Pat McDannel, Secretary
My first formal instruction in art came about during my senior year in high school and I was hooked. I graduated from Edinboro University (then Edinboro State Teachers College) with a BS in Art Education and took my first teaching job in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The job only lasted six months because I was pregnant and in the 50’s most school districts did not want to have their students exposed to pregnant women.
My family grew rapidly; I had 4 babies in 7 years so for me teaching was not practical. In the late 60’s, I taught in Penns Valley School District for 2 years. We then moved to DuBois where my husband was an administrator in the DuBois Area School District. There were no teaching jobs available in art, but a group of young mothers were looking to start a pre-school program. It was a first for the area. I had been thinking along those lines myself, so I was delighted to be responsible for creating a program for 3 and 4 year olds, which I named PAINT and PLAY SCHOOL. I was teacher/director there until we moved to Philipsburg. Shortly after we arrived, the YMCA was looking to set up a similar program, so I did theirs, also. After 11 years, I decided to move on and went to work for the Centre County Office of Aging where I was a senior center director for 4 years and then moved into program director at the main office in Bellefonte.
My degree in Art Education provided a good background for all my work-related accomplishments, but painting skills had to be developed on my own.
When I lived in Philipsburg, I worked with Chuck Hall of Coburn in oil and pastel and developed some watercolor skills on my own.
After I retired in the early 90’s, I began painting seriously. That is not to say I had ever ignored my creative side. Over the years I had become an accomplished seamstress and loved creating in the kitchen and decorating my home.
When I became a member of Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society, I was able to take advantage of the expert instructors who have been provided to us through this great organization. The interactions with members of this group continue to provide inspiration and motivation.
I now live in Du Bois, Pennsylvania in a lovely retirement village where I have my own cottage which includes a studio. I have freedom to paint, read, create or just enjoy my family and the beautiful countryside that Pennsylvania presents season after season