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commUNITY spotlight: Patti Thomas, the woman behind The Ghost paintings

Patti Thomas is not just the wife of NFL Hall of running back Thurman Thomas. She found a new love as an artist

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Painting was just a thought for Patti Thomas back in February, but little did she know her work would be displayed for all to see in a gallery.

"I guess I've always been like a doodler," Thomas said.

While in West Palm Beach, Fla., earlier this year with her son, a good friend saw her work and encouraged her to do more.

"I ended up showing her a couple of things and everyone at the table kind of laughed except her and she's an art dealer, gallery owner," Thomas said.

To date, she's drawn about 60 paintings.

No one knew who she was for months. The Thomas family she said "decided it was best to do it anonymously, so we could really gauge what people thought, and what I was doing with no exterior factors involved in it."

They decided to go under the name The Ghost.

"I did kind of want to be like a apparition and just kind of sneak in under the radar because I wanted honesty from like the art world," Thomas said. 

While walking through the Burchfield Penney Art Center where her work was recently on exhibit, Thomas explained the meaning behind some of her work. 

One painting tells the story of her surgeries.

"This is really about our vulnerability," Thomas said, "and it's about when people see you, and they see maybe your weaknesses and your vulnerabilities, and they judge you based on those things, it's about looking deeper into what a person means to their  family and their friends and their community."

She also uses characters to describe real life situations or people.

A striking painting is a tribute to Black men.

"The Black men in my life and their resiliency, and not just them but Black men in general, and how they've had to be resilient and overcome," Thomas said.

Her work will soon be on display at Art Miami beginning November 30.