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Lesley Pickering and Pat Jenkins with her ‘Water lilies’ painting

Pat Jenkins ‘Now and Then’ exhibition comes to Yamba

“I’ll be 88 in November” said the proud and chirpy voice of artist Pat Jenkins. The advantages of painting at age is you remember ‘learned information’ that can be used as inspiration.

The sun would have been there, so you look to where to add the light through the trees. You get used to seeing a picture in your mind gained through experience. You have to do a lot of it to experience painting and you never stop learning.” 

Pat referred to her Grandmother’s best recipes: “She didn’t follow a cookbook for those fabulous old favourites she knew from experience!”

You can watch Pat’s technique and chat to her about her current artworks as she will be working on a new painting in The Kirk every day during the exhibition – on some days she will be joined by friends.

Pat was a mathematics teacher of senior students. Helping her daughter with art in the late 1970s reminded her of her great passion during her own high school years. The next year she had a painting in the Wynne Prize exhibition, Art Gallery of NSW. Since then, all art no maths. Her ability to create the illusion of light and her portraiture accomplishments has gained her an enviable reputation.

“The talent is being able to interpret what you are looking at, then practise, practise, practise. It takes a long time for the eyes to acquire the ability of creating composition. Eyes are painting all the time, looking for a story when looking at a scene. Eyes become very understanding. The older I get the harder it is as I understand things so much better. It’s a pity we kick the bucket when we finally start to get it!”

Pat’s work tells a story about a place, the dirt under your feet and grass; you get to have an understanding of the places. Places are touchie/feelie.

“There is a certain way of using space in art, special places that don’t want to be in a line – they need to be higher or lower. You are looking at 3 or 4 things that are special in that painting. It’s all an experiment. Rain changes things in the bush to lovely warm browns and the light bounces off here and there.”

Pat had painted a lot of portraiture in oils and acrylics but became ill and after a long sabbatical had to shake herself and tried something else. She loves charcoal – “pencil charcoal is an interesting medium, using a stick of charcoal and a rubber gives great effects.” Asked if she had a favourite medium – “the one I am using at the time!”.

Pat Jenkins’ Exhibition “Now and Then” will be at the Old Kirk at Yamba Museum from Saturday September 26 to Saturday October 31.


Yamba Museum opening times:

Tuesday and Wednesday 10am to 1pm and Saturday from 1pm to 4pm.  

Admission: $5 (Members free).


by Gai Pritchett