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Pat Caldwell

My grandmother, an elegant and creative woman, went through a remarkable transformation late in her life. I hadn’t realized that she had only started working as an artist in her 60s, a late bloom of remarkable talent, one that seemed, as I pieced together what happened to her, to blossom through an evolving philosophy of being—one that encouraged freedom of mind and heart, of artistic exploration, and of self expression. Overcoming deep tragedy in her life, she flourished rather than withered, dedicating her life to the best of the human spirit, releasing the dark sides of the challenges that fell upon her.


At her passing, at some age in her mid-90s, she had people lined up to purchase her next painting, sight unseen. She drew people in with her vibrant spirit, which played out in the forms and brilliant colors on the canvases—people of all ages, including, in her broad social circles, college students who routinely came to visit, attracted to her eternal youthfulness. She held court for all, a strong, yet gracious, a large, yet shimmering personality that seemed to pour out of her when her smile lit up the room.


I believe her freedom and intimacy with her art went to the edges of my mind, a willingness to slip easily beyond traditional definitions or styles or techniques, and to inhabit the source of her own visions, a highly personal space deep in her creativity.