BEHIND THE CANVAS
A LOOK INTO THE WORLD OF
PATSY MCARTHURDecorazon Gallery is delighted to introduce a new feature, in which we will be exploring the motivations behind our artists and their work. This series presents a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of the artwork itself, and discover things about the artist you may not have previously known.Equally adept at working in charcoal, watercolour and oils, Patsy McArthur’ssubject matter always depicts grace in movement, and a sense of freedom. This summer she was a finalist for The Castlegate Prize, one of the most prestigious art competitions in the UK.
In her very own words, let’s gain some insight into the depths of Patsy McArthur…
“Sanctuary”, Oil on canvas, 47×59 inches / 120×150 cm
R E A D
I love fiction which lets me voyage into other people’s worlds and knocks me about a bit emotionally. An unforgettable read in recent times was “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara which was so powerful it felt transformative and I’d even go as far as saying it gave me a bit of a reset as a human being – such is the power of good art! Beautiful prose also can trigger ideas for drawings or paintings and I’ll often borrow words and phrases from writers for the titles of my works. I enjoy non-fiction that gives me insights into the workings of our minds and dip into a lot of philosophy, psychology and self-help. Much of my imagery over the last few years has involved swimmers and water, and I’ve recently read“Blue Mind”, by marine biologist, Dr. Wallace J Nicholls which explores the remarkable effects of water in all its shapes and forms on our health and well-being.
Patsy photographed in her Studio
L I S T E N
I don’t like silence in the studio, so always listen to music or podcasts. I have loads of diverse playlists but as an old school raver of the 90s, I do enjoy a bit of dance music to get me into an optimum meditative head state to draw or paint. Not every day’s a dance music day but when it is, I thoroughly enjoy a bit of DJ Sneak, one of the pioneers of Chicago house music, who I saw many times playing live in the clubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh back in the 90s and early Noughties.
Patsy photographed at home
M A K E
Music (and margaritas)! I will often take time out during the working day to tinkle the ivories (accompanied by a cheeky margarita)! I’m lucky to live just on the other side of the street to my studio so I can nip home at any moment where one of my prized possessions is my white Yamaha piano, the same one I learned to play on as a child which is the most gorgeous instrument as well as a beautiful piece of furniture. I find it really useful to balance the very particular focus needed for making visual art with the focus needed for playing an instrument, and it also really helps me stay sane in a world of devices. I learned to play and to read music from a very young age and although I gave up for a couple of decades in the middle, I’m reconnecting with it now, and love playing the classical Debussy and Beethoven from my youth as well as jazz piano and bossa nova which I’m learning as an adult.
”The Path”, Charcoal on watercolour paper, 26×44 inches / 67x112cm
S U B S C R I B E
Podcasts are an essential accompaniment to my working day and I subscribe to Luminary which gives me access to many which are pretty diverse. I find people and their lives endlessly fascinating and my favourite podcasts are interview-based with people who are frank and open about their struggles. I’m unsure as to why I enjoy this kind of background conversation so much in my creative space – the studio can be a lonely place and the challenges of working by yourself in your own head alongside your inner critic for decades can take its toll. So, I think there’s a comfort there for me, and to escape to other people and their problems for a while is kind of nice. There’s a sense of journey and quest in much of my work, and as I get older I find myself becoming more and more aware of but also interested in the passage of time. Listening to other people reflect on their lives gives insight and perspective and takes me out of myself. Favourite podcasts : WTF with Marc Maron, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day, The Adam Buxton Podcast, Under The Skin with Russell Brand.