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Q&A with Watercolorist Pat King

The Puppies by Patricia King. Winner of the Carolyn Zakaski Award for Best Watercolor in the December Open Exhibit.
The Puppies by Patricia King. Winner of the Carolyn Zakaski Award for Best Watercolor in the December Open Exhibit.

Sometimes, you see something and you just have to paint it. These two Whippets practically posed for their picture, so Patricia King took them up on the offer.

This month, juror Clint Mansell selected The Puppies as the best watercolor, and we asked the artist to tell us more about what and why she paints.

Who are The Puppies? What made you want to paint this scene in particular?
“The Puppies” are Anthony and Cleopatra, better known as Tony and Cleo. They are Whippets, and we have had 3 pairs over the years. I took this photo when they were 3 months old. I couldn’t resist them in that pose, and the light was perfect.

My most successful paintings are with subjects I know and love. I paint mostly flowers and animals.

Why are you a watercolorist? Do you work in other media as well?
I love watercolor because it is free and expressive. I have tried oil, acrylic and pastel many years ago. When I retired, I knew I must do something creative. I was a fashion designer and owned three retail stores.

Rainbow Peony by Patricia King, from the 2013 Art League exhibit "Flora and Fauna."
Rainbow Peony by Patricia King, from the 2013 Art League exhibit “Flora and Fauna.”

What’s your creative process like, from an idea to a finished piece?
After I have the idea, I think of the composition. Then I decide what kind of painting it will be. I do a lot of limited palette. The colors all “keyed” together is pleasing to me. Also, I like contrast against the subject. I do many dark backgrounds.

When the painting is semi-finished, I have it in the kitchen to look at every day until I think it is finished. Usually, there are several adjustments. Then it is ready to sign and have framed.

What do you think makes for a successful painting?
I think that a successful painting happens when you really enjoy the process.

What was your first experience with art as a child?
As a child I was always coloring, drawing and making clay figures.

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