Artist P. Buckley Moss (r) addresses St. Petersburg College
If P. Buckley Moss carries a banner in life, the spunky, plucky and at times irreverent 79-year-old will tell you she’s too busy pursuing her passions to consider slowing down.
Often referred to as “The People’s Artist,” a moniker given her by Charles Kuralt when interviewed on his long running CBS Sunday Morning series, P. Buckley Moss is as prolific in her paintings as she is passionate about promoting education.
Addressing a group at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater, FL campus library last week, P. Buckley Moss took on the subject of learning outside the classroom - boldly.
The child previously referred to as “dumb” and “stupid” because Dyslexia kept her from learning to read is today an avid reader – by audio. She’s also had her paintings sold in 200 galleries and raised more than $4 million for charities across the US while promoting the integration of art into educational programs with a focus on teaching children with learning differences.
Pat Buckley’s advice to her St. Petersburg College’s audience was as practical in application as it was reflective of a powerful, if not pint-sized, personality:
“You have to have a passion for your work in this life,“ the artist stressed. “You have to have a passion for everything you do. Then you’ll do it well.”
Speaking of career choices, she was just as adamant. “The direction we take is more important than our ego. Don’t take a job because of big money, big name, etc. Take a job you love, one that makes you happy – including delivering the mail.”
“If you wish to accomplish something you must expect it of yourself. Believe in yourself, even if others don’t.” This was advice she lived by, even while working her way through NY’s Cooper Union and selling early paintings to help pay for things like children’s dentist bills.
“Be an optimist,” she urged.
She is, and a busy one. As master of her own profession, Pat often paints from midnight till 7:30 in the morning. She’ll take a morning walk with friends, sleep for a few hours and arise refreshed for more.
Admitting that she’s better at painting food than cooking it, she’s also involved with maintaining a number of homes – a St. Petersburg, FL contemporary; a restored apple crating barn in Virginia; and a few homes in Cortona, Italy where a daughter teaches and resides. A mother of 6 and grandmom to 10, she’s arranging to take the entire family to Turkey and Greece next year in celebration of her 80th birthday.
The P. Buckley Moss Museum in Waynesboro, VA plays host to nearly 45,000 visitors per year. But if you’re looking to view the artist’s work nearby, catch it at her St. Petersburg, FL gallery by the same name.
Just don’t expect to find her sitting around waiting for you. Last I heard, she was busy packing for a 4-city tour.
“Some people succeed in spite of disability. I believe I thrive because of mine.” - P. Buckley Moss