From Patti's DPW Gallery:
Somebody once told me, "Your hands are never still." It's true. I began painting at seven, initially with pastel and then oil. I continued through college, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since then I spend my time appreciating the beauty in the world and translating my sense of awe into my artwork. I enjoy working with a variety of materials and my studio is a kaleidoscope of color and pattern with inspiration everywhere you look!
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Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
I started painting in kindergarten, the same time I began my life of crime. It was 1957 in Toledo Ohio and I was splatter painting and all of a sudden I found myself in the principal’s office with my mother there! Apparently, the teacher had hung her sweater on the door knob behind my easel and my innovative technique resulted in her sweater being painted as well! That is a true story…
Anyway, my love of painting started when I was a young child and my mother took me to the Toledo Museum of Art to take classes. After that, she found a wonderful teacher for me by the name of Daniel Passino. Every Monday night from 6:30 to 8:30 she would take me to his studio and I learned to paint with pastels and then with oils. The rest of the class were adults, but I don’t remember feeling shy or awkward because we all were sharing the joy of learning to paint. I studied with Dan until I graduated high school and left for college to study painting and art history at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
|My Mother's Pastry Cutter|
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Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Patti's interview.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
There was an interval in my life when I stopped painting. After I graduated from college, I put down my brushes and began my career with Jacobson’s Stores in fine jewelry. I began in sales, then management and then buying, which turned out to be a wonderful career. I moved from Toledo, Ohio to Dearborn, Michigan where I trained as an assistant buyer and then lead buyer for their seventeen fine jewelry salons in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. It was on one of my buying trips to New York that I met my future husband and love of my life, Steven Tapper. Following my marriage, I reluctantly ended my career with Jacobson’s due to the distance factor between my home and their corporate offices. We were blessed with three wonderful children and while raising them, I went back to my artwork, spending time painting as well as teaching art privately. I enjoyed my high school students but my most rewarding classes were those that I offered to adults who had never previously made art. Once they relaxed in the non judgmental atmosphere of my studio they fell in love with their own creativity. Guiding them through the process, I learned as much from them as they did from me.
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What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
I have always been a lover of “creating” so naturally that has led me on many adventures with various mediums. The colors and patterns of fabrics thrills my sensibility. I make quilts, clothing and handbags and spend hours drooling over my collection of fabrics. I have studied mosaics and jewelry making. I am a certified precious metal clay instructor and love the process of making a material that is so malleable into shiny polished metal. I love to knit and spent some time knitting fine silver wire and pearls into bracelets, earrings and necklaces. I love creating with whatever medium suits me at the time and I am fortunate to have a large studio, so I keep all of my supplies and materials from all my different pursuits close at hand in case that muse calls to me. Although I have painted in acrylics for the past thirty years, several months ago I had a longing for the terrible smell of turpentine and decided to paint in oils as well. I told you that I have a big studio, right? Thankfully there is a doorway that allows ventilation as well as a view of my little perennial garden just outside the door.
|Through the Glass|
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Who or what inspires you most?
The internet has changed my sources of inspiration three fold. I used to be inspired either by artists that I had studied in my art history books or in the exhibits that I would see here in Michigan or in New York. Now on a daily basis, I find oodles of inspiration from paintings that I would’ve been unlikely to come across before. Once a painting catches my eye, I look up the artist and find more inspiration often in their blogs or sometimes, if available, in their workshops. I have been so lucky to study pastel with Wolf Kahn in Connecticut, cold wax technique with James Scherbarth in Minnesota, abstract painting with Steven Aimone in Maine last July and this summer flower painting with Dawn Stafford, a painter that I have admired at Ox Bow in Michigan. I have traveled and painted in France several times in my life, marveling at the fields of lavender and experiencing the gardens in full bloom at Giverny. These are just a few of the places and people that have kept my juices going!
|Pomegranate with Muffin Tin|
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Curiosity has always been key for me in generating my creativity on a daily basis. I work as a visual merchandiser three days a week. That means I make displays for our jewelry stores. Generating new ideas and putting the materials together is very energizing. Most of the time I am working in shadow boxes and store windows so it is a lot like a three dimensional canvas. I love to pursue new techniques and am constantly trying new materials. This spring I have created an actual magical forest in each window, with jeweled insects and little creatures, sharing the space with beautiful necklaces, bracelets and rings.
When discussing my inspiration I must mention my actual studio because it is bursting with all of the things that I love. Drawers of colorful beads, jars of tiles in every hue, objects that I have collected or been given, colorful glass vases and printed bowls as well as different painted papers, maps and old letters for collage. I also have a lot of old photos of loved ones, as a reminder of the richness of the journey. My shelves are overflowing with books about every facet of making art and the creative process. There’s a worn very comfortable arm chair to relax in as well as music to listen to and generally I am joined by my beloved companion, Luna, our golden shepherd. Once I head down the stairs to my studio, and pass the sign “No Worries Allowed” I have entered a different world, mine.
|Still Life with Red Cup|
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What makes you happiest about your art?
My happiness with my art comes from the way that I see the world with an “artist’s eyes”. My mantra has always been “live a colorful life”. I am very grateful for the beauty that I see often in the ordinary things in my daily world. The way that the light falls across the winter landscape creating more lavenders and grays than you could imagine. Or how a few oranges on my kitchen counter become worthy just by the way the sunlight makes them glow.
My most recent still life paintings are created from a different perspective or viewpoint in order to accentuate the forms and the patterns of light and shadows. I create very elaborate drawings which allow me to become familiar with my subject before I pick up my brushes. Lately I have taken up the challenge of adding patterned fabric and colored glass objects to my set ups. I love figuring out the best way to approach the painting, often thinking backwards to solve the challenge. It gives me great pleasure to receive a complement on one of my paintings. I love selling my work and thinking about the joy that it will bring to another person’s world.
© 2018 Sophie Marine