Pat Foley Siddiq
Plein Air Impressionist

by Tony Coppi

Pat Foley Siddiq is a plein air artist, having spent much of her travels seeking out landscapes to put on canvas in her impressionistic style.

Her primary medium is oil but she also works in pastels, watercolors and pen and ink. She prefers painting on location and has traveled to Mexico, Italy, Tahiti, Hawaii, and cities in the United States: New Mexico, South Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana.

Pat was born in Indianapolis and lived there until graduating from Broad Ripple High School. She then went to Depauw University for art training, earning a Bachelors of Arts degree, then became an art teacher in public schools.

Her first job was in Aurora, Illinois, at the West Aurora elementary school. “I even had blind children there they were put in classes with the other children and could use scissors and crayons. They would feel a lot with what they were doing,” Pat recalls.

After teaching in Aurora she returned to Indianapolis and taught art at Arlington High School before enrolling at Indiana University where she received a Masters Degree in art education.

“When I was at I.U. I met my future husband, Mir Siddiq. He was getting his doctorate in education there and also doing some research in Afghan studies. We were married in Indianapolis, then went to Afghanistan and ended up being there for 13 years. I taught in the American International School there,” she says.

“I learned the language there because I had a lot of contact with my husband’s relatives and also people in the government. Mir was the Deputy Minister of Education so we went to a lot of formal functions where we had to speak Farsi (the native language). Our children, Tim, Bob, and Sharif were born in Afghanistan and they spoke both languages,” she adds.

Besides teaching at the international school she ran a nursery school for a few years and illustrated several books. The books’ topics were how to speak Farsi, riddles of their culture, and how to grow vegetables and fruits. “The book reading started at the back of the book because that is how their writing goes and its got the Farsi on one side and the English on the other. I also did some medical book illustrations on women’s health and a cook book that American women produced,” she explains.

In 1978 a Communist coup occurred in Afghanistan. After being in a war zone, seeing the country being destroyed, and enduring shortages of food, they made plans to return to the United States. Getting a passport was difficult but Pat and the boys made it hack to America. Mr. Siddiq followed nine months later.

They lived for one year in Indianapolis where Pat did some substitute teaching. In 1980 they moved to Brown County. For three years she worked at the Brown County Community Care Center as the activities director then taught in the Columbus school system for three years.

They owned and operated the Nashville Frame Company for eight years. The business included frames, art supplies, art classes, and an art gallery.

Both Pat and Mir are descendents of famous persons. Mir’s ancestors trace back to the prophet Mohammed and Pat’s ancestors immigrated from Scotland. She is a descendent of John Cory who came over on the Mayflower.

On her visit to Tahiti she painted a scene at Cook’s Bay where the movie classic Mutiny on the Bounty was filmed. Her subject was a large sailboat.

On a painting trip to Italy she stayed in Venice, theo islands of Piscatori and Isola Bella, and Lake Maggori. Piscatori is a fishing island where she painted the canopied fishing boats docked in the harbor.

Her exhibits have included: The Hoosier Salon, Indiana State Fair, ClNergy, Borders’s Book Store in Bloomington, Indiana Heritage Arts, Depauw University, Earlam College, the U.S. Information Center and Embassy in Afghanistan, the Columbia Club in Indianapolis as well as in Brown County at associate shows at the Art Guild. She is a regular artist of the Brown County Art Gallery. Presently she teaches art classes in her studio on Woodland Lake and arranges artists’ exhibits in local businesses. Some of her note cards of landscape scenes of Brown County are found in various shops. Pat was a long time hoard member of Indiana Heritage Arts and has served as president of that organization.

She works in her impressionist style, expressing her thoughts and feelings about the subject matter. Her goal is to help others enjoy the beauty of the world.