Our People: Animal art traction

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CMI staff photo: Emily Crowe
Patsy Delk paints a statue that now sits at the Hillcrest Park Zoo.

Though Patsy Delk is active in the Clovis community, recognition of her art might proceed her from time to time.

A former art teacher and an accomplished artist in her own right, Delk is the woman behind the painted Jersey cows that stand around town as part of 2009’s Curry County centennial celebration. Her work also hangs in the Xpress Care medical clinic and at Clovis Christian School.

Most recently, Delk, 57, painted several animal statues and benches that now sit at the Hillcrest Park Zoo in Clovis.

 

How did you get your start in teaching? I started out in art with Clovis schools. I worked there for six years, but I wasn’t an art teacher there. I was an educational assistant and that’s how I got started. I knew that was my niche because I liked to help teach.

After that I got a phone call from Chuck Glikas and he said they were needing an art teacher at the Clovis Christian School. So that was in February 1997, and I was hired that day. I just retired after 16 years.

 

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Courtesy photo
Patsy Delk and her husband Lee, who have been married nearly 40 years, vacationed in Florence, Ala., this past summer.

What can you tell us about your art? I do commissions. I do murals. I started this project with the city of Clovis zoo project. I had went to the committee that does the beautification and I had this idea and I presented it to them and they liked it. And so they told me to go with it and I did and it’s been wonderful.

People here in Clovis have been really sweet about it, very interested, so I’ve been very happy about that. I teach private lessons in my home, I have always done that since 1978.

 

What was your childhood in Clovis like? My dad was stationed out here at Cannon Air Force Base, and that’s where I was born. My dad is a signed painter in advertising, and my mother was a seamstress and she liked to sew and make clothes. She made our clothes when we were growing up.

My dad would do billboards on the highway, and back in those days they were all done by hand. So he kind of taught me the trade of painting. Then my mother, I would help her at home with her sewing kits and she would show me how to make things. So I kind of had both worlds there.

I wasn’t interested in art in high school, I was a gymnast. Art was the furthest thing from my mind. I was a gymnast at Marshall Middle School and Clovis High School and I loved that.

 

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Courtesy photo
Delk poses with her first granddaughter, Kylee Nicole, who is now 7 years old.

What was your first date with your husband? I met Lee April 19, 1971. Our first date was at Twin Cronnies and, as a matter of fact, I still have Coke cups from Twin Cronnies. I always wrote the dates on the bottom of the cups and stick them in my closet. I was only allowed to be with him for about 30 minutes, because Lee is a little bit older than me. I had a Cherry Coke and he had a Dr Pepper.

 

Who has been your greatest inspiration? I would probably say Lee, my husband. And my mother. It’s hard to pick between those two, but they’ve both been my inspiration. And I’m very faith based, so I look to God for a lot of things.

 

What are your favorite parts about being a mother and grandmother? I guess spending quality time, watching them grow, spending time with them at Christmas gatherings, birthdays and Easter. Just watching them grow and watching them blossom.

 

What is your dream vacation? I would like to go to Jamaica. A cruise. Lee and I will be married 40 years June 1, and so I would like to go to Jamaica.

What is your perfect meal? Steak, potato and a salad. Make it simple.

— Compiled by CMI staff writer Emily Crowe and edited for length and clarity.

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