Patrick Livingstone Biography
Early Inspiration…….I was born in Lurgan, Ireland, in 1956. I spent all my childhood summers in Donegal, in the thatched cottage of my maternal grandparents, literally a stone’s throw from the sea. I explored constantly, and wanted to draw all the wonderful birds and animals I discovered as a kid.
I was amazed to look at the art of professional artists, their birds and animal drawings looked so real, I dreamed of becoming a professional artist myself.
Well it’s fifty years later, and I did it! Here’s the story how:
I began my painting career at the tender age of four, and was enormously encouraged by the reaction of my mother, to my somewhat immature efforts. This led to me practicing my watercolor technique to a degree not usually seen in one so young, with the aim of astonishing my parents further.I would like to tell you that my first effort at portraiture met with overwhelming acclaim, but that would not be true. In fact my mother, who had been so supportive of all my previous artistic endeavours, took one look at my eight year old effort to capture the likeness of my brother Brian, and was far from impressed.
My mother suggested in fact that I focus on wildlife, and the other various subjects that interested me, and forget about drawing or painting portraits. Being just a child, and trusting my mother, who was by the way, incredibly intelligent, I followed her advice for many years.
I sold my first painting at the age of twelve, in 1968, and immediately spent the money on a set of oil paints. My art teacher instilled a solid sense of composition and design, but it was the renowned landscape artist Cecil Maguire, who guided me through my early years as an oil painter, inspiring a love of classical technique.
I have lived in Bordeaux for twenty one years now, but forty three years ago, I moved to to London at the age of nineteen, hoping to make my fortune! I soon realized that the art schools of the day seemed only to encourage work of an abstract nature, and I knew I would have to continue my training alone. I did this by spending hours in both the National Gallery of London and in the Tate, studying the techniques of the old masters.It was in this way that I developed my understanding of the methods employed by the old masters over hundreds of years of oil painting.
After five years of this study, supporting myself by various occupations ranging from publishing to house painting, my work was recognized by Christies Contemporary Art and London Contemporary Art, who went on to publish over sixty of my watercolors over the next ten years, in a series of limited edition prints that have long since sold out. My first major commission was to paint all seven of the marine paintings that hang in the boardroom of Visa’s European headquarters in Chester, England.
Twenty one years ago we moved to the southwest of France, where I bought an old stone house with a large garden, surrounded by vines, close to the port of Bordeaux. After four years of living in this wonderful part of the world, Regina and I were rewarded by the arrival of Sophie, astonishingly now 17! My how time flies!
It is here in the French countryside that I’ve built my most recent studio where I am now focused on creating the world’s biggest resource for kids of all ages to learn how to draw animals.
Why do I use only French Arches paper for all my watercolors ?
ARCHES is the only paper mill in the world to gelatin size its watercolour paper “to the core”. This preserves the lustre and transparency of the colours whilst preventing paints from penetrating the paper. It allows superposing of washes and gives it added strength to resist erasing and scratching without tearing or linting.
Made the traditional way in France, on a cylinder mould, this paper has a harmonious natural grain.
Its composition with long fibres of 100% cotton gives the paper its strength, beauty, a natural, lasting whiteness and an inimitable touch