ARTIST'S PORTRAIT * PATRICIA VAN ESSCHE


Patricia at work (can you believe she's a mother of 3?)


A beautifully colorful pattern designed by Patricia


One of Patricia's sketches for J. McLaughlin


A charming interior sketch by Patricia


Devoted mother Patricia pictured here with her 3 children.


Today I want to feature a profile on a friend and fellow artist, Patricia van Essche. Patricia is not only a very talented artist, in several mediums, but also a fascinating personality as well. She was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky in a very nurturing family of 7 children. She attended the highly touted University of Cincinnati's School of Design, Art and Architecture, where she was the recipient of "The Golden Brush Award". Following her education, she worked for 15 years in NYC as a designer and design director for Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne and Ralph Lauren. She now runs her own business, PVE Design, based in Westchester County, NY. She is married and has 3 wonderful children of her own now. She somehow manages to keep many plates spinning successfully at once. She balances her first priority as a dedicated wife and mother, with a successful career in illustration, design and decorative painting. She also sneaks in time for volunteer work, tennis, school activities and teaching at her church. Something tells me that growing up in a large family somehow helped prepare her for a life that is very full, if not challenging, at times. Patricia is a warm and giving lady who exudes class, style, talent and, most importantly, a very giving spirit. She was kind enough to take some time out of her crazy busy schedule to answer a few questions for me.

What is your earliest memory of being involved with the artistic process?
My earliest memory is what you might call "bittersweet". I entered a contest in elementary school and had to sketch a still life, which I did of a vase holding "bittersweet". I remember the intensity of trying to make it look very life-like. Well, the judges said that "it looked like a copy"! I was heartbroken, yet soon realized the importance of realizing one's "own" style. Perhaps my quest for making something real taught me a valuable lesson: that we really have to see something from our own eyes and then interpret it into our own unique style.
I also think that artists are truly born with the gift to create, and finding the medium of your choice to master is a life-long quest. Listening to that "inner voice" and following its' guidance is also very important.
Which artists have inspired and influenced you the most?
That's a difficult question, because there are so many artists that I admire! They are somewhat of a mixed bag because I have always been fascinated with art and fashion. I love the work of John Singer Sargent and admire his famous painting, "Madame X" - love his use of light. Another is Coco Chanel for her brilliant design and style for fashion that still inspires artists and designers today. I also adore ultra modern art and would love a "Stella!" One day one of my twin sons came home from school and asked,"Mom, are we related to van Gogh?"
What do you find is your greatest challenge as an artist?
One of the greatest challenges is to dedicate yourself as an artist to art; by working at it, pursuing it with gusto as an athlete masters his sport or game. As an artist, one of the most difficult things to realize is that you are going to have hard days getting to know your style and also mastering it. I am taking an oil painting class and it is hard - sometimes I feel frustrated and then it all just starts to make sense. Painting in oil and doing the illustrations that I sell are related and yet completely different. The biggest challenge is that, as a working artist, art and ideas are not free. People think that just because you have "talent" that you can share it for free. Free has an audience for worthwhile causes, yet I work very hard to make a living at what I do. With that said, I have been extremely fortunate to do what I love and that is priceless!
Do you have a nickname?
I do. My sisters called me "Treeba" when I started to sprout long, tree legs. Also, when I was growing up in Kentucky, I was called "Trish". When I came to New York, I listed my name as "Patricia" in all of my interviews. This is my real name, the one I love and prefer, given me because I was born on St. Patrick's Day! I am one of 7 children and we all have long or double names. Imagine calling ALL of us for supper!
If you could go anywhere in the world on an all-expenses-paid trip, where would it be and what would you do?
I would go around the world on my own private jet, accompanied by my family. I would stop at every museum, feeding my passion for Art History! (I would also love to have a camera crew in tow, filming it all LIVE!)
If you could host a dinner for any 3 people from the past OR present, who would they be?
I guess I can't say" my 3 children", even though I really would! So, the people I would love to "break bread with" (I can't narrow it down to 3 !) are Mary Cassatt, Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour, Ghandi and Mother Theresa. How's that for a "power lunch"? Can I invite you, too? I promise to use my good stuff!! Linens, crystal, china and silver! I had better go plan "le menu"!!

You can read more about Patricia on her website: http://www.pvedesign.com/