Patricia Waldygo was born in 1950 in Washington, Pennsylvania, and grew up in nearby Wolfdale. As early as age seven, she wanted to be an artist. After a provincial upbringing and virtually no exposure to any painters except Norman Rockwell, she received a four-year scholarship to Philadelphia College of Art. This opened her eyes to the wider world of fine art. PCA was the opposite of a "party school," a fertile and inspiring environment that stressed art for art's sake, where hardworking students could discover their own vision.

In 1974, one year after graduating, she moved from Philadelphia to New York City and soon settled in the East Village. But in 1976, on a whim, Waldygo took a vacation to Jamaica, West Indies, and fell in love with island life. This sealed her fate for the next four years, as she alternately worked in New York a few months at a time and lived the rest of the year at poverty level in Jamaica. Back then, the island was less developed. She stayed in a thatched roof cottage with no electricity, phones, or TV on the west coast of Negril and was able to paint full time.

Waldygo had worked in oils since her early teens, but she switched to watercolors during the Jamaican years. This enabled her to paint more quickly and also to bring enough art supplies to Jamaica in one steamer trunk to last up to nine months.

In November 1980, she returned to New York City. During the following decade, she developed many of the Jamaican watercolors into large, more fully realized, oil paintings. In 1982, she decided to do an extremely detailed meditation painting for students of Kabbalah and spiritual practitioners who follow the esoteric Judaeo-Christian traditions. In the same way that sacred art of Asia has guided people to enlightened states of mind through the use of imagery from Buddhist and Hindu cosmology, each sephiroth (sphere) on "The Kabbalistic Tree of Life" uses archetypal symbols from Western religions and mythology. The painting took more than one year to complete. It was published as a poster (over 15,000 copies sold) and appeared as a book cover on Dion Fortune's
The Mystical Qabalah.

The 1980s also marked the beginning of Waldygo’s journey in Buddhism, under the direction of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dharmadatu/Shambhala International.

In 1991 she began to “emerge” as an artist, and over the next couple of years her work was shown in numerous juried group shows on the East Coast. In 1993 she had a solo show at Sunnen Gallery on Prince Street in Manhattan.

But after nearly 20 years of living in New York, she felt a need to immerse herself in a new landscape, one as visually breathtaking as Jamaica but having the amenities of the United States. In November 1994, motivated by memories of a summer she'd spent in Santa Fe, she headed West. She has lived in New Mexico ever since.

Her work has appeared in various group shows in New Mexico. In 1996, she received a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation to do a series of paintings of sacred Native American sites. Over the ensuing years, she traveled to each location before painting it; many sites were on Indian reservations, others on land that is now open to the public.

If you want more information about the work of Patricia Waldygo or would like to purchase a painting, you can reach her at, or click the Contact link in the site map on the left.

Photo credit: Patricia Waldygo