Patrick Wachtl


As a child he lived in a semi rural area. In front of his house was a large lake fed by three rivers with many islands, slews, forests and adjacent fields. Thus he grew up with a love for nature and spent most of his childhood in play, exploring these wonderful places - building rafts and boats, constructing tree houses and forts, and fishing the lakes and rivers. He also discovered baseball at a very young age and played almost daily during the summer months. He began to develop a great love for the game.

After his sandlot experiences at the game he was ready to play organized ball. He was good at fielding and hitting and dreamed of hitting the long ball and the home run. He saw the older boys do it and they were his heroes. He began to hit home runs himself eventually and for the rest of his years in baseball he always "swung for the fence". However, as he progressed into the advanced leagues he encountered faster pitchers with greater skills. No more more home runs for him in the advanced league. The dream of a future in baseball ended during his adolescence as was too small and not strong enough to compete, and others were much more skillful than he was.

After high school he chose not to work or go to college. He slept late, then met up with the other bums and played sandlot baseball during the day and hung around the pool hall at night. His mother was not pleased and soon found himself one step behind the law. He needed to make some decisions. During high school he took several art classes, nothing special as the band director was the art teacher. Still he was very much leaning more and more about going to art school. He had little interest in ever getting a job or having a career. Art was a way out he thought. He would just sell his art and live the life. He began art classes after a year out of high school.

At first he was terribly clumsy with art medium and lacked skill but showed promise. His professor eventually took him under his wing and he began to advance rapidly with his mentoring. He was passionate about art, about life. He wanted to "swing for the fence" or hit home runs with art. In art there is no competition. The struggles are interior. There are no fastball pitchers or line drives hitting at him with great force. The obstacles in his path were similar but had to do with his own inertia, or sloth.

He finished art school after ten years. There were gaps in his education. He dropped out and traveled around often. Years later he began to teach. He taught art for twenty years and continued with his own art studio. He worked in many styles as he easily became bored doing the same thing over and over. There are moments in art, during the process of creating, in which he sometimes connected and hit the long ball to use the baseball metaphor. Sometimes he would strike out or drop the ball but there is always a new game to be played. He still "swings for the fence".
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