"No Words Needed" by Patricia Hynes

“No Words Needed”

oil on canvas

24 x 36 in.


In my early twenties for some unknown reason and with no significant financial resources, I purchased a canvas board, student brushes, and a few tubes of oil paint. The instant I started to copy a magazine image onto the canvas, I knew my calling was to be a painter with all of its challenges and demands. Over the following years, while I would have preferred to devote myself to painting, life with its responsibilities took hold after I received an undergraduate degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree , both in Studio Art. Yet, I always found time to paint, though not with the energy that was required to develop my craft as I wished. I then structured my life so that upon retirement, I would be able to paint full time time, which is how I now devote my time.

As a student of people I was able to interact with many personalities during a long non-painting career in museums and educational institutions through teaching and administration. These experiences helped me develop a deeper understanding of human nature. This understanding, as well as my overall life experiences, have become profound influences in determining my mature painter’s voice.

Now midway in the seventh decade of life I have come to understand that my work has always been directed by the paths I chose. The visual stories I create are about how people choose to, or not to, live their lives. My intent is not to replicate past historical visual images, but rather to study the reaction of people in various life situations and then create contemporary visual stories depicting significant moments that reveal an inner presence. My stories study the fleeting instant when emotional reactions and the pathos of a situation is often unconsciously revealed. Through my stories viewers are prompted to think and reflect upon the relation of these enigmatic references to their own lives.

I strive for accurate visual representation, however, I consciously do not paint for photographic accuracy. My work is about the fusion of concept and pigment to produce a painting. Photography has always been a mainstay of my visual approach and I am constantly taking photographs of the world as I experience it. In structuring a composition, I select images from a number of my photographs. These images are then used to draw what I call a road map on the canvas. Then my focus shifts to pigment for its harmonious and expressive application onto the canvas. I paint so the pigment can speak as an indication of a passage’s significance, as well as to express the intrinsic concept of the scene. My paintings are large, yet they are painted in great detail with small brushes. The brushwork I employ emphasizes passages throughout the canvas, creating a visual tempo about the story that that is being told. Thus, the finished painting is a fusion of concept and the process of painting.

The direction I have been advancing towards is to paint backgrounds that are increasingly more indicative of the painting’s narrative rather than the placement of people into a traditional environment. This is to promote greater interest and reflection on the part of the viewer, for further grounding people within an evocative narrative creates a scene apart from the commonplace of daily existence. While questions are raised in viewing these scenes, there is no “right” interpretation of them. I leave all interpretations to the viewers who dialogue with my paintings. I am a member of the Salmagundi Club, New York; Oil Painters of America; American Impressionist Society; and American Women Artists.

I received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Douglas College. After a period of teaching Studio Art and Art History I pursued a career in non-profit institutions holding positions in development and institutional advancement. Positions held include Deputy Director, Cincinnati Art Museum; Vice President, Pratt Institute; Vice President, American Craft Museum, now the Museum of Arts and Design; as well as Director of Alumni Relations, Associate Director University Development, and Director of Development, Tisch School of the Arts, all for New York University University; and development posts at the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.

Previous articleHow the Times Pass
Next articleFeatured Artwork: Krystii Melaine
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here