Interview with Patsy Lindamood, Artist of the Month-April 2015
Why an artist: I never pursued art until well into my adulthood. My family hadn’t an art “bone” among them, but I was always creative as a child. I used things like shoe boxes, cardboard, glue, scissors, and magazines to create villages with people, vehicles, trees, and buildings. My mom did provide me with lots of coloring books and crayons (I always wanted the biggest set with the broadest range of colors,) and I would spend hours filling them front to back with painterly “colorings.” Having worked on my high school yearbook for three years, I was its editor as a senior. When I needed an elective as a senior in high school, I chose art, which was mostly as series of projects rather than any sort of formal art education.
My father was concerned that I be able to support myself as an adult, so I entered the work force at 16, working after school as a high school senior, and continuing to work full time throughout most of my college days, taking almost ten years to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English Literature. Ironically, I loved numbers as much as reading and writing, and ended up in several jobs where my math and accounting skills were requisite, and my reading and writing skills were a bonus. And all those years, I never had much time for anything else.
I became a credit union executive and a mother at age 35, and for the next decade or, most of my creative energy was deployed finding ways to grow my credit union and collaborating with my son on his school projects. My son was in middle school when I became friends through Chamber of Commerce volunteer work with a car dealership owner who created metal sculptures and a CPA serving as CFO for an environmental firm who was a photographer. I figured if these two busy business professionals could be artists, I could, too!
Initially I sketched, day after day, then progressed to larger more complex graphite drawings, which evolved into large scale color pencil paintings. Dry media were perfect for me, because I could readily start and stop painting without much prep or cleanup time. Someone suggested I might work faster if I worked in pastel, so I decided to experiment with another dry medium and was immediately hooked. I became passionate about pastels, and that passion continues to grow with every new painting.
Today, I can’t imagine life without my painting. I’m often asked how I find time to paint, especially participating in as many exhibitions as I do. It’s a challenge, juggling art deadlines against credit union deadlines, but I make time for the painting because it has become an intimate part of the fabric of my life. I need to paint like I need to eat and sleep!
Studio – These days, I paint in my garage which has been converted into a makeshift studio. The garage has no windows, but I do have heat and air, and about 400 square feet in which to work. Five painting stations are positioned around the perimeter of the space. About half my collection of pastels at any given time cover an assembly of tables in the middle of the studio, and storage bins below hold various supplies. Several commercial size sets of storage shelves hold more supplies. With no windows, light is supplied by a bank of hanging florescent lights (think workshop) overhead, and a couple of easel lamps are attached to each painting station. A large format printer (prints on 24 inch wide rolls) and a computer in the studio are used to generate the full-size reference prints from which I paint.
As I pull my palette for any one painting, the pastels are set aside on a small rolling stand at each station. The pastels will stay there until I finish each piece.
Subject matter- I am an established wildlife painter, but also do portraits (several award-winning). Since moving to Texas, I have painted a series based on the Sam Houston State University Women’s Basketball Team, and since Spring 2013, when not doing wildlife work, I have been focused on painting western themed work, including rodeo scenes, cattle, and western trappings.
Wildlife subjects –Together with my husband, I have spent as much time as my credit union schedule will permit to camp, hike and explore wild spaces. My favorite subjects are western wildlife, and I seek to capture creatures in striking light, settings that can provide dramatic contrast, and most often paint animal portraits as opposed to depicting wildlife in a scenic setting. I long for the day when I can transition to full time artist, able to spend as much time in the pursuit of subject matter as I spend painting my subjects.
African animals have captivated me since childhood, but the closest I’ve ever come to these subjects is the zoo. I am a bit of a zoo-addict. Whenever I travel for work, or these days for an art event, I always research whether the area has any zoos or wildlife parks. I’ll add an extra day to a trip and spend the entire day roaming the zoo or park by myself observing and shooting material. Giraffe, zebras, tigers, and elephants are my favorites – and are the subject of many of my paintings.
When I showed my first small zebra drawing to my “car dealership” friend, he commented that I would be good at drawing birds. Something about the detail of my work. My reply was that I had no interest whatsoever in birds, and certainly wasn’t interested in doing all that detailed feather work. It wasn’t long before I had to eat those words. Living in Florida at the time, avian subject matter was abundant. State parks, refuges, and coastal areas were abundant with captivating subject matter, and I decided maybe my friend knew what he was talking about! Wood storks, flamingos, great blue herons, and Royal Terns comprise much of my portfolio – both as colored pencil work and pastel, and most of those pieces have been quite successful, earning me awards and signature status is several art societies. The birds have become more than just subject matter for me, though, as I’ve become something of a birder. Add to the list: when traveling for any reason, seek out well-known birding areas!
Rodeo – I saw my first rodeo just a few months after moving to Texas from Florida early 2012. The dramatic action and all the pageantry of the rodeo, together with the conflict of man versus animal, have captured my imagination. I always wanted to own and ride horses as a child, but my family was about as suburban as they come, and not wealthy enough to afford riding lessons or stabled horses. So now my passion for horses goes into rodeo and ranch paintings. And what could be better than working figures and animals in the same painting, in a dramatic contest of wills, regaled in colorful rodeo attire.
Art background – I have learned to paint by observing, experimenting, researching, and painting and painting and painting. In my early painting days, I hunted down books and journals about painting. Then, when I gained some confidence as an artist, I sought out workshops with some of the wildlife and pastel painters I most admire, not to learn their painting style, but to experience painting with them to learn what makes each of them “tick” as painters. I could listen and watch for hours as these artists explain and demonstrate their artistic motivation and artistic processes.
These workshops have also afforded me an opportunity to glean some basic art principles, to discover what comprises a strong composition, a harmonious painting, a compelling work of art.
Painting style – My work is strongly representational. A typical response to my work when seen from across a room or gallery is “I thought I was looking at a photograph.” My earlier work was extremely tight and exceptionally detailed. These days my painting is looser, still has lots of texture and detail, but remains exceptionally representational. My painting is not about exploring a philosophy or making a statement, but simply about creating a thing of beauty which can evoke a visceral, emotional response.
Color choices - I push color beyond what is realistic in order to heighten the excitement and drama of a work. My reference photos are usually selected based on strong color and contrast. My palettes are generally rich with strong, bold color, and always include a number of dark darks. Finding such darks that are as dark and rich as I “see” in my mind is a challenge in itself. Terry Ludwig produces some of the very best, and my friend Paul deMarrais, another artist who hand produces pastels, has been working to create the deep, rich colors I crave. One of the reasons pastels remain my medium of choice is the purity of the pigments, the richness of the colors, and the textural characteristics of the paints (based on the degree of binder used in the manufacturing process.)
Current and Upcoming Events
March 7 – April 19, 2015 – Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum Western Spirit Art Show & Sale, Cheyenne, WI.
April 1 – 30, 2015 – Framing the Frontier, an invitational western art show at The Artists’ Showplace Gallery, Dallas, TX.
April 18 – May 16, 2015 – 30th Texas and Neighbors Regional Art Exhibition, Irving, TX.
April 28 – May 29, 2015 – Emerald Art Center National Juried Show Fine Art Painting Competition, Springfield, OR
Memorial Day Weekend, 2015 – Phippen Museum 41st Annual Western Art Show and Sale, in Prescott, AZ
May 19 – July 26, 2015 – International Guild of Realism Masterworks Museum Tour, debuting at the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA. Tour moves to the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FL, September 1 – October 31, 2015. Subsequent venues are under negotiation.
June 6 – August 2015 – Art of the Animal Kingdom XX – Bennington, VT (The art center has purchased two of my avian paintings from prior exhibitions, and I sold a rodeo horse painting in last year’s exhibition.)
July 2015 – Solo 2D show, together with a solo 3-D show, at the Kerr Art and Cultural Center – awarded by the Kerr Art and Cultural Center for work in the American Plains Artists exhibition, February 2014.
July 3 – July 31, 2015 – 5th Annual SLO-POKE Western Art Rodeo, an invitational western art show at the Seaside Gallery, Pismo Beach, CA.
Goals as an Artist
to evolve as an established wildlife artist whose western wildlife and avian paintings are beloved and widely collected
to become recognized as a western artist known for rodeo, western wildlife, western trappings and ranch life work
to be sought by the equine community and cattle breeders for commissioned portraits of their prized animals
Greatest source of encouragement –
When I first dared to think I might be capable of painting professionally, and strongly desired to do so, members of the regional Colored Pencil Society of America in the north Florida area convinced me I possessed artistic talent and encouraged me to pursue my ambitions. Hours spent painting and talking about painting with those artists in weekend painting retreats ignited the passion to paint that drives me today.
Participating in workshops with other pastelists, including the biannual IAPS convention sessions, has both humbled me (so much talent, so much creativity!) and reignited in me an unbridled desire to grow and to develop as a painter. Hours spent communicating with other artists about what we do, and about the amazing characteristics of our medium, inspires me to create “the next best painting.”
I’ve recently received signature membership with the Artists of Texas and The Western Associates. While still very new to both organizations, I already strongly appreciate the efforts of each group to promote their member artists and western art. I take pride in my signature status, and seek to be worthy of the recognition.
Through the years, Ampersand has been incredibly supportive of my work as a pastelist. I was extremely honored to be asked to be one of their pastel exhibitors at their 20th anniversary exhibition Fall 2015. Being able to talk with the developers and manufacturers of my preferred pastel support is incredibly empowering to me. It has also been my honor to have my work featured on their sale posters several times over the last few years.
My staff and my coworkers at the credit union where I now work comprise an incredible fan club. What a thrill when they fuss over who gets to hang which paintings in their offices. They love to check out new work, and they celebrate with me when work is accepted for exhibition or receives an award. They get a kick out of telling customers who admire the art in their offices that their very own CFO is the artist.
The credit union’s CEO is always on the lookout for ways to expose my work, to find new venues to exhibit or sell my work. She appreciates how important my painting is to me, so she accommodates flexible working conditions to allow me time to paint and time to attend out of town art events. She gets that the ability to meet my painting objectives is a deal breaker for retaining me as her CFO.
My marketing partner, who had never represented an artist and had to be talked into doing so, now tells me how much she enjoys her collaboration. With her creative and supportive collaboration, we are finding ways to make my artistic endeavors more profitable. Meanwhile, she is building her own collection of Lindamood works. Working with her on marketing and publicity for my work is another type of artistic endeavor, and her enthusiasm and appreciation for my work is a strong motivator for me to continue my pursuit in the face demanding, often conflicting “work” and art schedules.
Finally, one of my longest-term credit union colleagues, who is based in Florida, reached out to me last fall to tell me she would be retiring from her corporate executive position at the end of 2014, and that she planned to open a tiny boutique art and décor shop in Cocoa Village, FL. Susie is an avid fan of my work, who had been collecting my work from some of my earliest days as a professional. She sells framed prints of my work, together with some small originals, in the shop, and the art she carries is almost exclusively my work. She flew me out to Cocoa in February 2015 to do a “meet the artist” weekend. What a thrill to talk with her customers about my work while painting on site, and the sales we made that weekend were a plus! But perhaps the greatest motivation of all has come from listening to my friend talk about my work to her customers, hearing the passion and appreciation in her voice for my creations!