Behind the artist’s brush
By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY
CARROLL – With her uncanny ability to communicate with others through her rural-themed art, Patricia Buckley Moss is often mistaken as a native Iowan. That’s just fine with this world-renowned painter, who continues to find inspiration in the Iowa countryside.
“Everyone thinks I’m from Iowa, but I grew up in New York,” said Moss, 79, who recently signed prints of her artwork at the Finishing Touch Gallery in Carroll. “I’m inspired by Iowa, though, because there are lots of good values to portray here.”
The Prairie Pedlar near Odebolt is reflected in her new limited edition “Bouquets of Love” print, which features the iconic 1940s-vintage Sears and Roebuck barn and gardens that grace the farmstead. “Bouquets of Love” is the latest Iowa-themed artwork from Moss, who has also created prints of the Chautauqua Building in Sac City and the Stone Pier in Lake View.
“It’s obvious that Pat loves the same things we love about rural Iowa,” said Jane Hogue, who owns Prairie Pedlar with her husband, Jack. “We are thankful and thrilled that Pat captured both the spirit and beauty of the garden with her charming and distinctive style.”
Known as “the people’s artist,” Moss “speaks” a language that ordinary folks are able to understand. This level of achievement didn’t come easy for Moss, however.
Talent, determination, a little luck, and lots of caring are all parts of the Moss phenomenon.
Born in New York City in 1933, Moss was perceived as a poor student in grade school, a circumstance linked to her dyslexia. Nonetheless, one of her teachers determined that Moss was artistically gifted.
This outside opinion helped to convince Moss’ mother to enroll her daughter in Washington Irving High School for the Fine Arts, where she thrived.
In 1951, Moss received a scholarship to New York’s prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, where she studied for four years, specializing in fine arts and graphic design. Known for its intellectual rigor, the Cooper Union encouraged Moss to seek a more personal expression of her ideas through her art.
Intense study and discussions with professors and fellow students expanded her artistic horizons and gave birth to her unique style, which is freely expressive and often rich in religious symbolism.
After Moss married and started a family, she moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1964 with her husband and five children (with a sixth child on the way). Here she came to appreciate the quiet beauty of rural scenery and learn more about the Amish and Mennonite “plain” people.
She began incorporating these new elements into her art, which revitalized her career and reignited her ambitions.
“I still have goals”
After winning her first major art show in 1967, Moss began to gain widespread recognition. Honored by academics and collectors alike, Moss’ art is represented today in more than 200 galleries worldwide. In addition to creating new artwork, Moss also devotes a great deal of her time to helping others.
Donations of P. Buckley Moss art have raised more than $4 million dollars for various charities.
In 1995, the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education was formed to promote art in the classroom and help teach children with learning differences. The Foundation, which encourages the use of the visual and performing arts in all educational programs, also hosts an annual teachers’ conference and grants teacher and student awards.
In addition to supporting her charitable work, Moss continues to paint frequently. Creating “Bouquets of Love” was a pleasure for Moss, an avid gardener who is inspired by the many couples who have been married in the Prairie Pedlar’s gardens through the years.
“The Prairie Pedlar is full of love, and I love the people I’ve met in Iowa, because they are so down-to-Earth.”
Moss conveys her own down-to-Earth spirit when she speaks to high school and college students and encourages them to follow their dreams at any age. “I love getting up in the morning, going to work and pursuing my goals,” said Moss, who has homes in Virginia, Florida and Italy.
To refresh her creativity, Moss walks three miles a day and indulges in “junk buying” trips now and then. “I buy anything that strikes my fancy, and I’ve been interested in wooden furniture lately,” said Moss, a mother of six and grandmother of 10.
Moss is grateful that her artwork has been so well received in Iowa and looks forward to new projects.
“Why quit when you don’t have to? I find so much joy in my work,” she said, “and I never run out of ideas.”
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