Local artist Patricia Hobson has returned to painting after a several-year hiatus due to her health. Hobson is well known in the area for her artwork, which features scenes from around Yadkin County and beyond. Her newest work being released as a print is of Garner’s Gas Station in the Brooks Crossroads community of Yadkin County.
Hobson said a friend suggested she paint the store as it represents a time gone by and so many people are familiar with the store. She said she called owner Tommy Garner to ask his permission to paint the property and he was thrilled at the prospect. He had a photo of the store that dated back to 1957, which Hobson used for the inspiration of the painting. She added in a few of her own imaginative touches such as a red Thunderbird and a pick-up truck with a dog in the bed.
After so many years without being able to paint due to chronic back pain, being able to work on this new painting was very exciting, Hobson said. When the work was completed and she showed it to Garner, he loved it. Hobson said he was very emotional at seeing the painting and laughed with joy.
“Nothing makes you feel better than having somebody feel that emotional about something you’ve done,” she said.
Hobson first began painting as a career in the mid-1980s. Despite having no formal art training, she quickly took to painting and never looked back. She has painted numerous works over the years and has loyal collectors of her prints locally and in other states as well.
Hobson said she began having severe pain in her back several years ago that sidelined her from her artwork and many other activities she once loved. The pain was so bad that it prevented her from being able to sit long enough to complete a painting and she was forced to put her passion for painting on hold. Hobson’s back problems became even worse after a strep infection that required a lengthy hospital stay in 2009 followed by reconstructive surgery on her spine.
“I couldn’t even sit up on the edge of the bed,” Hobson said of how she felt at the start of her back problems. “Then I got to where I couldn’t stand at all. I was just laying in the bed.”
She can now walk slowly across a room with assistance of a walker, and she primarily uses a wheelchair to get around. Prior to her injury, Hobson said she was a very active person on the farm where she lives with her husband, Felix.
“For an active person, that really hit me mentally,” Hobson said. “It’s like all of a sudden I can’t go out and work beside my husband on the farm. I can’t enjoy the animals like I used to. It took me a very long time before I could sit long enough to be able to paint anything.”
Despite these challenges, Hobson said it was her husband who encouraged her to get back to her painting.
“If it wasn’t for Felix, I’d probably still be moping and hiding from the world. He said, ‘Honey, the happiest you are in life is when you’re painting and sculpting and creating things,’” she said.
Her faith and the support of her husband have helped her through her difficult journey, she said, and she wants her story to offer hope to others facing life challenges.
“My advice to others who are stricken with disabilities or other life-changing events, such as divorce, death in the family, etc., is that to get over these bumps in the road of life, one must dwell on the positive,” Hobson said. “Don’t think of what you can’t do, but what you can still do to make your life meaningful. I know that I will never walk again as I once did or wear high heels — I truly love pretty shoes. Nor, will I be able to ride our horses.
“From the waist up I am as good as I ever was, perhaps better. My painting and other artistic endeavors are still a huge joy in my life. And, in my opinion, I am better than before my illness. Always think of the glass being half full, not half empty. Bad things do happen to good people, it’s a test of your faith. After all, the Bible says that God never gives you a burden you cannot bear. So, look at it as a learning experience. Ask yourself, ‘What am I supposed to be learning from this experience?’”
Though she said she still struggles with pain, she has found a new normal and a way to continue getting the most out of life by giving her all in her art.
“Don’t give up, that’s the thing. You can’t give up,” she said. Hobson said when she starts to feel down in the dumps, she gives herself a little pep talk.
“Prayer helps a lot,” she added.
In addition to the painting of Garner’s Store, she also has recently completed a work featuring brightly-colored mailboxes covered in fishing nets and buoys on a street in Key West, Florida. She hopes to make prints of those available for purchase in the near future.
She also has several other prints that feature historic landmarks around the Yadkin Valley. The old Yadkinville courthouse, the former low-water bridge at Rockford and the old Chatham Bridge between Elkin and Jonesville are just a few of the local landmarks she has captured on canvas.
She is taking orders via her website, www.patriciahobson.com, for the new print of Garner’s Store.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.