Arts and Entertainment

Navy wife: Toughest job in the art world

Huelle’s oil-painted ZabBaDabu was an experiment in in expressionism. See it with her florals and still-lifes on the Old Town Silverdale Art Walk.  - Courtesy photo/Patricia Huelle
Huelle’s oil-painted ZabBaDabu was an experiment in in expressionism. See it with her florals and still-lifes on the Old Town Silverdale Art Walk.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Patricia Huelle

Patricia Huelle finally has time to paint.

A mother of seven and wife of a career Navy submariner for the past 30-some years, she’s focused her attention squarely on family. As the Huelle (hugh-ly) clan moved about from Nebraska to the East Coast to the West Coast, out to Hawaii and back to mainland Indiana, she was in charge of shuffling and shuttling the kids, and keeping them excited about the next new place they’d be going.

It seems a tall order which didn’t afford her much time to sit in peace at an easel.

Now, the family’s youngest child is 18 and Patricia and Dennis have an empty nest overlooking Kitsap lake. The chaos has calmed and she’s got a perfect place to paint, with the Olympic Mountain range in her window and a community of artists outside her door.


“People always say, why haven’t you gone out on the porch and painted the Olympic Mountains, they’re so beautiful,” Huelle said. “But everybody paints the Olympic Mountains, I haven’t figured out how to do it my way yet.”

Actually she has in a small way.

Check it out at the Silverdale Fine Arts Gallery, 9020 NW Washington Ave. in Old Town Silverdale, where Huelle is the featured artist for March. It’s her first showing at the gallery.

Amidst a collection of oil-painted florals, subjective still-lifes and real-life settings, she has something else a little bit unique — tiny paintings on miniature canvases that measure two inches squared and sit on a little easels.

Anyone who thinks babies are cute can relate.

One of the miniatures is a shorthand-stroked portrait of the Olympics.

“I wanted to do something small and affordable,” she said of the idea that began as Christmas gifts. “I’m actually very comfortable painting things this small, maybe that’s the seamstress in me.”


Incidentally, it was studying to become a seamstress at the Honolulu Academy of Arts that led Huelle to formal painting. Artistically emboldened in the creative atmosphere of the Hawaiian islands, working to restore ancient textiles as well as create her own, Huelle discovered oils and fell in love again at the easel.

When her true love Dennis retired from the Navy, he was called to the ministry which moved the Huelle’s from Hawaii to Indiana for his training and then back to Kitsap, where he is now the pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Bremerton.

“To me, this is home,” Patricia noted.

In Kitsap, Patricia is a part-time art teacher at the Peace Lutheran School and also a member of the Old Town Silverdale Art Walk Committee. She coordinates which artists will be showing at which businesses for each quarterly art walk, following in the footsteps of Augusta Asberry.

And at this month’s Old Town Art Walk from 5-8 p.m. March 14, she will also be showing her own work at the Silverdale Fine Arts Gallery.

Those local businesses ranging from the Port of Silverdale to a vet’s office to the Two Bits Barbershop — will have local artists’ work on display that night, in addition to planned promotions and a “Cool Car Cruise” sponsored by McGregor & Company.

For more info on the Art Walk — visit

Local artists’ work, including Huelle and many others, will be on display from 6-8 p.m. March 14 on the Old Town Silverdale Art Walk in the Old Town District near Waterfront Park.

Maps are available at the Silverdale Fine Arts Gallery, 9020 NW Washington Ave.

Info: Visit or call the SFA at (360) 698-5527.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates