Artistic gene prominent in a Kennedy

Maya Angelou said, “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one

 is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue

 with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

"Grandpa's Tool Shed" etching 6"x4" by Pat Pancake

     Patricia Kennedy-Pancake’s mother, Almeda [Stout] [1885-1974] was like every other woman during the wee early 1900s:  a dedicated wife, a culinary artist in the kitchen as well as a manufacturer of food products, a nurse and teacher to a growing family, a designer and a maker of clothing, an interior stylist that show-placed those scanty early collection of artworks, and an in-home public relations specialist that offered her guests an abundance of warm hospitality. Needless to say, artist Pat Pancake said she only knew her maternal fortress by only one name, “Mom.”

     On the other hand, her father, Howard [1874-1957] first began a career path as an engineer on the railroad. Of course, his creativity surfaced when he made a metal suitcase for himself. His fellow associates found his invention applicable to what they wanted to protect their clothing from the rigors of railroad travel. Soon they were asking to purchase, that led to his self-employment and the founding of Kennedy Manufacturing, a company that has withstood not only those early struggling years, the depression, steel rationing, growth pains from automation, and global competition remains today a company deep-rooted in Van Wert County, Ohio.

     As the baby in a family of eight, and also a twenty-year age span between her oldest sister, Francis whose artistic skills excelled in ceramics, Mrs. Pancake recalls “Sis was a strong influence. In my childhood, I would doodle and sketch for long periods of time.” she said. However, her artistic nature was stalled because of an array of other school activities, educational pursuits in her youth, and then marriage plus five children. “When my children got older, through Sis’s encouragement, I took up ceramics and china painting,” she said.  Although she faithfully believes “what a person can do, they must do. Timing and what rung of the life-stage ladder you are on set the course,” she added.

     Eventually, when her parental responsibilities lessen, her doorway to fulfill her creative void opened. Initially, she joined the Wassenberg Art Center in the early 70s, and began passionately taking all the workshops offered. Thusly, her yearn for more knowledge did not stop; in fact, she studied oil painting and drawing at Indiana University. Pat’s educational pursuits continued at St. Francis College where she took up watercolor and delved in more drawing classes. Also, she has taken workshops taught by Tony Couch in watercolor, Juliet Cole of Los Angeles in Mono printing, Lino and Etch printing at Defiance College, and completed a Pastel study in Chautauqua, New York. Of all her teachers, Frank Liljegren, a highly-visible professional artist and educator, formerly from New York City, now Van Wert “was the most influential in my art studies,” she said.

     Over the years, the artist has won numerous awards from Honorable Mention to Best In Show from around her Ohio-Indiana roots. Although, she uses chooses various mediums to illustrate certain subject matters, viewers have described the artist’s pastels and watercolors paintings to ‘explode with tranquility, a comfortable place of being, just enough contrasting colorful detail that warms the heart while fulfilling an artistic eye. Pat said, “It is very relaxing, and there is nothing more satisfying than creating my own good composition.” As the old cliché goes, “the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree,” and it was several years ago, Pat worked with her daughter, Patti Keister in their studio. Mother Pancake taught drawing and pastel techniques, while as she puts it, “the apple” instructed a gambit of art classes ranging in drawing, fabric printing, knitting, felting, and silk painting.  Besides her flare with the brush, “Pat can also tickle the ivory and create those sweet sounds,” said her husband Kenneth of 60 years at the time of this interview in 2006. For many years, she has not only taught piano and organ, but also has graciously volunteered her talents to her church.

     Inheritance cannot always be measured in dollars and cents; moreover, when we come to realize what we have in common with our biological creators. Patricia Pancake-Kennedy offers solid proof on how we go about using them to keep the genetic chain-of-life flourishing.

By Ben Rayman

original print published 2005

Published by on March 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Cover Section, Paint Box Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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