Emerging Artist | Patrick Matthews

Winter Light by Patrick Matthews

By Gussie Fauntleroy

For architect-turned-artist Patrick Matthews, narrowing down the world of potential painting subjects was an easy job. “When we moved to Santa Fe I tried to find the most beautiful thing I could to paint,” he explains. “And to me it’s the aspen groves.” He paints them big, often 6 feet high, with foreground tree trunks a foot across. From there the vibrantly colored, thickly textured image recedes, as the artist puts it, “like a life-sized window into the Rocky Mountains,” through grasses, flowers, and trees.

Mainly self-taught, Arkansas-born Matthews tried his hand at painting after he designed an artist’s home and the two became friends. The architect absorbed ideas and later honed his skills on painting trips to Europe and Mexico. His auspicious gallery debut in Little Rock featured 48 largely landscape and still-life works. On opening night, they all sold. Not long afterward Matthews called his architectural clients and told them he was changing careers. “I couldn’t do both,” he says. “I never looked back.”

Today the artist, 42, has a pickup truck, four-wheeler, and small boat outfitted for sketching, painting, and photo trips to gather material for studio work. The mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado are favorite destinations. “I enjoyed architecture, but I love painting,” he says. Matthews’ work is at Gallery at 822 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM; Local Colour Gallery, Little Rock, AR; and Patrick Matthews Fine Art Gallery, North Little Rock, AR.

Featured in “Artists to Watch” January 2006