Patti Jacquemain – An Artist Who Bears All For Nature

Lions and tigers and bears – oh my! For some people, these words invoke fearsome beasts. But nature-loving artist Patti Jacquemain is more likely to think happily of mountain lions and tiger sharks and her favorite animal of all, the grizzly bear.

Born in Michigan, Jacquemain had the good fortune to grow up in Santa Barbara after her parents moved to a property known as Miradero Ranch, located at what is today the corner of State Street and Alamar Avenue. Since upper State Street was not cut through until the mid-1950s, Jacquemain knew the property as 18 acres of horse pasture, with about 1,500 lemon trees, 40 orange trees, and 60 walnut trees. The old farmhouse where the family lived was just five feet from Mission Creek.

“I was crazy about horses,” says Jacquemain, who helped tend the polo ponies that were boarded in her family’s pastures when it wasn’t polo season. Patti fell in love with Champ, one of the best polo ponies owned by a local dentist, Dr. Fred Barron, and she describes herself as a “basket case” every time Champ had to go back to work at the polo fields. One year, Champ remained in the pasture when polo season began, as her mother had purchased Champ as a surprise gift for young Patti.

Although her polo days were over, Champ carried Jacquemain over hundreds of miles of trails. “Going into the back country is what fostered my love of wildlife,” says Jacquemain, whose main artistic focus is wild animals. She is also the founder of the Wildling Art Museum in Los Olivos, an educational institution dedicated to presenting art of America’s wilderness. She has served continuously as president of the Wildling’s board of directors.

Most people who collect Jacquemain’s artwork are probably unaware of her short stint as a cartoonist. Her creation, known as “Jepi,” ran once a week in the Santa Barbara News-Press for a two-year period. Jacquemain recently found the cartoon drawings, which had been put away in storage for decades.

“When I look back at the drawings, I think, ‘Oh jeez, how amateur,’ but I did them right out of high school,” she laughs. Jacquemain applied to many syndicates, but stopped after receiving one too many rejection notices.

Jacquemain is particularly taken with the story of the California grizzly bear, and fears a similar fate may await mountain lions: “When there were about ten thousand grizzlies in California in 1850, and within 25 years they were decimated, the story is how wildlife can disappear so quickly.”

Nature finds its way into nearly every aspect of Jacquemain’s art and life. She has had over 30 local and national one-person exhibits of her woodblock prints, and the Sierra Club has published her work as greeting cards. Her concern for endangered species prompted her to create a visual presentation about the history and mystique of the grizzly bear, based on research she did for her latest book. She will present this program to the public on June 20 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (see details below).

Mark your calendar:

Saturday, June 9

Montecito Trails Foundation

Hot Springs Trail Hike

Intermediate, 3.5 miles

850-foot elevation gain

Meet at trailhead on East Mountain Drive, west of Hot Springs Road. Loop hike up Hot Springs Trail to McMenemy, Vincent Saddle Rock and Edison Catway, returning via Hot Springs. Hike departs at 8:30 am, but meet 10 minutes early to check in and sign release forms. Dogs are welcome if they are leashed and you bring clean-up supplies. Wear hiking boots and bring plenty of water.

For more information call Dick Drosendahl at 963-8858.

Saturday, June 9 – Sunday, June 10

Second Annual Sensory Trail Trials/ Royal Canadian Mounted Police Clinic

Riverview Ranch, Ojai

Pre-registration required

Limited to 40 riders, Fee $235.

On Saturday, ride with Ken Kaip, senior trainer of the “Mounties.” On Sunday, the Trail Trials will consist of 10-14 obstacles in an arena that will test the horse and rider’s capabilities. Each rider will be scored individually. Three individuals from the same geographic area may also participate as a team (Team Montecito, anyone?). The course will be timed. Participants must be at least 18 years of age.

For more information call Jim Barrett at 646-5721, or visit

Saturday, June 9 – Sunday, June 10

Equine Clinic

SENSE Method with Mary Debono

El Capitan Ranch

Recommended for overcoming stiffness and soreness, reversing the effects of injury and aging, reaching new levels in equine performance and partnership. Debono will teach participants how to release a horse’s muscular tension and improve suppleness, balance, coordination, and freedom of movement. These changes can promote long-term soundness and reduced anxiety, allowing your horse to be a happier, more willing partner. Registration fee is $250.

For workshop information and registration, contact Kerry Marcu at 938-1232.

Wednesday, June 20

“Journey of the Great Bear”

Patti Jacquemain Lecture,

Book signing and Potluck Dinner

Fleischmann Auditorium, 7 pm

Museum of Natural History

2559 Puesta del Sol Road

Free admission

Co-sponsored by the Sierra Club’s Santa Barbara Group and the Wildling Art Museum, this family-oriented visual presentation by artist Patti Jacquemain will focus on the history of the California Grizzly bear and its mystique throughout the ages. The program begins at 7 pm, and will be followed by a potluck dinner and book signing. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share (preferably one that serves at least 8 people) and serving utensils if necessary. Plates, cutlery, and complimentary beverages will be provided. Please arrive a few minutes early to set your dish on the buffet tables. An additional attraction is the opportunity to enjoy the exhibition “Traje: Village Clothing of Mexico and Guatemala,” which is installed in the display cases of the Fleischmann Auditorium. Nearly 50 examples of colorful garments worn by indigenous peoples are on display for the first time.

Questions? Please call Holly Cline at the Wildling Art Museum: 688-1082.