An array of animal-themed works by local artist and teacher Patricia "Patty" Passick are on display at the Stonehedge Gardens in South Tamaqua.

"I paint animals with gratitude for all they give us and in celebration of the deep unspoken bond that is possible in our human-animal relationships," said Passick. "My portraits are not meant to be realistic renderings but rather a representation of those qualities that each animal has come to symbolize. In my paintings I strive to give my subjects their own sense of peace and dignity."

"While I have an extensive background in ceramics, I have always, deep down, wanted to be a painter," said Passick. "The class was a gift that I gave to myself… Sometimes, regardless of age or circumstances, we have to have the courage to follow our dreams."

Passick received a Bachelors of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics from Slippery Rock University in 1979. While there, she was awarded the university's Art Faculty Award and was employed as a ceramic studio proctor.

After graduation, she pursued her ceramics in her own studio and as a production potter at Vickers's Tavern in Exton. At this historical tavern, which was a safe house for the Underground Railroad, Passick worked on the potter's wheel in the view of the public, creating pottery for both the tavern's use and customer purchase.

Patty lived in Tucson, Arizona for five years in the 1980's and took graduate ceramic classes at the University of Arizona.

After moving back to Pennsylvania, Passick continued to focus on her art work at the Baum School of Art. This contact led to her to connect with Salisbury High School's Visiting Artist Program, where for nine years she taught all aspects of the school's clay unit.

In 2004, Passick completed her pursuit of an Art Education Certificate from Kutztown University. During her studies, she student taught at both Binney and Smith (now Crayola) and The Crayola Factory along with a secondary level assignment at Parkland High School.

Passick said she has had the pleasure of teaching art at both Palmerton Middle School and Lehighton High School as a long-term art substitute. She currently teaches art at Saint John Neumann Regional School and is an assistant activity aide at The Village at Palmerton.

She has shown her works in a variety of venues across the United States. In 1997 Passick's paintings and ceramics were exhibited at the Palmerton Library during a show combining art works and books entitled, A Childhood Revisited. Her ceramic heart sculptures were shown at Ahlum Gallery in Easton Pa, during a national juried show benefiting The American Heart Association. Her ceramic beds have been featured in holiday window displays and designer showcases homes in both Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Passick currently teaches clay classes to children and adults at Stonehedge Gardens.

The paintings on display, some of which include a moon, pig, pony, and parrot were painted ten years ago and were in a solo art show she had at the Palmerton Library. The show called A Childhood Revisited was in conjunction with Read Across America and included over 35 paintings and ceramic pieces.

She stated the gallery was also done in memory of Aramis, her beloved pet dog of 13 years, who passed away this year.

The gallery's hours are Friday to Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. with the garden open to the public 24 hours.

For more information about the gardens, located at 51 Dairy Road, visit them on Facebook or via www.stonehedgegardens.org.