As a water sign, local artist Patricia Hopkins has always found herself drawn to the water, which is abundantly clear in her artwork. In her childhood years, Hopkins spent weekends and summers on the Cape. “I’ve always loved nature from an early age” says Hopkins. She describes the Cape as a nurturing environment for her to grow her love of nature and the calling to capture it. She first began experimenting with watercolor with the loving encouragement of her father who dabbled in watercolor himself. “The idea of color and water has always been fascinating to me” says Hopkins.
Drawn to further her art education, Hopkins took a few art classes at Hollins College in Virginia and entered in a Roanoke College art show, in which she won 1st prize for a drawing. She went on to flourish at the Museum of Fine Arts and The Art Institute of Boston. She graduated from the New England School of Art & Design with a special interest in illustration and design. She then joined the commercial art world as a mechanical artist and did illustrative work for about five years. After deciding to move to the Cape as an adult, she was once again in her ideal artistic environment. Hopkins began watercolor painting in 1990 and continued her growth as an artist by participating in workshops. “The strongest influence as I was developing my style as an artist was my art teacher, Christie Velesig who I studied with for about eight years,” explains Hopkins. “I was lucky to have a really good teacher, she taught me all the tricks and ins and outs of watercolor.”
As a representational or realist-based artist, Hopkins begins her work by taking a photograph, “I try to find a subject or image using my camera that resonates with my inner sense of beauty, not necessarily the expected.” She sometimes takes more than one photograph of a subject from different perspectives and combines a certain area in one photograph with others to create her own interpretation. Hopkins continues her work with a drawing of the photograph. “The drawing is like the skeleton of the painting,” says Hopkins. She finds that this often takes the most time to complete, “I tend to be quite detailed, I’m the type of person who isn’t as loose of a painter as some. I’m a very methodical person, so after the drawing I’ll mix my colors before I put brush to paper; it’s a very planned process.”
Hopkins describes the selection of color as a type of alchemy, explaining, “It’s amazing when you mix certain colors together and the choices you have; I always make sure all my colors work together well.” The book “Making Color Sing” by Jeanne Dobie really inspired Hopkins when it came to the way she views color. Hopkins explains, “Dobie works with colors that are more transparent than pre-mixed, commercial colors. Some of her colors are more opaque. She has a way of mixing colors so that the end result is pure, and clean, and not muddy. This allows light to pass through to the white of the paper and causes the colors to glow. I have always liked the idea of having colors that are clean.”
Over the years, Hopkins has exhibited her work in various galleries, participated in four national shows and given three one-woman shows in The Old Selectman’s Building in Barnstable. She has her own gallery that doubles as a studio in an old, historical barn, of which she shares half with Christmas Joy in South Chatham. There, she sells her paintings, giclée prints and cards. Hopkins says, “When I’m painting I can shut off all the craziness in the world; I feel happy–peaceful.” – Christina Galt
See Hopkins’ work at The Hopkins Gallery, South Chatham, thehopkinsgallery.com