How can you take the full measure of a life, when that life is that of Patricia (Patsy) Peacock-Evans, when that life, that spirit, when you try to put some words about it, seems to get ahead of every effort?
far ahead. he laughs away. As you say, you can’t catch me.
You can measure the measure she took for others, when she made clothes for them—her daughters’ gorgeous wedding dresses, for example.
Patsy, who died on January 2 of lung cancer at the age of 77, made her, among many other adorable outfits, for family and friends.
You can take measures that I have taken in my beloved cooking and baking. The “Patsy’s Pies” were famous, a must-try.
You may count her paintings–and here we approach perhaps the breadth of her achievement–the fine watercolors, and many fine still-life treatments. Not to mention the perfect and expressive work of graphite and pen-and-ink that she did, much of it photography, line and precision, and her graceful, often playful energy that seems to flow as a kind of transfer from the artist’s own form. Willow somatic being.
She became famous as an artist to those outside her immediate circle (was anyone outside her immediate circle? She cast a wide net).
“It (her art) is absolutely amazing,” says her daughter, Aviah Peacock. “Sometimes I didn’t appreciate it as much as others (because she grew up with him and it was all over the house). But (in Patsy’s final weeks) I spent a lot of time with her (in the house) and I’d look at her (recent) paintings of the fire at Notre Dame.” (In Paris) “. They hang on the walls of Patsy and her husband John Evans’ beautiful home in Hamilton, her art everywhere.
“Oh my God, these are so good,” Avya says. “They are very good.” delusion. “She was a perfectionist. Her attention to detail. Her way of looking at things.”
They define fire and, paradoxically, use water (watercolor) to do so. John Evans, the famous Hamilton solicitor, also mentioned those paintings of him walking and talking to me through their house where Patsy died surrounded by family; On the couch, John’s hand on her head, her son Zeke at her feet, and others there too.
John points to paintings and other memories, and shows me her studio, with his picture next to her chair, where he tells me of the woman who walked in with him decades ago, taking his three children (Michael, Tony, and Rosalind) and moving two of hers (Avia and Zeke) across the continent to be with him and him.
He tells me of the woman who shared his joy and of the woman with whom he grew up a wonderful, mixed family—the children are all adults now and each other’s friends. It was a very successful “experiment”, but of course as John freely and fondly admits not without its fights.
“She is still alive in this house,” he says, with a smile in his sad, but grateful eyes, where, if anywhere, you might find some measure of how wonderful this woman is.
“I still talk to her.”
Patsy was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, but after a year of college, she dropped out of California, settling in the beach community of Lucadia.
“It was hippies,” John says with a broad smile. He meant she was a soul and would wear jeans and patchouli and make her own clothes. If she was a hippie it would have been great.
They met when both of their first marriages ended. They fell in love permanently and threw themselves into their lives together. They’ve ridden bikes together, had parties, been friends together, built a nice house, jobs, traveled, gone on trips with the five kids, even as adults.
“He came home to me,” John says, “with all our friends she was the one who made them up or kept them going. Even my old college friends.” She kept everyone in touch.
“Even the day before she passed, she would say, ‘I haven’t finished answering all my emails,'” June says. All these wonderful people, scattered over different backgrounds and connections—people from the book clubs she was a part of, the “salons” she wore, with art and music, that people flocked to, and the community around the Carnegie Gallery at Dundas where he showed her work.
“There are all these letters from people saying things like, ‘You opened my heart,’” says John. “It had that effect.
Among the people she was still in contact with were Avia’s friends from high school, many of whom she hadn’t been in contact with in decades.
“Only my girlfriends love it,” laughs Avia. “They love her in her short jeans, even here.
“She was the perfect mother. She made our clothes. She made bread long before that was popular. I never ate a slice of bread until I was an adult.” It was always a step forward.
“Anyone who knows Patsy, even an acquaintance, has tasted her bread, received a piece of her art, or worn a hand-sewn gown, custom-made for X, by Patricia,” says Avia. “Everything I did, I did with deep love.”