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Artist Interview: Merging Therapy and Painting with Patricia Ortiz


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Patricia Ortiz in her studio in Mexico.

In the captivating realm where art and therapy intersect, there exists an artist whose work is nothing short of mesmerizing. Patricia Ortiz, born in 1991 in Mexico, fearlessly embarks on a profound exploration of the human psyche through her mesmerizing oil paintings. With an academic background enriched by a Master's in Art Therapy from the renowned Metafora Art Therapy Centre in Barcelona and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Therapy from Emmanuel College in Boston, Patricia brings a distinctive perspective to her craft, forging a path that transcends mere visuals. Her art is a journey that invites viewers to delve into the depths of their inner worlds, sparking healing, self-discovery, and transformation. Drawing inspiration from the timeless legacies of Caravaggio and Rubens, Patricia's ethereal portraits serve as metaphors that plunge deep into the complexities of human emotions, beckoning all to embark on an artistic odyssey into the profound and thought-provoking world of Patricia Ortiz.


Patricia has exhibited in a variety of solo and group exhibitions across the globe, from ETRA Galería in Monterrey to the International Contemporary Brussels Art Fair, leaving an indelible mark on the global art scene. Ortiz's exhibition history shines with recognition, including being a semi-finalist in the 16th ARC Salon Competition and a finalist in prestigious competitions such as the Boynes Emerging Artist Award and the Séptima Muestra Iberoamericana de Arte Miniatura y Pequeño Formato. Her dedication to artistic growth is evident through courses like Conscious Creativity and Fine Art Mentoring, Methods and Techniques of Bouguereau, and more. Notably, Patricia's work has found its place in private collections across Mexico, Guatemala, the USA, Canada, Spain, and even Saudi Arabia, reflecting the global appeal and resonance of her artistry.


As we eagerly anticipate the re-opening of our Little Venice Salon doors to exhibition visitors during London's Frieze Week on October 11th, we have a special treat in store. Patricia Ortiz is one of the new artists whose artwork will form a captivating part of the evolving "Art Collector's Home" exhibition hosted by the Nomad Salon. In anticipation of revealing the newly added artwork, we invite you to get to know Patricia through an exclusive interview that delves into her artistic journey, her inspirations, and the transformative power of art therapy. Join us on this enlightening odyssey into the boundless canvas of emotion and artistic expression.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

Please tell us about your background and what inspired you to become an artist.


Since a young age, I have been heavily interested in understanding the human mind and the emotional resolution the visual arts facilitate. I have always used creativity for self-expression because verbal communication was difficult for me. For these reasons, my career choices were natural; I became a clinically trained Art Therapist. I learned to express myself in college by exercising Art Therapy methodologies, using exploration, symbolism, colors, and different mediums, all without a specific technique. I thrived in the freedom of exploring pure artistic playfulness.


I worked in mental health settings for eight years, working with adults diagnosed with moderate to severe mental illness. As I began maturing and diving into mental health, my ideas shifted towards more concrete forms of work. This led me to learn the technical skills required for doing realism. In 2018, I was so burned out by work and personal issues that I decided to pursue a full-time career in painting.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

What does a day in your life as an artist look like?


My days as an artist have changed now that I am a mother. I used to wake up at 7:00 a.m. and paint for 8 to 10 hours daily. My time is limited now, so I really need to focus to get the most work done when Emma, my baby, is sleeping. I have approximately 3 hours a day to work on my artistic practice, including doing readings, taking notes, sketching, practicing my drawing technique, and painting. I constantly reflect and consider everything I experience to integrate it into my artwork. Even though I am not painting, my artist button is always "on." I constantly reflect, feel, dream, and imagine brushstrokes, figures, dialogues, ideas, etc. To grow as an artist, I find it essential to keep learning from senior artists, so at least one day a week, I focus on my continuing education.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

Can you share your process of creating a painting?


I continuously analyze and organize my thoughts to find meaning in my experiences. I find inspiration in my most personal and honest feelings and really delve deep into my mental and emotional states. From there, I write down the physical sensations that these current thoughts or memories generate, and the image emerges in my mind. Then, I do an initial sketch to figure out the overall composition, which elements to include or exclude, the color palette and technique that I want to work with, and finally, the light and shadow contrasts for the overall mood I want to embody. Afterward, I choose the veil- the fabric's color and texture play a significant role.


I take original photographs, or my husband (who is my major collaborator) helps me with my close direction. I use myself as a model primarily because I am working through a personal process, and sometimes, I would not connect to my idea if I used someone else. With this method, my body speaks my truth. Afterward, I transfer the drawing onto the canvas and adjust lights, shadows, and tones based on the reference photographs and sketches. I work in layers, at least four to five layers in each painting, depending on the technique I am using. I might do a grisaille or underpainting and then use various glazing techniques or do more of alla prima style.


Embarking on the intricate journey of motherhood, I find myself immersed in a whirlwind of emotions that are proving to be invaluable to my creative process. These diverse sentiments, ranging from joy and fear to exhaustion and introspection, serve as rich inspiration, infusing depth, texture, and authenticity into my artistic practice.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

Having a foundation in Art Therapy, your artistic focus centers on the exploration of the human psyche through lifelike portraits, frequently featuring women, including self-portraits, adorned in various colored veils. Could you provide insight into the symbolism of the veil and the meaning behind each of these distinct colors?


The veil is an evolving symbol in my portraits. They started as a direct representation of ghost-like figures living inside our minds. Then, it shifted towards representing a struggling mind's flow, beauty, and softness. It also represents the hiding and covering up of the authentic self, of being unable to express yourself as a woman fully and feeling trapped in your own mind. As time passed, the veil represented the structures of consciousness experienced from the first-person point of view. It developed into symbolizing a particular emotion or trauma that became a part of my body, sometimes taking over entirely. Afterward, the healing journey of that trauma dissolves and starts revealing the human figure underneath who is becoming whole again, not a red ghost anymore. The red veil became a signature of my work.


I also started doing see-through veils to represent a revelation of having more insight into seeing my internal self more clearly, recognizing myself, and becoming more aware. Overall, the veil represents the emotion of the painting, and I recognize that my symbolic intentions are not monolithic, so I also like to leave it open to original public interpretations.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

While your art practice is influenced by the legacies of Caravaggio and Rubens, I'm curious to know if there are contemporary artists who currently inspire your work. If there are, could you share with us the names of these living artists who have an impact on your artistic journey?


Caravaggio's chiaroscuro and dramatic scenery have been a huge influence. Rubens' brushwork technique and compositions have been an inspiration insofar as where I aspire to go as an artist and, ultimately, to develop my unique technical skills. Figuratively speaking, William Bouguereau has been a significant influence due to his perfect execution of flesh.


There are three contemporary artists who have had an important impact on my work: Christopher Remmers, Markus Akesson, and Megan Elizabeth Read.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

You recently completed the "Methods and Techniques of Bouguereau" course at The Edinburgh Atelier of Fine Art. Can you share your overall experience with us, and was there a specific technique from the course that stood out to you?


My overall experience at The Edinburgh Atelier of Fine Art was one of a solemn concentration on technique and richness in learning new approaches to painting. Both of my teachers, Leah and Ewan, are very knowledgeable and have a keen pedagogical approach to fine art drawing and painting techniques and creativity. I attended a 15-day personalized course to learn more about Bouguereau's technique on flesh painting. We worked on various aspects, from the color palette, color mixing system, paint application, and brushwork to the added technical value insights from both teachers. What stood out the most to me is understanding what is happening anatomically and understanding the hue-value-chroma relationship to reach the desired result.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

Final question: if you could acquire any piece of art (from a dead or living artist, could be off-market in a museum, etc.), what would it be and why?


It would be Attirement of the Bride by Max Ernst. I am a massive fan of Ernst. His work has caused me intense sensations, awe, and excitement. This piece is imaginative, theatrical, and surrealistic, exploring unconscious elements and the meaning of relationships. I have always wanted to do a re-interpretation of this painting. In fact, I will do it.


Patricia Ortiz, Mexican female artist
Courtesy of the artist

To stay up-to-date with the artist's career, make sure to follow Patricia here:


Instagram: @patriciaortiz.art



If you want to invest in Patricia's career by acquiring her artwork, you can contact me here.

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