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IDAL Instructor Biography
Patricia Swanson
Patricia's painting career began in the theatre in 1977, first studying scene painting while a student at The College of William and Mary; where she graduated with a B.A. degree in Theatre and Speech in 1981.  She continued her theatre training as a student on full scholarship at The British American Acting Academy in London, England.  Then in 1986, she began to translate her creative skills into decorative painting while living and working as an actor in NYC.  Patricia's acting career enjoyed twelve successful seasons appearing in theatres in New England (working with such luminaries as Christopher Walken, Sigourney Weaver, Nathan Lane, Allison Janney and many others). And today, she records voice overs for scripted podcasts in her spare time.

During her career in decorative artistry, Patricia has studied at a number of American studios: The Day Studio, The Faux Institute, Faux Effects Studio, Faux Works, Dundean Studio, The Finishing Source; and also attending a professional artisan's class at Atelier Nadai in France.  Over the years she has had the pleasure of studying with such Master Artists as Patrick LeHayne, Michel Nadai, Carolina D'Ayala Valva, and Pierre LeFumat.

She worked as a Decorative Artist in NYC for 12 years, then in 1998 moved to Tucson, Arizona - where her solid training and experience gave rise to the creation of Finishes First. Patricia has also enjoyed teaching classes for many years at Pima College and other locations (her popular "Faux for Walls" and "Faux Marble" classes have garnered unanimous "excellent" student ratings.)

A long-time member of IDAL, in 2005, Patricia was accepted as a member of the prestigious International Decorative Artist's Salon, a yearly gathering of 100 of the finest decorative artists from 30 countries around the world. As a member of Salon 2006, a panel of Patricia's work was exhibited at the Escher Museum of the Queen's Palace at The Hague in the Netherlands.  In 2009, Patricia created a 1/6 scale room heavily decorated in grottesca, and finely detailed to replicate a circa-1860 Venetian boudoir. This charming piece was exhibited in the Salon at Museo Storico in Bergamo, Italy.  Then in April 2010, Patricia completed a faux pietre dure panel (which was exhibited at the Versailles Town Hall (in France.) Her work has also been viewed at Salon exhibitions in Tokyo, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Petersburg Russia, Seattle, Lecce, Leeuwarden, Chamonix and other venues.

Her gouache painting "Circle of Fifths" is on permanent exhibit at the Tucson Music Museum. Patricia's residential and commercial decorative painting work has been featured in numerous magazines including: Tucson Home, Tucson Lifestyle and Tucson Home and Garden magazine, as well as Faux Effect's World  and a number of other publications. In 2020, Patricia was named “Decorative Artist of the Year, for Arizona” by Build Magazine.
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