Artist: Pat Jeffers,
Full Circle – Abstract Art

Pat Jeffers, abstract artist

[September 2021. By Kathryn R. Burke]

What do baskets and abstract art have in common? Lots, if you’re Pat Jeffers. One day, in her “back east” past, Pat and her husband, Jack, were attending an arts and crafts fair in Greensboro, North Carolina where he, a fine art photographer, was showing his work. Pat, then a university administrator at a university in Virginia, and PhD candidate, wandered over to a nearby both to watch a man making baskets.

And her world changed. “I was mesmerized,” she said. “The colors, the shapes, the texture of the materials. Watching him work, I decided to quit my university job and learn to make baskets.” Which she did, and before long, she was creating her own designs and showing her work in arts and craft shows along the east coast. “We did 12 shows a year, spring and fall up to Christmas.”

Her world changed again when the Jeffers moved west, settling in Lander, Wyoming, where Pat continued her basketry. Before long, her work was carried in galleries from Vermont to California. During that time, she also began painting. “It started, mostly as a hobby, she said “mainly I wanted to learn more about color.“ (Pat’s baskets are noted for her use of color.) At first her paintings were representational, but that would soon change.

The Jeffers next move was to Montrose Colorado, where Pat discovered abstract art. She  attended a workshop at the art center in Grand Junction, taught by Gregory Botts, a renowned abstract painter. “He grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” she explained. “Painted with the abstract masters, like Rothko, Marsden Hartley, and Ernst. I loved what he was teaching us! And, I said to myself, ‘I’m done with representation. I’m going all out for abstraction.’”

And so… another substantial life change. (The fourth big one, if you have been counting. For most of us, one epiphany, maybe two, is exceptional. For Pat, life changes seem to fall into a comfortable and timely pattern—right move; right time.)

The transition to abstract art was a struggle. “There was a lot of trial and error,” she said. “I learned a lot along the way.”  And what was developing for Pat came from her background in basketry. “A lot of the colors and delineated shapes I use, grew out of weavings.” The circles? “Basket bottoms.” The fan shapes? “Where the reeds start to spread out.” The long, flexible or curved lines? “Reeds (or weavers).” The colors? “Colors of the dyes I used.” The finished painting? “I often begin the design with the placement of circles just as a basket bottom would begin, then weave the painting from there with the shapes and colors reminiscent of my baskets.”

Her most recent endeavor is what Pat calls Poetic Landscapes. Her insight: “Abstract art can be expressed as a Poetic Landscape, a study of contrast, of dark and light shapes. I like to think of it as just ‘dressed up landscape.’ The thing about abstract art…you never reach a stopping point. Your art is always developing.”

Pat Jeffreys has defined her own style of abstract art, “a way of expressing what is uniquely me.” She’s come full circle, from round-bottomed basketry to abstract painting begun with circle. Explore and enjoy her work at Montrose Center for the Arts in September, where her solo show will hang all month. Meet her and hear more of her unique story at the opening reception, Friday, September 3rd.

Pat has taught numerous basketry and painting workshops throughout the West and is teaching a 2-day workshop at MCA, Abstraction 101, The Key to Better Representational Paintings.  The workshop takes place Thursday and Friday from 9:30 am to 4 pm both days.

Images of her work are available on her website: