where I find myself with an hour to spare sketching somewhere around the world at large.

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