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Delafield Neighbors

Patty Muchka Adds Charm and Personality to Local Homes

Jul 23, 2014 07:31PM ● By Laura Ustanovska
One of Patty Muchka's first memories is of receiving a large coloring book and box of 64 crayons, thus beginning a life-long love affair with color, art and creativity. Although this resident of Oconomowoc started her own business, Patty Muchka Hand Painted Designs, 18 years ago, Patty has had a paintbrush in hand for much longer. “One of my very earliest memories is of going to a Christmas party when I was about 5 or 6,” recalls Patty. “All of the children received gifts, and mine was an oil paint by number set. Somehow the smell of the turpentine and oil paints was familiar to me, and I loved it!”

Life became busy, and Patty had little time to pursue her hobby. About 40 years ago, she was a stay-at-home mom with young children, antsy to get out of the house, when she read Milwaukee Area Technical College was offering a night class in Norwegian rosemaling. The smell of the oil paints and turpentine took her back to her childhood and revived the desire to express her artistic side.

Oil paints were too messy to have around her children, so Patty ventured into watercolors, painting the same flowers she had grown to love in the rosemaling class. For years Patty would participate in one art show each summer, always selling out of her small botanical watercolors.

During this time, Patty decided her plain kitchen cupboards were a bit drab. She resolved to try to imitate the nearby curtain's floral vine on the pine cupboards and was shocked at how well it turned out. “For the next year and a half, everyone who saw the cupboards said, 'You could do this professionally,'” remembers Patty. And eventually she was convinced. “I quit my job; I really wanted to have a paintbrush in my hand.” The local newspaper ran an article on Patty along with an ad, and she received six calls from the piece – the start of her business.

At first, Patty's commissions were all for vines. Then someone asked for a tree and then a tiger. “You learn as you go and build upon it,” explains Patty. “I listen to what clients want. I am affordable. I show up, and I do the work. I take my business seriously.”

Patty estimates around 70% of her work is still wall paintings but, as a lover of technology, she has branched out into what she calls “photopainting.” Photopainting is quite different from scanning a photo and using Photoshop to enhance the image. When Patty is commissioned to create a photopainting she uses a stylus, which feels like a paintbrush in her hand, to go over every inch of the image creating a virtual painting. The majority of Patty's photopaintings are of pets, especially dogs, but she also paints children and is currently working on painting and colorizing a vintage wedding photograph.

Patty finds painting a very personal thing to do. Her favorite thing to paint is a child's room. “I love the way their eyes light up when they step into the room and walk over to touch the images.” Patty has recently started using a computer program that allows her to take a photo of the room she is going to paint and then show the clients a computer sketch of their wall. This helps her choose a scale for the motifs and allows homeowners to both see the end result and be a part of the decision-making process on items such as the font used for a quotation.

This detail-oriented artist works with families to stay within their budgets and scale paintings to their needs. Patty makes sure every client is satisfied and receives the end result he or she was envisioning. She believes it is important to give back to the community and has volunteered her talent locally, in Oconomowoc, to paint the spa bathroom at Angels Grace Hospice and the face of the clock tower at Imagination Station, among other projects. She also paints an item each year for Children's Hospital's Christmas auction.

Visit Patty's welcoming website for up-to-date galleries showcasing Patty's various types of painting. Her photopaintings can also be seen locally at Java Hut - Oconomowoc, WI and wall painting at Books & Company - Oconomowoc, WI. Furthermore, Patty always has a booth directly across from the main gate to the Oconomowoc Festival of the Arts, held in Fowler Park every August.

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