Patton Blackwell was born on May 6, 1949 in Columbia, South Carolina, and was raised in St Paul Minnesota, where she graduated from The Summit School (1967) and Macalester College (1974) in Cultural Geography. In 1975, Blackwell left for 3 years to travel, work and study in Europe, Israel, Turkey and North Africa. Part of this time was spent studying French Language and Literature at The Sorbonne, working at a vineyard chateau near Bordeaux, living in a Kibbutz in Israel and traveling more intensively in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. In 1980, Blackwell moved to The Experiment in International Living (a multicultural college and living environment) in Brattleboro, Vermont, where she completed her Master’s in Intercultural/International Management (1997), which brought her to Brazil in 1982.
Shortly thereafter, she enrolled in The Escola de Artes Visuais in Rio de Janeiro where she studied painting with Luiz Aquila, Claudio Kuperman, and John Nicholson, and in 1986 moved her studio from Copacabana to Rua Tavares Bastos, a street in one of the historical areas of Rio. Blackwell traveled extensively in Brazil and South America as well as the United States and Japan during this time. In 1996, Blackwell returned to Camden, South Carolina where she lives and works and has just completed construction on her new studio.
Referencing the works of such artists as Willem de Kooning, and Wassily Kandinsky, Blackwell’s paintings recall the physicality and emotion of de Kooning’s animated brushwork while evoking the spiritual resonance of Kandinsky’s later work. Blackwell’s abstract paintings reflect the lush landscape of Brazil, and her personal experience of a place in time that connects us to the universal. Her most recent work was inspired by time spent on the Aegean Sea, capturing the light, the intensity of color and the fluidity of the water, creating a mosaic of swirling paint that is both static and moving in its beauty and power.