"Happiness Is. . ." by Patricia Hynes

“Happiness Is…”

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. After I earned undergraduate and Master of Fine Arts degrees in studio art, life with its responsibilities took hold. Yet, I always found time to paint, though not with the focus that was required to develop my craft as I wished. I then structured my life so that eventually I would be able to paint full time time.

As a student of people I was able to interact with many individuals during a long non- painting career in museums and educational institutions working in 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.

I have come to understand that my work has always been directed by the paths I chose. The paintings 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. They study the fleeting instant when emotional reactions and the pathos of a situation is often unconsciously revealed. Through my paintings 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. Yet, photography has always been a mainstay of my visual approach. In structuring a composition, I select images from a number of my photographs. These images are used to draw what I call a road map on the canvas. Then my focus shifts to pigment for its expressive application onto the canvas. I paint so the pigment can speak as an indication of a passage’s significance, as well as 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 of 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 nonprofit 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.

View more of Patricia’s work at www.patriciahynespainter.com.

Contact Patricia at [email protected] or 973.763.2384.


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