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Spotlight Member Section featuring Pat Lontor

Tell us about you:

I grew up in a suburb, Bedford, about 15 miles from Cleveland, OH. My parents had a couple acres of land, so I grew up with horses, chickens, dogs and cats. I graduated from Bedford High School and then attended Ohio University in Athens, OH. That is where I met my husband. We were married and had our first daughter while we were still in college. We both worked for the University and Chuck had several other part time jobs.

Tell us about your history with Omaha Artists Inc:

I don’t remember the actual year I joined Omaha Artists. We moved to Omaha in November 1989, so it was probably around 1991 or 1992. I have chaired several committees in the past as well as being the president.

I like the fact that we have several art shows during the year which allows every member to get a chance to publicly show their art. Also, there are some lovely people with the same interests as mine that I have met throughout the years.

What I would recommend to a new member—get involved! That is the way you make friends and really enjoy the organization.

How did you get involved with the Joslyn Art Museum and your history with the Joslyn?

I have moved several times during my adult life. It is always easier to make friends when your children move with you. Omaha was the second move without children. They were young adults and of course did not want to move. I have always been involved with art, so I took a public tour at the Joslyn Art Museum and decided to become a docent. That was the Fall of 1990. Training was a lot different at that time. I was thrown in with the experienced docents from day one. It was very intimidating to say the least. There were no computers, but Joslyn had a wonderful library where I spent a lot of time studying. The first tour I gave was a special exhibition called “The Wanderers”. It was Russian art from the mid-1800s from Russia. Many of the famous Russian artists of the time were included. It was really a great exhibit. When I went to Russia, I went to the Russian Museum which was not on the tour itinerary and saw a lot of the art that had been at the Joslyn. My earliest friendships in Omaha were made through being a docent.

How did you get involved in art? What is your favorite medium?

I have always liked and been involved with art. My dad was a good artist and his sister, my aunt, had graduated from the Cleveland Art Institute. However, no one really encouraged me. I really became serious about painting when we were living in Baltimore.

My favorite medium is oil. I am a slow painter, oil dries slowly so it allows me to play with it. I have tried pottery and welding among others. I like both of them and learning the process helps a great deal in explaining a piece of artwork when I am giving a tour. I have also done photography.

What is a little-known fact about you?

I don’t know!!! Perhaps the fact that I was a Girl Scout all through school (2nd through 12th grades) Our troop stayed together for all of those years. Some great friendships were made. As we got older, we worked all year to go on a trip in the summer. We rented cottages on Lake Michigan, spent a week on Pelee Island in Lake Erie and went to a dude ranch in upstate NY among other trips. I became a Scout Leader for each of my daughters. A total of ten years. I will never sleep in a tent again!!!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am a collector—not a hoarder, a collector! It seems that I cannot have just one of anything. I collect art and antiques among other things. For years I have had an antique booth at Platte Valley Antiques.

What are your favorite televisions shows?

Actually, I do not watch much TV. However, I do love live plays and try to go to as many as possible.

What are your travel experiences?

I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. After my husband retired, we went to Europe several times, including to the 1994 Olympics in Norway. We also tried to get together, as a family one week a year in different places. I have been to Italy twice for an art workshop which was wonderful. In the states I have taken lessons in Cleveland, Baltimore and St. Louis when we lived there. And when we moved to Omaha, I took lessons here.

How do you stay motivated to paint – what inspires you? Do you have words of wisdom to share?

I have always tried to paint at least four to six hours a week, which is not much. I am trying to do better now that I am getting old-er and while I can still see and hold a brush! Portraits inspire me, I love portraits—both painting them and looking at other por-traits by other artists. My house is full of portraits! I have a group that meets in my basement one evening a week. We hire a model and paint from life. That inspires me. The age range is huge, but we have all become friends. Our art ties us together.

Words of wisdom – that is tough. My wisdom may not be someone else’s. However, just make time for yourself and your art. It is so easy to get caught up in something else and then regret that you have not done what you wanted. Time goes by quickly.

What are you known for?

I really don’t know.

What skills would you like to learn?

At my age I prefer to hone the skills I think I have.

Has anything or anyone changed your life?

My husband changed my life. Thanks to him and his job we moved, met new people, expanded our experiences, traveled and grew.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

“The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea”. – Isak Dinesen