Plumber portrait makes artist a star

November 10, 2009 3:19:19 PM PST
There is a portrait of a man from Westchester hanging in the Smithsonian. But he isn't a former president or a celebrity. He's a plumber. And a local woman painted the portrait. The subject of the painting has become a bit of a celebrity now, at lease a local celebrity in Westchester. The same goes for the artist.

"I didn't set out to be a portrait artist," Patricia Horing said.

But 8 years ago, Horing left a career in public relations and started painting. She paints friends, relatives, herself and even her plumber.

"She came to the door and said, 'Herman, can I paint you?' And I said huh?," Herman Evly said.

Evly was working in the tub when Patricia had the idea.

"I just go like this, I take off my cap and said, "Go for it, baby,'" he said.

So she took a photo and sketched him. A month later, he saw the finished product.

"I came over and I looked at it," he said. "And I said, 'Oh my God, wow, that's me.'"

With a witty bit of verse at the bottom and on a whim, Patricia entered it in a contest.

"It was just an E-mail submission, and then I forgot about it," she said. "And then six months later, I got this incredible news."

The news was that the portrait was selected to hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Both Patricia and Herman went to Washington with their families for the exhibit's opening.

"When I went there, my father said 'Son, this is bigger than us,'" Herman said.

The portrait is now just down the hall from portraits of U.S. presidents.

And the name of the contest that Patricia participated in is the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. It happens every year. Her painting is on display through August.

For more on the artist, visit PatriciaHorning.com.

For more on the plumber, visit JacanPlumbing.com.

For more information on the portrait contest, visit PortraitCompetition.si.edu/index.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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