Canadian portrait artist Patricia Mitchell skillfully captures the subtle differences that make each of her subjects unique. See more of her work by visiting her website.
The most important asset that an artist can have is not how good his or her canvas is. It’s not if he has the most expensive equipment, it’s not even how many hours he puts in, or if he has the best teachers. The artist’s most important asset is learning how to see.
To see, for instance, how a tree grows towards the sky, each branch reaching for more light, or how the leaves are attached to its branches. How it looks from a distance. The soft delicate green of its spring dress, deep green in summer. Autumn’s red and gold for fall, and every branch bare in winter.
Each tree has its own characteristics, just as every flower, bird, animal or face does. Each is totally unique; there are no two exactly the same. This is true for all creation. Learning to see and paint these subtle differences, is what makes a man or woman an artist. The poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer is one of my favourites. There are many paintings in that one poem.
I have spent many years learning how to draw and paint. I have painted in every standard medium and on almost every kind of surface. I received a small set of oil paints and two brushes when I was about twelve years old. My Gram had some old canvas window blinds she gave me and that became my very first painting surface. It worked beautifully, and I was able to sell them to friends and family. I never looked back – I was hooked! Sticktoitiveness (is that a word?) has paid off for me, and while raising my four children and working outside the home, I managed to keep on painting.
When my children were grown, I opened a shop in my basement and taught Decorative Art for a number of years. I received a CDA (Certified Decorative Artist) degree from SDP (Society of Decorative Painters) in 1988. Finally I found an agent who was interested in my work, and began to sell in galleries around my area.
I have finally settled on my love of painting people and animals and have just launched my new website called Patara Portraits, offering online portraits from photos. Painting each human or animal face is challenging. Each one has its own lines, shapes, values, and skin tones. Each one has its own character. This is what I mean by learning to see. It has been a wonderful and very interesting journey.