Monday, September 17, 2012

71st Annual Juried Exhibition: Patrick Crofton

Alex, oil on three copper panels, 6 x 6 inches
I trained originally in South Africa as a graphic designer, and a lot of the restrictions of the adverising industry - extremely small scale, random cropping and folding, translation of color images into monochrome - I've tended to retain in my work. Much of my painting is done on metal panels, which I like not only for their contemporary feeling, but also for the historical association: the Romans made exquisite miniature portraits painted on gold and covered with glass, and Dutch artists prized copper as a smooth surface impervious to damp or warping.

After working in advertising for many years, first in Cape Town then New York,  I moved to Philadelphia to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. I'm now represented here by Artists' House Gallery in Old City.

Most of the panels I use for painting are zinc and copper etching plates, although I've also used steel. I sometimes treat the plates with acid for a textured, corroded surface but usually I sand for a slight key for retention, and then use either a transparent lacquer or an opaque aerosol metal primer depending on whether I want the metal exposed. The plates are cut to size on a jump shear and reassembled for the image to be transferred. My portraits are always based on my own photographs which I've either then redrawn or manipulated in Photoshop. 

Liebesfreud String Quartet, oil on 3 zinc panels, 8 x 24 inches

Pete triptych - oil on 3 steel panels, 4 x 10 inches

I use a fairly thin mixture of oil paint, linseed oil and oil of spike lavender initially, gradually phasing out the mediums in favor of pure paint. Sometimes a certain amount of oiling-out is necessary to restore the depth of darker colors. I like to bring the image to varying levels of development when painting; in some areas I'll take the rough oil sketch no further, while other passages I'll refine to a higher degree of finish. Often, I'll sand the painting down to the bare metal to imply that the piece has been handled, be it roughly or tenderly.

S.S. United States - oil on copper panel, 9 x 6 inches

iPod - oil on zinc panel 9 x 7 inches
Ultimately I value my academic roots, but photo-realism doesn't interest me as a personal goal; although I respect and admire the technique I prefer to give my viewer's eye something to complete.

While reconstructing my family tree recently I became interested in ancestral images, and plan a series which respond to the formal court portraits as well as to more casual snapshots in old albums.

Spring Garden - oil on 4 zinc panels,  20 x 15 inches
For more information about my work, visit

by Patrick Crofton

Patrick's work is featured in Woodmere Art Museum's  71st Annual Juried Exhibition.

About Woodmere's 71st Annual Juried Exhibition: 
Woodmere's 71st Annual Juried Exhibition, juried by artist Alex Kanevsky, will feature works in a variety of media from 46 artists living within 50 miles of the Museum. Works were chosen to create a cohesive presentation that explores contemporary ideas within the arts of Philadelphia. In conjunction with the juried show, Kanevsky's own work will be on view in the exhibition Alex Kanevsky: Some Paintings and Drawings, and the artist has also selected some of Woodmere's works of art for display in Selections from the Collection.


  1. How gorgeous! Though I know I can't imagine the work it has taken you to reach your current level of ability, I'm still jealous. Thanks for your hard work, and your beautiful work. Inseparable, I guess.

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  3. Nice work Paddy! I love the way you describe your process. All these images are beautiful!!!!

  4. Your work has a contemporary feel with an historical genesis. It is beautiful without being cloying, realistic without being photographic. I am deeply impressed with it and consider myself fortunate to be acquainted with your work.