The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Dora Patin, who took first place in the Kensington category at the Paint the Town Labor Day Show. MAA has traditionally celebrated that piece as our unofficial best in show.
Dora joins a long line of artists who have claimed the prize, including our current president, Jennifer Barlow and last year's winner, Alden Schofield. She sat down with us to talk more about her piece and what's coming up in her art life:
MAA: How did you learn that you took first place in the Kensington category?
Dora Patin: I was at my daughter’s soccer game when I received a call from show manager Paula Zeller letting me know that I received the Bertha Clum Award.
MAA: Who was the first person you told?
DP: My husband and my daughter.
MAA: Tell us a little more about the piece: Why did you decide to do a trompe l'oeil piece?
DP: I’ve entertained the idea to try this genre for a while. I follow some trompe l’oeil artists on Instagram whose work is amazing and they were one source of my inspiration. I also was inspired by last year’s Bertha Clum award winner, Alden Schofield's, Kensington Train Station painting Passage of Time. It was so skillful and creative.
I decided to paint the Kensington Train Station again, as I painted it for the past couple of Paint The Town Shows. However, I wanted to make it different than my previous paintings, a little more unconventional. Making it in trompe l’oeil style gave me a great opportunity to do that.
I love Kensington’s historic district and I wanted to honor that. I intended my painting to have the meaning of my appreciation of historic preservation. To do this I wanted to have an old and a new photo of the train station. I used my photo I took in 2022 and I searched the internet for old photos, which I found on the Kensington Historical Society’s website. They gave me permission to use it in my painting.
After trying several different set ups, I finally came up with the one in the painting. The actual painting took me about 3-4 weeks from start to finish. First, I drew it on paper and then I transferred my drawing onto my cradled panel. I painted a couple of layers. I did both, drawing and painting from life.
MAA: What practices or mindsets do you put in place to keep yourself painting regularly?
DP: Life is quite busy with three kids and two dogs. I’m trying to do my best to paint as much as I can. Having a supportive husband is very helpful. Talking to friends who are in the same situation often helps to get inspired to go on and try even harder. Besides, I have so many ideas I’d like to paint. I’m not sure if a lifetime is enough.
MAA: Do you have any upcoming shows or art plans in the coming months?
DP: I try to exhibit my work as much as I can in the DMV area. MAA gives great opportunities to constantly show some of my paintings. I’m also always on the lookout to enter juried exhibitions. In the spring I’m planning to participate in the Affordable Art Fair in New York City.
Currently I’m exploring the trompe l’oeil genre. I had fun painting my last piece and I intend to create a series. My main goal is to always improve and to create work that is meaningful and high quality.