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Notes From the Artist
Myths and narratives are important tools that humans use for sorting out our relationships to each other and to the world. in
this body of work, I am seeking the individual and personal contained within our myths, and conversely, seeking the universal
within the individual.
I construct images that invite the viewer to contemplate, connect, and find relationships. I wish my paintings to be visual
poems awaiting your interpretation.
Tradition has nothing to do with the past. to follow a tradition is to embrace a manner of working in which the values and
aspirations of the past are continuous with those of the future. I do not chase the past. I chase what artists in the past have
also chased—a celebration of the human form, a passion for and humility before nature, a belief that metaphor and narrative
can help us puzzle out the mysteries of our time here on earth, and a belief in the emotional power of the common visual
language of representation.
Like other artistic forms, the art world has great diversity in genres, each rich in their own traditions and language. The style of
my work is called contemporary classicism, and is connected to an international flowering of realism. in new york, Florence,
France, Spain, and Sweden there are strong realist movements in which artists receive traditional training in private ateliers
and larger academies. We celebrate a visual language that viewers recognize and comprehend.
Our paintings are grounded in the mastery of historic methodologies, including academic draftsmanship and oil painting
techniques. Like classical music, the discipline has a long and rich pedagogy. Practitioners expect to train rigorously for a
decade in order to prepare for our careers. This is the study i have embraced with others who champion figurative painting
and classical realism.
My figures and portraits are designed to convey the beauty and stillness of the visual world. My paintings travel through worlds
of mythology, allegory, and contemporary human life. They reflect my search for meaning, and fulfill my desire for spiritual
connection with my subjects and viewers.
|Pandora Oil On Canvas 30 x 26 inches
|Leaves Of Grass 2011 Oil On Canvas 24 x 44 Inches
|Music and Poetry Oil on Canvas 36 x 60 Inches 2000
Patricia Watwood has exhibited at galleries and institutions worldwide such as Hirschl & Adler and Forbes Gallery in NYC,
Galerie Albert Benamou in Paris, and John Pence in San Francisco. Museum shows include the Oglethorpe, Arnot, Joseloff,
Bruce, and Dahesh. Artistic success, for Watwood, was born out of natural talent and her diligent studies, having earned an
MFA with Honors from New York Academy of Art and studying with Jacob Collins of the Water Street Atelier, and Ted Seth
Jacobs at the Ecole Albert Defois in France.
Watwood states, “Formal training is the indispensable underpinning of my practice. I seek to follow and build upon the artistic
intelligence and traditions of the past, and bring them anew to my own generation.” Watwood’s style is Contemporary
Classicism, which combines classical painting techniques with the language of representation. Representation (painting
recognizable objects) makes our common visual language a means of communication between viewer and artist, and the
painting can become like a poem that the viewer reads and relates to their own experience.
Watwood’s paintings travel through worlds of mythology, allegory, and contemporary human life. Her images are carefully
designed to convey the beauty and stillness of the visual world. Philosophically, the paintings reflect the artist’s search for
meaning and desire for spiritual connection with both subjects and viewers. “Faith in the Wilderness” (2011) is an example of
Watwood’s combination of classical technique, contemporary sensibility and personal philosophy. The artist describes the
work as an allegory about her motives for painting. She writes, “The model is the unattainable beauty of ‘perfect’ painting. The
landscape is the urban jungle that is my world. Faith is what is required to traverse the distance between the hope and the
reality. The wilderness is many faceted—uncertain prospects, an uncharted course, the complex art world, or even just the
impossible passage across that expanse of cheek between the nose and ear. I pick up my palette and keep traveling.”
Her style has caught the eye of editors, who have featured her in numerous art publications, including twice landing the cover
of American Artist magazine. Her paintings are in private collections and her commissions include a portrait of the
astronomer Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin for Faculty Hall at Harvard University; the journalist and anti-lynching campaigner Ida
B. Wells for the Kennedy School of Government; and the former Mayor of St. Louis, Clarence Harmon, for the St. Louis City
A survey of Watwood’s paintings from 2000-present can be seen this October to December 2011 in a solo show at the St.
Louis University Museum of Art, entitled “Patricia Watwood: Myths & Individuals”. The show travels to the Forbes Gallery in
NYC for exhibit ion February to April 2012.
Aside from studio painting, Watwood has been an adjunct professor of drawing at New York Academy of Art and has given
lectures and workshops across the country with Teaching Studios of Art, BACAA, the Portrait Society of America, and Studio
Incamminati. She is a writer and blog contributor for American Artist and Artist Daily publications.
Watwood lives with her husband and two daughters in Brooklyn, New York
|Waiting For Supper, 2010 Oil On Canvas, 18 x 35 Inches
|Portrait Of My Mother, Oil On Canvas, 34 x 24 Inches
|Inkhead Oil On Canvas 29 x 16 Inches 2009
|Homage To Rembrandt: Bathsheba, Oil On Canvas 46 x 46 Inches
|Creation Oil On Canvas 36 x 28 Inches
|Beer Salami and Chevre, Oil On Canvas 18 x 22 Inches