Patricia Rhoden. Photo by John Bailey.

BY BARB BERGGOETZ

As a child, when Patricia Rhoden would run out of paper to draw on, she’d use pages in the telephone book. In high school, she arrived an hour early to take algebra so she could fit an art class into her schedule.

Ever since, the Nashville, Indiana, painter’s love of art and her talent have flourished.

After 37 years as an art teacher, mostly at Brown County schools, Rhoden, 65, retired in 2013. She now spends most days creating oil and acrylic paintings in her Nashville studio at 2510 Ind. 135 South.

“I find joy in painting,” Rhoden says. “It’s my emotional outlet. I can’t even say how many paintings I do in a year. I’m a very prolific artist because I’m constantly painting.”

Her hard work has won her much acclaim.

Rhoden, whose married name is Bartels, was chosen as an outstanding landscape artist at Hoosier Salon, a statewide juried art show in Indianapolis, in 2014 and 2015. She has painted several anti-war and dignity-in-death paintings, expressing her beliefs through art. Rhoden’s artwork is permanently exhibited in the Indiana State Museum, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.

Her paintings stand apart from the work of many artists because of her gold- and silverleaf ornate technique, a version of which she learned from the late Nashville painter Frederick Rigley. “It gives me something that’s quite unique,” says Rhoden, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Toledo and an M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University.

While much of her work is considered impressionistic, Rhoden says, she doesn’t like being pigeon-holed. “There are times when I become very abstract in my style and times when I get tighter or more realistic,” she says.

In Bloomington, her art is displayed at The Venue Fine Art & Gifts, and in Nashville at Iris Garden Gallery, Brown County Art Guild, and eXplore Brown County at Valley Branch Retreat.