An Artist Continues to Flourish

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One can find artistic inspiration in just about anything; in people, words, or even in nature. For Pat Olson Leopold, an accomplished painter and sculptress, finding a home that would allow her to continue expressing herself through her art was important, and that is exactly what she found in Westminster at Lake Ridge, a continuing care retirement community located in Prince William County in Northern Virginia..

“Art is another medium of communication,” she said. “It enlarges your soul and life. I see much more than other people see when walking down the street. I see all the colors while others just rush by.”

Pat had a busy career working for the CIA for 29 and a half years, but she continually pursued her love for painting wildlife and sculpting. Once she retired and came across Westminster after searching for a place to live, she found that the community’s college campus feel with cottages and apartment homes was a great place for her to retire and continue her love of art.

However, an art-friendly environment wasn’t all that Pat found at her new home-she also met her husband there, and held her wedding and reception at the community’s chapel.

Moving to such an active community also helped Pat gain the opportunity to participate in multiple organizations. She serves on the Westminster Ingleside Foundation board which raises money to help residents who need financial assistance and she is a member of Westminster’s Library Committee.

In addition, Pat attends community lectures and has also taken Tai Chi classes. She also remains involved in her number one hobby, art, through local arts groups and by participating in art exhibits-some of her artwork is even displayed throughout the community.

Pat attended Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and she majored in Art. She was chosen among the top students in her class to enter the Navy, where she was assigned to Washington D.C. to work on crytoanalysis, or code
breaking. Still, Pat never lost focus of her artistic endeavors and showed a first-prize winning sculpture on the National Mall. She went on to work for the State Department while stationed in Geneva, Switzerland before she retired.

Needless to say, Pat is a woman who has pursued her passion for art during every stage and aspect of her life up through her retirement. Her advice to aspiring young artists? “[Don’t] go into it for the money but to do it because you love it.”

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