Patrick Kitson’s formal art training began at the age of nine when he studied with and was influenced by three well-respected artists: internationally known sculptor Donald DeLue (whose powerful, monumental works depicting American heroes have graced government buildings, churches, museums, and national parks); painter F. Travers Neidlinger; and nationally known illustrator Peter Carras. It was here that Kitson first learned to appreciate the impor-tance of an artistic community with each of these artists maintaining studios directly next to his childhood home. These three creative professionals provided Kitson with a nurturing artistic environment that encouraged him to explore and learn without boundaries.

It was DeLue who taught Kitson to respect the complex nature in all living creatures; to understand the underlying form, structure, and minute detail found in every human, plant and animal. Kitson would spend hours watching him sculpt, observing DeLue’s immense appreciation for the human form. Says Kitson, "He would actually sculpt his figures from the inside out, first building the skeleton, then attaching the bone and muscle, and finally laying the skin on. It was amazing to see him give life to each of his pieces. The respect he would show to each of his works, and the crafts-manship behind them, is something that is still with me today. DeLue was a man of enormous conviction and talent with style and vision for his art that was all his own. A quote from DeLue sums up the philosophy behind his work and was a concept that he instilled in me early on in my life:

'In my work I try to express what I feel about life and art. I believe art is eternal because through art, men have striven to conquer time by immortalizing the deeper meaning of their lives. The search for these meanings and the embodiment in enduring works of art require a profound integrity of purpose and love of craftsmanship, undistracted by the transient winds and styles of the day..’”

A love of nature and wildlife was discovered and cultivated at an early age, as well. Kitson was fortunate enough to have experienced some of America's most treasured wilderness and was inspired largely by a trip to Yellowstone National Park where he was able to immerse himself in the majesty of the natural world firsthand. Kitson developed a deep appreciation for the sublime in nature, realizing that within the landscapes, there existed an unmistakable nobility and grace, both of which he connected with on a very visceral level. At this point, he also began to realize his concern for environmental issues and observed humankind's encroachment upon not only the country's wild spaces, but also the farmlands in his own backyard. This issue eventually became an underlying theme which he has explored and incorporated into his paintings using his own personal perspective to lend a "voice" to the natural world.

These formative experiences culminated in Kitson's decision to pursue art as a career. He went on to receive a BFA in Illustration from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and had his first gallery showing in Princeton, New Jersey, just one month after graduation. At the age of 23, Patrick was invited to exhibit his work at Prestige Gallery in Canada alongside several world-renowned wildlife artists including Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders and John Seerey-Lester.

A major influence on Kitson's work in more recent years has been the Hudson River School and the Luminist painters who followed. John Frederick Kensett, Frederic Edwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt all contributed to the direction Kitson's work has taken.

The Hudson River School's tradition was founded on the spiritual ideals of painter Thomas Cole with regard to the harmony between humans and nature--that nature is noble, a refuge both spiritually and physically. Cole believed that an artist must reach beyond an exact depiction of nature to a realistic internal representation, to capture the spirit of the scene and to present something to the viewer that moves him in a spiritual way.

Using these guiding principles and his medium of choice, oil on panel, Kitson employs his innate sensitivity to the subtleties of lighting and texture to explore the natural world, bringing to the viewer the minute and oftentimes over-looked details in nature which are so important to the visual narrative. He encourages the viewer to look beyond the surface of the artwork to the living and breathing world that is not evident at first glance.

In 1999, Kitson's work was shown in two prestigious international magazines. He was the featured artist in an article entitled, Fostered in Fine Art, in the May/June 1999 issue of Wildlife Art News, the premier magazine on wildlife and landscape art. Wildlife Art News also included him in an issue featuring several artists who were creating ground-breaking work and should be followed closely in the new millennium. Kitson was also one of twenty-five artists featured in the August 1999 issue of the magazine, U.S. Art, in an article called Introductions, also written to showcase talent to watch in the coming years. In the August 2006 issue of American Art Collector, Kitson was featured in a lengthy article that highlighted both his paintings and his artistic philosophies and methodologies. As an additional honor, Kitson was one of several artists featured in the recently released book, The Four Seasons of Chester County: The Artists, by Red Hamer, a photographic exploration of the rich artistic history of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where Kitson currently maintains his studio.

During the past 23 years, his work has been shown at galleries and public exhibitions nationwide and is included in numerous corporate and private collections.


Artist's Statement

The driving force behind my work is deeply personal and addresses a very basic need I have to respond visually to what I experience on a daily basis. Researching new paintings is a constant and unconscious process for me as I move about my everyday life. I keep a sketchbook and camera with me at all times to record what I see and experience moment-to-moment; these experiences are then translated onto the board as I explore the compositions of form, light, patterns, and texture that I perceive in nature.

My standard palette utilizes 7 basic colors to which I introduce additional colors minimally, as needed. I keep the use of these colors very simple, focusing on tonal gradations and values of hues. I find this maintains a harmony in my paintings, giving the landscapes a tranquil effect while creating the illusion of a natural three-dimensionality on a two-dimensional surface.

Following are two passages regarding John Frederick Kensett's work that seem to encompass my approach toward composition, paint application, and lighting:

“[The} painting's concern with formal simplicity, with the poetry of light as reflected in sky and water, with silence, intimacy, and a contemplative quietism are all well within the canon of luminism.” 1

“Kensett used light as a unifying force; it seems to suffuse everything equally.he achieved a subtle range of color and light effects within a very narrow compass.” 2

My paintings are a record of my experiences and ideas, an expression of heart and personal truth. My hope is to draw viewers into those experiences and move them to “walk” through each painting, realizing the majesty and divinity of the natural world, creating their own personal response, their own consciousness, to what they are seeing; perhaps even to come away changed in some manner.

1. (Source: John Frederick Kensett: An American Master, by John Paul Driscoll & John K. Howat. Published by Worcester Norton)

2. (Source: American Painting, by Donald Goddard. Published by Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc.)