|Art and artists
Patricia Melvin is a painter based in
What is it about New York that inspires you?
I was born here and raised nearby and so I have memories
of New York City from my early childhood and to me it
was always a magical place. Anything is possible here
and everything seems to happen here. As my aunt once
said to me, she said, 'People who live in New York,
even if they've only been here for one year, they feel
like they own the place,' and I think that it's because
New York is almost more of an event than a place, where
everything's changing and becoming something new all
the time, and I think that's why it draws creative people
and it's very inspiring.
Do you always paint in situ or do you
sometimes use photos?
I always paint in situ, almost always. I use sketches
and I work a little from memory and from sketches. I
touch things up a little in the studio sometimes or
finish things. But I like to be in the location because
it's always changing and I take pieces of the scene,
things that happen at different times, a bird flying
by might be very beautiful or a person walking in the
street and assuming a certain gesture or pose that's
perfect for the composition. Things like that happen
over the course of a painting and they can be just perfect.
But a photo is very static and kind of ?at and it doesn't
interest me to work from that.
Does that mean you have to work very
Actually I do, I have learnt to work very fast because
there are so many things that change on the street including
being blocked by trucks and I do often work very fast,
the seasons are constantly changing. People think of
the four seasons but really nature changes almost every
day, or every day so if I started painting at one point,
it's hard to finish it later in a different season or
later on in the same season.
What techniques do you use?
I use traditional technique. I use oil paint and brushes
How long does it normally take you to
finish a painting from start to finish?
Oh, there, every painting is different, they can take
a few hours or a few years. I've worked on some paintings
for years and years and sometimes I'll come back to
a painting the following year when the season and the
different light is right for that painting.