Patricia Graham Arrott died
peacefully and quickly in Vancouver
General Hospital at dawn on March 9,
2016. Patricia returned to Vancouver
in the summer of 2014 after living in
Washington, DC for five years upon
retiring from her teaching of drawing
at the Arts Students League in New
York City. After raising four children
in Pittsburgh, Dearborn and West
Vancouver, Patricia studied at the
League and the National Academy of
Design.
Patsy (1931-2016)
Robert Beverly Hale taught her anatomy. She studied with Harvey Dinnerstein and
Burton Silverman. She liked New York so much that it became the center of her
life, drawing as many as 10 hours per day, seven days per week for 30 years living
in the Rockefeller Apartments on W 55th Street, returning to Vancouver in the
summer time where she had a circle of friends all devoted to the study of the
head. Patricia specialized in the use of the line and mastered the art of silver point
drawing. A revered instructor once poked his head into her class room and
announced that "Ingres lives"
comparing her to the master of all
masters of portraiture. His opinion
was supported by many prizes and
the popularity of her exhibitions.
Her Portrait of a Young Man from a
traveling exhibition on Silverpoint
was later reproduced in a book on
the same page with a Leonardo da
Vinci and a Kathe Kollwitz as three
examples of drawing the head.
Trained in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum and the College of Fine Arts of the
Carnegie Institute of Technology, Patricia majored in Art Education, learning
Crafts as well as Painting and Design. On moving to Canada in 1968, Patricia
taught at Handicraft House in North Vancouver before taking up drawing in the
Courts of Vancouver. The many important trials she documented included the
extradition of Leonard Peltier. For four decades she drew the inhabitants of the
Downtown East Side at the Carnegie Centre in Vancouver. In the early 1990's at
height of the AIDS epidemic she made drawings at the Gay Men's Health Crisis
Center in New York of many men none of which would live long enough for the
advent of successful treatments. Patricia made reproductions of these drawings
for the AIDS victims to give to their family and friends. Often alienated from their
parents, the young men relished the empathy shown by a member of an older
generation. The collection of these portraits is of historical as well of artistic note.
She made exquisite drawing of babies, especially, using Conte crayon. In the early
2000's, Patricia studied cadavers and autopsies with an exhibition "On Drawing
from Death" at Minerva Durham’s Spring Studio. Her portraiture was exhibited in
the Centenary of the College of Fine Arts along with works of Philip Pearlstein and
Andy Warhol.
Patricia's parents were George Patterson Graham and Helen Gilleland who met at
the University of Pittsburgh. Their families had roots in Butler County at the
beginning of the 19th Century. Helen Gilleland was a descendant of Priscilla
Mullins, John Alden and Miles Standish. Helen’s father, the architect Walter
Hamilton Gilleland, was a first cousin of Martha Graham. Patricia's brother
George Patterson Graham Jr. retired recently as Professor of Mathematics at
Indiana State University. In 1953
Patricia married Anthony Schuyler
Arrott, now Professor Emeritus of
Physics at Simon Fraser University.
Her first child Anthony Patterson
Arrott was born six weeks before she
and her husband received degrees in
1954 from what is now Carnegie
Mellon University.
By 1964, when the family stayed in
England, the children included Helen Graham Arrott, Matthew Ramsey Arrott and
Elizabeth Arrott. At three, Elizabeth was enrolled in the Pickly Wizard nursery
school at Queen's College while Patricia went to the Ashmolean Museum where
she could hold in her hands many of the greatest pencil drawings. Later she would
gain access as a scholar to the undisplayed acquisitions of major museums worldwide to supplement her encyclopedic knowledge of the use of the line in Art
The next generation includes Crystal Williams, Noele Lamarche (Benjamin),
Timothy Arrott, Michael Davies Wilson (Valerie), Jessica Arrott, Rachael Arrott,
Alyosha Ekimian, Lily Ekimian, and Katya Ekimian. Connor Michael Lamarche, Finn
Jude Lamarche and Aaron David Wilson are the beginning of a new generation.
They all see their Nana immortalized as the Sorceress in Paul O. Zelinski's prize
winning presentation of Rapunzel.
Patricia Graham Arrott was a member of the Mayflower Society and the
Daughters of the American Revolution. She served as Women's Vice President and
a member of the Board of Control of the Arts Students League.
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Patricia Graham Arrott died peacefully and quickly in Vancouver