A detail.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township
A detail. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)
The animals came two by two, lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and birds and butterflies and bees flew by.

Artist Pat Isch of Codorus Township is painting all of these animals and more on a mural in the nursery at St Jacob's Lutheran Church near Glen Rock.

"I did some work for Ruth Baer, and she called me and asked me if I would be interested in doing a mural for the new church and I said sure," Isch said.

Baer and other church members chose Noah's Ark as the theme with thoughts of a small painting that would cover just a portion of one wall.

But the idea grew into something larger.

The completed mural will cover the largest wall with all creatures great and small.

A detail.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township
A detail. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)
It will spill over onto a smaller wall and spread into the hallway to entice people to enter the room to see more. Yet another wall will feature a dove bringing the all-important message to Noah in the form of an olive branch.

"When they chose Noah's Ark I asked what animals they wanted, and every week I add something so they have to come in here and look," Isch said.

It is easy to find the giraffes and the zebras, the chimps and the owls . . . but it takes a little more time to locate the ants and the dragonflies, the turtle, the frog and the other smaller animals that are starting to emerge.

A few church members have picked up a brush and added their own artistic touches and their minister, the Rev. Paula Murray, has promised to paint a tree.

"It is a real gift to the congregation and we love it," Murray said of the mural.

"The fun thing for us is people check it every week to see what has changed. After church there will be a mob in here checking to see the artwork and pointing out the new stuff or the stuff they haven't seen before," she said.

For example, it was several weeks before people noticed the emu, Isch said.

A detail.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township
A detail. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)

One recent morning, she filled an empty corner of the ark with a spider web and it will be interesting to see how long it takes before people begin to notice it.

It is fun to watch Isch work and see the results, but sometimes it takes a firm voice to make the magic happen, church member Carolyn Miller said.

"She will talk to these animals and make them come to life. It is not always sugar and spice. Sometimes she has to really talk to them to make it happen." Miller said. "It is amazing how she can direct her hand and make animals appear. I should be so talented."

Isch has received requests for certain animals to be included.

One young man, Kyle Williams, wanted a wolf. After Isch agreed, he was so happy he ran and told his parents.

A detail.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township
A detail. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)

"My husband suggested I add a unicorn," Isch added with her infectious laugh.

She would like for someone to bring her a photo of a pet dog or cat to add to the mural, and is willing to help them do the painting if they wish.

Isch sometimes wears an apron she hand-painted with a pumpkin and fairies and flowers, part of her "uniform" when she works with a school class or Scout group.

What can church members expect to see next?

"I want to add lots of birds, and I like having things hidden in this, so that when the children are sitting there and looking at the mural, they say 'oh, there's a kitten, I didn't see that.' There will be cows, sheep, horses, mountain goats, wolves, buffalo, lots of birds, flowers, bugs and fish, chipmunks and squirrels added to it," Isch said.

A detail.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township
A detail. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)

Almost every morning, especially on those days when she will be working on Noah's Ark, Isch watches a You-Tube video for tips and ideas.

"I never had any formal training and I didn't know how to paint mountains or rainbows, so every morning I watch a lesson on You Tube," she said.

Isch said the mural project is about one-tenth completed.

"I am hoping to have the majority of this done by the end of the summer and then I'll just every once in a while, come up and add to it." she said.

Background

PAT ISCH of Codorus Township never knew she had artistic talent and got into painting almost by accident.

It all began with a gift certificate to a craft store.

A paint brush and latex mixed with acrylic.   Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30’ x 9’ Noah’s Ark mural at St. Jacobs
A paint brush and latex mixed with acrylic. Patricia Isch, of Codorus Township works on her 30' x 9' Noah's Ark mural at St. Jacobs Lutheran Church in Codorus Township Monday Feb 4, 2013 YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL (Paul Kuehnel)

She bought a set of knives and tried her hand at carving. That led to drawing lessons, a birthday gift from her husband.

"That was 10 years ago, and from those lessons I found out I had the talent to draw and paint. I never knew I could draw," Isch said.

"This is the first picture I drew in the art lesson and everybody was like 'you've never drawn before,' and I freaked," she said, as she paged through her album that contains hundreds of examples of her work.

Her first drawing of a young child, requested by a proud grandmother, led to more drawings of children. All her drawings invoke memories, but probably none more so than one of a dog owned by a local teacher. The drawing was commissioned by her fellow teachers as a retirement gift, she said.

"The dog has since passed away and she tells me she cherishes that drawing," Isch said.

Isch has done a number of other murals, including for Make a Wish and Head Start. Her work has been displayed in local libraries and other areas. When she isn't painting, Isch works as a color consultant for home decorators and is a disaster team coordinator for the American Red Cross.