“I saw a movie and it was about you – like you, Kristy!” That’s what Patti said to me in December, referring to the Canadian movie, One Week. I had just told her I would be unemployed soon and planned to wander further west, to see if I can find “home” for me. She added, “You know, for me, home has always been where we (she and her husband, Jeff) are in the moment. Sometimes we were in an RV in the Arizona desert and that was home.” Then she smiled and with a lot of enthusiasm, said, “How exciting! You will travel to exciting places and meet new people and make more friends!”
It was almost as though Patti was reading Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss to me and for me. She wasn’t. This was just how she was – encouraging me all the time.
Patti Lewis is a very talented artist who has traveled across the country and beyond painting murals. She’s done this for over 30 years, but not before she got married, raised a family, and left her husband. After leaving him, she found herself working for the first time in her life in Newport Beach, California. As a waitress in a diner, she told me she thought about how the people working there and the regulars seemed to have been there forever. She didn’t want to be like that, she wanted more.
She had a dream to have a better life, travel, and pursue art. This led to her applying and interviewing for a job painting murals. The other artists had portfolios. Going on intuition and without a portfolio, Patti simply unrolled a canvas on the floor as her sample of work. She was hired and began working and traveling with two other artists who taught her the art of mural painting.
There are so many things that I love about Patti, but mostly I love her spiritual nature and the real “art of living” that she’s mastered. She’s been through tough economic times as well as very prosperous ones and it’s her faith that keeps her strong. Part of her “art” in living life is her to reach for the positive spin on everything.
Last January, on my way to a “wanderabout” to California, I stopped by her studio in Virgin, Utah to see the progress on a horse racing mural she was painting for South Pointe Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. After we talked for a bit, I asked if I could take some photos and video, explaining that I didn’t know why, but just felt the need to do it. Patti agreed.
Almost a year later, while working as the interim director of tourism for Kane County, Utah, I was asked if I knew the artist who painted on Ramsey’s in Mt. Carmel, which was Patti. When I approached her about the project, she told me that was why I had the need to take the photos and video nine months earlier – it was connected to this mural project.
I had the same thought. Another reason I love being around Patti – I think like she does. She’s a kindred spirit, which goes back to my conversation with Michele about a community of kindred spirits.
Before leaving Utah, Patti and I talked about my upcoming trip. She encouraged me to continue to be open to opportunities and people, just like the man in One Week. Then she shared with me a story about a young man she met in Las Vegas at a coffee shop. By the way, I think coffee shops can be vortexes for opportunities to meet people. The man started a conversation with her, which led to her sharing that she had a meeting at South Pointe Casino with the owner. He told her that he had been trying to meet with them about an oil recycling program and asked if she would try to get him an introduction. She hesitated, but agreed.
Patti took this stranger along with her to the casino. He waited outside while the owner met with her. The meeting ended with her being proposal being turned down, but she kept her promise and took the young man to meet the restaurant manager. When they got there and after introductions were made, the manager told her that he needed the restaurant mural and made arrangements for her to meet again with the owner. This time he asked her, “How much will it cost me?” “How much was the last mural you did?” followed with, “I will have a check cut for you.”
She told me that the point of her story was that had she not been open to the conversation in the coffee shop and agreeing to help him with an introduction, she would not have gotten that job. Patti told me the same goes for me in my life, that I need to continue what I’m doing – traveling, moving along, and meeting new people and being open to opportunities that come my way as a result of wandering west, that I will find my purpose along my path, or that the path itself is it.
Patti’s a storyteller, for sure. Another thing I love about her and that we share.
It will be exciting for me to return to the Zion area to not only see friends and family, but to see the mural Patti has been painting. Another thing we share is the belief that when we do what we love, we actually put that energy – the energy of love, into what we do. She is painting two sides of the tourism office, “blanketing” with murals painted with love.
How magical is that?