Monday, October 16, 2023

Embassy of Ideas Questionnaire: Patricia Schwimmer

It's been a decade since my last interview with the incredibly talented and kind Patricia Schwimmer, an abstract artist and author whose work continues to mesmerize and inspire. During my most recent visit to her and her husband's home, I was once again struck by the warmth and creativity that define this dynamic duo.

Patricia Schwimmer has come a long way since our last encounter in 2013, and her artistic journey has seen remarkable growth and transformation. As we sat down for an update on her life and work, I was delighted to hear about her ever-evolving artistic exploration. Patricia's art has evolved into a fusion of abstract and expressionism, conveying profound emotions and narratives through her unique and vibrant compositions.

Walking through their new home was like stepping into a gallery of Patricia's life. Every room was adorned with her mesmerizing masterpieces, each telling a story and capturing a moment in time. Her use of color, texture, and form continues to be a testament to her innate talent and the tireless effort she invests in her craft.

But Patricia's talents extend far beyond the canvas. She has also taken her gift for storytelling & teaching and transformed it into the written word, becoming an accomplished author. Her book is a reflection of her profound insights and rich imagination, making her an artist both with her brush and with her pen.

Patricia's husband, a creative spirit in his own right, has been a pillar of support throughout her journey. Their genuine hospitality, evident in the sumptuous lunch they prepared for our visit, reflects the grace with which they navigate their artistic endeavors and their life together.

Patricia Schwimmer's decade-long journey is a testament to the unyielding dedication of a creative soul. Her art continues to evolve and inspire, while her warmth and generosity remain constants. It was a privilege to revisit this remarkable artist and author, and I eagerly await what the future holds for her boundless creativity.


DATE: October 1, 2023

NAME: PatriciaSchwimmer

OCCUPATION: Abstract Artist/Author

LOCATION: Collingwood, Ontario


As I stood in front of Patricia Schwimmer's newest works, I couldn't help but be overcome by a rush of emotions. Her abstracts, more exquisite and emotionally charged than ever, brought me to tears. Each piece was a symphony of color, form, and expression, resonating with a depth that touched the very core of my being.

The raw power of Patricia's art, as I observed it up close, was nothing short of breathtaking. Her brushstrokes seemed to dance on the canvas, capturing emotions and stories that words often fail to convey. It was as if each stroke revealed a hidden part of her soul, and in that moment, I felt a profound connection to her work.

These gorgeous masterpieces conveyed a myriad of emotions - from the joy and vibrancy of life to the deep well of human experiences. Patricia's use of color and texture created a visual language that transcended the boundaries of the abstract. The canvases seemed to be alive, pulsating with energy and spirit.

Tears welled up in my eyes, not from sadness, but from a profound sense of beauty and awe. Patricia's ability to create art that is both visually stunning and emotionally evocative is a rare gift. Her work is a testament to the power of abstract art to speak to the depths of the human soul, touching on emotions and experiences that are often difficult to articulate.

My emotional response to Patricia's latest creations only reinforced the fact that she is an artist of extraordinary talent and depth. Her art has the power to move, to inspire, and to connect with those who have the privilege of experiencing it. Patricia Schwimmer's work is a true testament to the enduring impact of abstract art on the human spirit.

And now.....
Here is our interview:

Hello Patricia!  

Tell us why you wanted to be part of the arts? 

Since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to the visual arts. I don’t know if I can say why, it was an inner pull to create.

Tell us about your art? 

Over the last decade I’ve been focused on abstract painting, using acrylic paint, mixed media and collage. I start by activating the canvas with marks and lines, then create layers and layers of paint through the process of adding and editing out. It usually takes months to resolve a piece.

Where do you practice your art? 

I’ve always worked from home.

Why are the arts important to society? 

The arts inspire, uplift, and take us out of the mundane. When society gathers in communal art spaces it can cultivate a sense of community and inspire even more art. Participation in the arts enhances well being and builds confidence. I can’t imagine life without art.

Favorite art film? 

“Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.”

Favorite music? 

Light jazz, but not the chaotic kind.

Fiction or Non-Fiction? 

Both, really. I can get lost in a good story, and I also love artist’s biographies. Even if it is fiction, I look for books where the focus is art related.

Share 3 books you adore and why? 

(1) “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert has so many interesting stories woven into Gilbert’s years observing the workings of the creative process. 

(2) “Ninth Street Women” by Mary Gabriel describes an exciting era in the history of abstract expressionism and the five women who paved the way. 

(3) I was recently gifted the glorious volume “In/Form” by HollyAddi, over 400 pages of colour photographs of her work and process. It’s a visual feast.

Share 2 places you have lived that you loved and why?  

When I lived in Western New York it was known for its great restaurants, piano bars and live theatre venues, all at affordable prices. Buffalo is home to some pretty impressive architecture, and it’s a short drive to Niagara-On-The-Lake, and a daytrip to Toronto. Palm Beach County, FL, on the other hand, is another world; a tropical paradise that offers an embarrassment of riches. It boasts world class art galleries, Worth Avenue, fine dining, and historic landmarks. I’m glad I lived in these big cities when I was younger. It expanded my view of the world.

Where do you spend time on social media? 

I scroll through Instagram almost daily to look at art, but I’m one of those rare birds who doesn’t have a Facebook account.

What advice would you give anyone who wants a career in the arts? 

I’m a pretty practical person, so unless you have unlimited resources, there’s nothing wrong with having a day job so that you can create without the pressure of earning an income from your art. There are all sorts of ways to live an artistic life.

What makes you happy? 

I feel like happiness can be fleeting and temporary, and it is often dependent upon external circumstances. Contentment, on the other hand, is a longer lasting and deeper feeling, at least for me. Being in the creative flow brings on a sense of contentment. So does a walk in the woods.

If you weren’t in the arts, what would you do? 

I’ve had a few different careers over the years, but I’ve always had a keen interest in Interior Design.  I wanted to explore that after high school, but couldn’t find a program near home. Instead, I studied Business and Accounting and many years later got my MA in Psychology; but I still love to create beauty in my own surroundings.   

What is your greatest extravagance? 

I’ve been trying to come up with something extravagant but all I can remember are a few online classes I signed up for that were quite costly.  

Which living person do you most admire? 

Tough question. I’ll have to think about it.

Text, email, or phone call? 

Text for a quick hello, emails for gathering thoughts, and phone calls with a few friends who are willing to chat on the phone. An hour can fly by when discussing art, design, film and philosophy.

Which talent would you most like to have? 

Remember “Bewitched”? Wouldn’t it be awesome to have the ability to twitch your nose like that and materialize anything you want?

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 

My husband Michael. We’ve been through a lot together over the years.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? 

While in Florida I had quite a few art world highs. My work was chosen for The Designer Showhouse in West Palm, displayed at Art Palm Beach, and represented by three galleries over the six years I was there. It was chosen for a photo shoot by Palm Beach Illustrated, and sold on Perigold, a luxury online retailer. But none of these achievements supersede the elation I feel when someone reaches out to me to let me know how much my book, “The Healing Power of Collage” has helped them. I have had random voicemails, emails, and messages on Instagram from readers all over the world. For someone like me, who hopes to live a purposeful life, this is the best possible praise.

What’s next for you? 

I plan to return to a series of photographs where I discover abstract designs in nature and in my surroundings. I’d also like to do some more writing, take a few online classes, and create a series of works on paper influenced by greater simplicity.

What is your most treasured possession? 

My health.

Minimalist or Maximalist? 

Minimalist for sure. Clutter makes me anxious; and there is something so appealing about a few well curated objects thoughtfully placed in a space, a closet with breathing room, an uncluttered calendar with plenty of time to reflect.

What do you value most in your friends? 

Discretion, authenticity, empathy, depth, a sense of humour, warmth, intelligence, emotional maturity, honesty, and a genuine interest in keeping in touch. I guess I have a lot to say about that question, and I hope that I offer these same qualities to my circle of friends.

Who are your favorite Writers? 

I’ve been a reader all my life, so it’s hard to pick favorites, but I have read many of Margaret Atwood’s books, Anne Tyler, Eckhart Tolle, Anna Quindlen, Don Miguel Ruiz, Carolyn Myss, Gary Zukav, poems by Mary Oliver, Rumi, and on and on….

Top 3 films? 

“Love Actually,” “American Beauty,” and “Legally Blonde.” There are so many great films. These three just come to mind quickly.

Favorite live arts performance? 

I love live theatre and a classical ballet performance (not modern ballet, but something along the lines of Swan Lake.) I want to be transported by the sure-footed elegance of the dancers in their enchanting costumery.

Favorite public art? 

David Chihuly’s glass sculptures at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables, FL. Seeing his work nestled among 83 acres of tropical foliage and water features was an unforgettable experience. When he had another exhibit there years later, I had to return.

Favorite museum? 

The museum I spent the most time in was The Albright Knox in Buffalo,NY, before the expansion. It houses some of the greatest works of art from the abstract expressionist movement, and it once had a lovely restaurant overlooking a sculpture garden. A glass of white wine, and the ni├žoise salad made for the perfect way to spend an afternoon, after strolling through the art!

Favorite art gallery? 

Addison Gallery in Delray Beach, FL. I’d wander around in there in my paint splattered clothes after an art class at Old School Square.

Favorite performing arts centre? 

Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. It first opened in 1926 and its French Baroque architecture is the crown jewel of the theatre district.

Most used app? 

It’s a toss up between Instagram and Pinterest.

What is your motto? 

Be kind. You never know what someone is going through.

Describe your personal fashion style? 

Well, country life has simplified my personal wardrobe, but I love the classic elegance of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. It never goes out of style.

Favorite Actor? 

So many…. But Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson come to mind right away.

Favorite Photographer? 

I don’t have a favorite photographer, but a way of photographing known as Miksang (clear seeing.) It’s a contemplative form of photography that focuses on close observation.

Do you believe in aliens? 

Yes, and I wish they’d help us get out of the mess we’ve made.

Coffee or Tea? 

A coffee in the morning, then mint tea in the day.

Who is your hero? 

I’m not much of a hero worshipper, but I admire everyday people doing good in big and little ways. It is going on everywhere, yet the media often choses to ignore it in favor of more sensational stories.

Share 3 people you follow on Instagram? 

Robert Szot, William McClure, Holly Addi.

Who are your 3 favorite Artists? 

Theresa Girard, Madeline Denaro, Hyunmee Lee. It is hard to pick “favorites,” but I consistently love the work of these three women.

Beach, river, ocean, pond or pool? 

A private, freshwater pool in a beautiful setting. (I think my answer would have been different a decade or so ago, when our rivers and beaches were cleaner.)

Favorite colour? 

All things turquoise and blue.

Favorite number? 

333 represents my connection to Divine Spirit.

What kind of birthday cake would you ask for? 

Gluten free vanilla cupcake with lots of icing.

Name 10 people who you’d love to invite to a dinner party and why? 

Since the pandemic my priorities have changed. There is nothing I’d like better than to be in a room with my husband and ten of our closest friends. When living in WNY, we had a monthly salon, where eight of us gathered around the table for good food and conversation. Each person would bring something that inspired them to discuss with the group. Among us were authors, a poet, artists, an architect, and an interior designer. As you can well imagine the evening really charged by batteries. I miss that time.

Thank you so much Patricia!

Find Patricia:





COPYRIGHT 2007-2023 Patti Friday b.1959.

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