Pat Baker

I was a visual artist with promise by the time I left my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario to attend the Ottawa Civic Hospital School of Nursing in August of 1969.

My emergence from that summer of ’69 was accompanied by a much clearer understanding of where I was going and what I needed to do to get there.

A year earlier I had been accepted into the Ontario College of Art, an accomplishment that had been a lifetime in the making but one that would never be realized.

My identity was written all over it, my dreams an integral part of the experience even though I wouldn’t attend the esteemed post secondary institution, I had made my mark by being accepted into it.

My dad didn’t want me to go to art school. “Go into something where you can support yourself and go to art school after,” he said.

I went into nursing and have enjoyed over four decades in this dynamic profession, one which has been intertwined with my artistic endeavours right from the start.

I am a featured writer and columnist with the Sault Star and will be assuming the writer/editor role for the Retirees Newsletter at Sault Area Hospital later this summer. Brushstroke Medicine, my monthly column relates to how all artistic disciplines have favourable effects on patient care outcomes.

It is also medicinal for caregivers and nurses to use their art to heal themselves. In addition to being a published writer, I am a visual artist who specializes in painting, acrylic on canvas, pastel and charcoal.

My work involves landscape, still life, portrait, wildlife and sometimes abstract when the mood strikes.

My fine art leatherworks can be worn or hung on the wall. I use new garment leather that I cut into patterns.

I embroider and create beadwork designs in more of an abstract orientation which tell a story.

In fact I have won the Harriet Black Ward for Best of Show in Festival of the Arts twice for these leatherwork creations.

One named “Sundance and Shadowhunter took second in a juried exhibition at the Timmins Exhibition Centre.

A pastel drawing entitled Freedom Native Pride took second at FOTA and I have been accepted to show at Alberta House in Sault Michigan in several of their juried exhibitions.

I also had a solo there as well, along with photographer Bill Slingsby.

I enter Art at the Dock, Art in the Park, Garden Festival at New North Greenhouses and am a member of the Arts council of Sault Ste. Marie and District, Algoma Art Society, Batchawana Bay Art Guild, Art by Nurses and Northern Ontario Art Association.

Next year I plan on entering Art on the Bay, Voyageurs’ Lodge and Cookhouse.

My work is presently on display at The Artist's Alcove on Queen Street in Sault Ste. Marie, the NOAA and Art by Nurses websites, as well as Healing Hallway InspireHealth Integrative Cancer Care in Kelowna B.C.

For the last two years I participated in an Art by Nurses Group exhibit at the Cancer Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria B.C.

My volunteer work in the arts include a two year term on the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Sault Ste. Marie and District, Art and Wellness Committee at Sault Area Hospital, Past President, Algoma Art Society.

The inspiration for my work has been my surroundings and the people. I have been going up to Lake Superior most of my life and times spent with the Big Lake reflect both the spirit and inherently diverse nature she possesses.

Superior has as many personalities as she has faces and some are not that easy to get along with especially when she’s dancing on the wild side. On any given day she can wreak havoc one minute and bring peaceful tranquility the next. It is this unpredictability that makes her so captivating.

My home town of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario sits at the hub of the Great Lakes, a century’s old historical gathering place for First Nations and the site where Superior feeds the other four lakes.

They call her Gitchigumi or great water and while she has always been steeped in mystery, she has inspired generations for thousands of years.

Storytellers, painters, poets, have reflected on her spirit to create masterpieces.

Sailors, fishers, explorers have looked her in the face for direction, not always finding it.

I have lived, sat and slept beside her finding all of the above and more, because The Big Lake Says-Come In.

Sault Star article on Pat's art studio, Aug. 2016, written by Pat Baker:

Support and Resources

City of Sault Ste. Marie Station Mall Sault Area Arts Council Art Gallery of Algoma Northern Ontario Arts Association Arts Council of Sault Ste Marie