“Definition” by Patty Beaton on display at Lyric Theatre

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Patty Beaton works on a new piece in her home studio in Cadillac.

By Barb Parchman

for Art Gallery of Swift Current

“I love to paint. It enables me to process things,” says abstract painter, Patty Beaton. The newly emerging artist, originally from Michigan, now calls the small community of Cadillac her home.

“I’m really influenced by my surroundings. I think Saskatchewan is so beautiful, just the vastness and openness. There’s less disturbance, less impact here than a lot of places.”

Beaton is the featured artist at Swift Current’s Lyric Theatre until April 24. A special afternoon coffeehouse on April 12 will allow the abstract painter to meet people interested in her work.

The theatre walls have been developed into exhibition space to showcase local artists. The Art Gallery of Swift Current has been displaying large scale two dimensional art pieces at the theatre in conjunction with the Blenders concert series and with the generous support of local sponsors.

“It’s the first time we’re having a dedicated event for an artist at the Lyric. It’s such a unique location,” says Kim Houghtaling, curator for Art Gallery of Swift Current. “This is a special occasion for the artist to meet the public.”

Beaton has only been doing abstract painting since 2004; however the up-and-coming artist draws from years of experience with house painting and historic restoration work. Buying a house to restore in Cadillac on eBay led to the adventure of coming to Canada in 2006.

“We had to live in a tent in the house when we first came because there was no roof,” Beaton confides. Instead of selling the property, Beaton has made it her home studio. The transplanted American says she is no stranger to Canada as her dad’s family is from Ontario.

“I started with house paints and I bought thrift store paintings and would paint over them,” says Beaton of her humble beginnings in the art world. “I would use any surface I could find to paint on; like windows or clapboard. I’ve done work on linen with natural juices.”

She was recommended to make the switch to professional paint on the advice of another abstract artist. Beaton says she had some difficulty getting accustomed to Golden acrylic-based paints because their consistency and flow are so different from house paint.

“I like the house paints but of course they don’t last like the professional paints do,” says Beaton.

Beaton says a lot of the work is instinctual and she’s learned to recognize that when inspiration hits, she needs to act on it. She works on her paintings from all angles as she says a good abstract works in all directions.

“There’s as much composition in these pieces as in figurative works. It takes a lot of time to get the composition right. With abstract art, you just know when you’re done. The farther you go, the more risk there is,” Beaton explains.

“It’s like doing five paintings in one. Every layer has to integrate with the other layers. That’s what makes it dimensional and then there’s also the texture, which adds another dimension.”

Beaton shares that having a first show is somewhat nerve wracking. “There’s a lot more pressure than just putting them up in my home.”

“Patty has really accelerated in her first few years of practice,” says Houghtaling. “She gets what she’s doing and she knows where she is going.”

Beaton says she’s extremely thankful for the support she gets from Cadillac, adding that people will often give her their old coffee cans and jam jars. She is working on a new project with local hotel owner, Linda Sherwick. Former hotel rooms are decorated featuring Beaton’s artwork in combination with Sherwick’s furniture refinishing projects. While the project is still in the finishing stages, the public will be invited to browse the rooms and can make purchases from the displays. Beaton has recently joined the SW Quest, a local non-profit organization that supports artists in southwest Saskatchewan. She also has her work on the Saatchi art website.

“This is all new to me,” says the introspective painter. “I came at this later in life and I never thought I would be here but I just love it.”

Everyone is welcome to celebrate “Definition” by Patty Beaton on Sat., April 12 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lyric Theatre. Walk and Talk tour with the artist and curator, hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and music by Michael Eckert-Lyngstad. Admission is free. Phone 306-778-2736 for more info.

Organizations: Lyric Theatre, Art Gallery of Swift Current

Geographic location: Swift Current, Cadillac, Michigan

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