Had it not been for her art teacher's encouragement, Patricia Jones never would have entered the Weekly's photo contest. Enrolled in a landscape painting class, the Palo Alto resident took plenty of pictures and shared them with the instructor, Brigitte Curt, and her classmates.
On one very cold day in January, Jones pulled out her Pentax while the class was working on a vista in the Baylands near Shoreline. She focused on a painter hard at work with easel and canvas at the end of a nearby dock. Two passersby were admiring the work.
"These local sights that we sometimes take for granted are so beautiful," Jones says of the scene.
Jones, at Curt's urging, entered the photo in the competition.
Jones has always been an avid artist and photographer, although most of her photographs have functioned strictly as documentation. A prolific travel photographer, she typically takes dozens of rolls of film on trips through such exotic locales as Greece, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, Sicily and Tunisia.
When she sold her retail business and began working out of her home in 1995, Jones started taking painting classes at the Palo Alto Art Center.
"I'm just obsessed with painting. It's almost taken over my life," Jones says. "It's so much fun to be totally immersed in something."
Now that Jones is being awarded for her work in photography, she is more conscious of the shots she takes and hopes to improve upon her composition skills.
"When you're an artist, you really start looking at things differently," says Jones, who holds an undergraduate degree in journalism. "It's seeing with a little bit more critical eye."
This new vision will doubtless come in handy this summer, when Jones, heads off to a cottage in the French countryside for two weeks with her husband and mother-in-law. She is, naturally, taking her camera.