When and how a person becomes an artist is as varied as the artwork they produce. Artists evolve on their own unique journeys, following pathways that ultimately make them, and their artwork, as distinctive as they are.
Born in Baltimore, Md., Patricia Padoll says that while she took the requisite art classes in school, she didn’t know as a child that art would play a major part in her life. Not only were there no tugs at her artistic heart strings, Padoll didn’t even know at the time that she was at all creative.
“Art wasn’t on my mind,” Padoll reminisces.
After earning a bachelor’s in Business Administration, she worked in administration, marketing and management for various firms, including the IBM Corp., and, with husband George, owned a computer consulting business, which rounded out her strong business background.
The couple moved to Florida more than 30 years ago, living initially in Fort Pierce and Fort Meyers before moving to Vero Beach seven years ago. During her time in Florida, Padoll retired from IBM, while continuing to run their business and raise their son.
Additionally, the family purchased a retreat in the mountains of Blairsville, Ga., in 1996, where she says there is a wonderful gallery and tearoom that she liked to visit. The owner remarked to her one day that she hoped to soon start opening for lunch, but that she had nobody to help.
As Padoll had become friends with the woman, she offered to pitch in.
In return, the woman, who was a watercolorist, offered to give Padoll art lessons. After Padoll had painted a few pieces, the gallery owner realized she had a budding artist on her hands, telling her, “My goodness, you should be taking classes.”
Soon, Padoll was creating impressive work and decided to continue her art studies.
“Along the way, a few people really encouraged me, which allowed me to step out of my shell,” says Padoll.
Padoll says she brushed aside everything else to focus on art and, despite her late start, made huge strides in a short time. That was in 2001, and she began learning as much about the craft as she could.
“I never knew that I was going to do this. It was quite a surprise to me that I actually had an untapped talent that I wasn’t aware of.”
Her first show was in 2013 in Fort Pierce and, after it went well, Padoll recalls thinking, “Well, I guess I am going to do something with this.”
While living in Fort Myers, Padoll began showing her work in galleries in Georgia and Florida, including the Art Center in Blue Ridge, Ga., the Quinlin Visual Arts Center in Gainesville, Ga., and Main Street Vero Beach Studios and Gallery. She also participated in Arts for ACT in Fort Myers, which supports two battered women’s shelters, where Padoll and her husband volunteered.
In 2015, they decided to move to Vero Beach and built a house here. Padoll continued to paint and showed her work in various galleries. She was a guest artist at the Artist Guild Gallery in 2016, and in 2017 was asked to join as an owner/partner, a relationship that has continued ever since.
Padoll continued to expand her skills, learning from local contemporary artists Rick Kelly of Vero Beach and Linda Relis of Port St. Lucie, along with Pat Aube Gray and Coleen Sterling of Blairsville, Ga.
Padoll explains that she had tried to obtain a level of color vibrancy with watercolors but couldn’t, so she decided to switch to oils which is now her favorite medium.
“I like the way I can pretty much do whatever I want to do with oils. The different ways you can control the edges and blend the paints – you can get so many different looks and effects with oils. I love the fact that you can do so much with colors,” says Padoll.
“I just love creating something new, taking it from the beginning and seeing it through to the end and knowing the whole process. It’s funny to me. In the beginning you’re very excited when you’re doing a painting and it’s great when you know you’re towards the end and you can kind of envision how it’s going to end up. But the time in the middle is often very much a struggle. In oils, you’re doing layers and layers before it starts to come together and take shape and form in the direction you want it to go,” says Padoll.
She notes that when she first started out, she was painting in classical realism, a very detail oriented, photo realistic style. But in the fall of 2016, she had the opportunity to attend a workshop on atmospheric landscapes with artist William McCarthy in Farnese, Italy. Blending all she learned, she developed her current style; one all her own.
“It’s a combination of atmospheric impressionist landscapes with the basis of her realism,” says Padoll, whose work is striking and unique.
The ocean, the moon, sunrises over the water, and waterbirds are some of her favorite subjects as she says people tend to respond well to them. Her paintings reflect the Florida coastlines which offer an abundance of inspiration, and her work is rich in color, light and movement.
“People come to Vero Beach and want to take a piece of Vero back with them. I strive to bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to each painting, focusing on the pristine beauty of skies, water and nature,” says Padoll.
“As an artist, I continue to explore new ways to grow and express myself through my art. I believe that art can be very therapeutic, in the same way that a favorite song makes you feel good. If you love a piece of art, it should make you happy when you look at it. The luminescence that shows through each of my paintings conveys a sense of peace and tranquility. I hope to share that with my viewers.”
Padoll is a lifetime member of the Vero Beach Art Club, and exhibits, volunteers and participates in member shows. She is also a founding member of Brasstown Fine Arts group in Brasstown, N.C.
Photos by Joshua Kodis