This week’s Dan’s Papers cover artist, Patricia Feiler, is a musician and artist based in Mattituck. The North Fork resident is inspired by impressionist music and describes her artwork as impressionist as well.
What is your inspiration for this piece?
Sometimes you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time! I was invited to go on the Committee Boat for a race at the Westhampton Yacht Squadron and this was one of those incredible moments. The atmosphere of a boat race is so exciting! The flurry of preparations and activity before the race just add to it.
What was your process for creating this piece?
There was so much going on at the start and during the race, even on the Committee Boat. They have flags and timers that they are responsible for as the race gets going. I just tried to stay out of their way! I’m in awe of what the sailors know and do out there on the water! I took lots of photos and went back to the yacht club a few times to catch the light, the skies and clouds, then used the experience and my photos as a reference.
Talk a little about how you got started in art and how your career as an artist has shaped your life.
I describe myself as a musician who paints. Having studied music and art in college, I continued to study painting and drawing the whole time I was a music educator in the Eastport and Southold Public Schools. Right after retirement I went back to studying art seriously, at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art with Robert Armetta.
Music is my second language, and having descended from generations of professional musicians, it’s literally in my DNA. There’s a strong connection with music and art. When I’m painting I notice a familiar rhythm in the movement of the brush across the canvas. I feel my work leans toward Impressionism. My work is better seen from a distance because there aren’t a lot of details. It’s up to the viewer to fill those in. I have to stand back to see my own paintings, but I hear them with every brush stroke.
Is there a piece of advice that you received from a mentor that you’ve always remembered?
I had some wonderful teachers that encouraged me and that I will never forget. But in hindsight, yes, there was my 7th grade art teacher in Center Moriches, Nancy Reynolds, who leaned in to look closer at my meager efforts to draw a rose in a vase. Without missing a beat she said, “Draw what you see, not what you know.” That was what I needed to hear. And I say it to myself every time I start a drawing. Every time. And she entered my painting in a student show at the Parrish Art Museum.
How does living and working on the East End affect your artwork?
The changing seasons on the East End are a constant inspiration for me. Sometimes I have to pull my car over to the roadside at the sight of a long shadow across a barn or the mist on a field. I’ve been known to turn back and get my easel and paints. I do a lot of traveling away from the East End, especially in the winter months. It’s thrilling to see the different colors and shape of the land in the Southwest: red earth, sage and desert cactus, and endless skies. The sweltering swamps in the Everglades take me by surprise every time. But when I return to the East End and walk out across the sand dunes at Shinnecock, hearing the waves crashing, and to catch that first glimpse of the ocean…that’s what fills my senses. Creating art is the way I can express that.