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Meet Patrick Saunders

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Saunders.

Hi Patrick, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
After graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute, I spent a decade as an artist at Hallmark Cards before returning to KCAI to accept a faculty position teaching illustration, painting, animation, and web design.

My students voted to honor me with an Educator of the Year award.

Teaching led to a job offer in advertising, where, as a Group Creative Director, I led teams of marketing professionals in New York, San Francisco, and globally, producing advertising for clients such as Colgate-Palmolive, Whole Foods, Hill’s Pet Food, FedEx, Revlon, Southwest Airlines, Tom’s of Maine, Nextel, Skyy, Kashi, and Kellogg’s.

In 2013, I left the advertising world because I wanted to paint full-time. I started Plein air painting, and after some initial success, we were traveling so much that my wife and I made the decision to sell our home and hit the road in an Airstream travel trailer, making art as we toured the country.

This led to awards from numerous nationally-recognized events, including Plein Air Easton, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, Lighthouse Plein Air, Sedona Plein Air, and the Airstream Fine Art Invitational, Maui Plein Air, Plein Air Texas, Plein Air Richmond, and Telluride Plein Air.

As my reputation as an artist grew, I became a sought-after instructor, and I teach painting workshops across the country. I also received a gold medal from the Oil Painters of America in 2021 and was awarded signature membership status with the Portrait Society of America this year.

We first visited San Antonio in our Airstream in 2015, and immediately fell in love with everything about the city – the culture, its diversity, the food, the weather, and its central location. It grabbed our hearts right away, and just never let go. For almost a decade, we found ourselves returning to San Antonio every chance we got.

It became like a home base for our nomadic lifestyle. We’ve been pretty much everywhere, traveling from coast to coast for years, and much as we have loved many of our stops along the way, San Antonio was always the place we wanted to go back to, the place that began to feel like home.

We love it so much that we moved here permanently this year, and are proud and happy to be San Antonians now.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Painting is a challenge that never ends. You’re only as good as your last painting, and it’s easy to fall prey to a gimmick or to repeat yourself in order to sell.

Don’t accept limitations created by yourself or others. You have to continually push yourself forward and keep exploring. If it scares you, paint it.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I believe that art is the act of creation. The result is simply a record of the creative experience. My approach is to try to free myself from preconceived visual beliefs and interpret the world directly before me.

In so doing, I rediscover the colors, textures, and values of everyday life that we otherwise can take for granted. This is what drives me to paint, and what I encourage in my students. I don’t put limits on myself when it comes to the subject matter. Everything that I experience as I move through life is fair game.

My art is the product of diligence in practice. I do not believe in talent. I believe that all of us have the potential to create art if we choose to dedicate ourselves to the pursuit.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
So many aspiring artists tell me that they’re not sure what to paint.

They often look to other artists’ work and mimic what they see, whether it’s the subject matter, style, genre, or technique. While the works of others can often be inspiring, keep in mind that their work comes from their personal experiences.

Get out and see the world for yourself. Find the things that move you, and convey that emotion through your art. Paint what inspires you.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Saunders Fine Arts

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