Huntington Beach Artist Who Gave Up Teaching and 401K to Pursue Career in Fine Arts

A Huge Leap: Art returns to the forefront of Andrea Patrie’s life

fter a decade of teaching children with special needs, the Huntington Beach artist cashed in her 401(k), told her horrified children that she was going back to school, and enrolled in an MFA program. That leap of faith in 2013—gambling on her fi nancial future and trusting her own ability, even when she modestly claims to be “completely lost 99 percent of the time”—leads to Patrie’s graduation in May. During the lean times, her children turned from reluctant fellow travelers to active participants, serving as “place holders” or models for her figurative work. “When you paint a model, it’s the same as painting a still life,” she says. “You’re just painting what you’re seeing. I take liberties, but it’s mostly observational. You interpret their energy.” The process that led to “The Grand Odalisque (Homage to Ingres)” included hundreds of preparatory sketches. The canvas took three weeks of intensive, even violent, work. “The image was not there. I had to wrestle with her,” says Patrie, who stripped the canvas and started again. “In the end, I found her.”

Painting: “The Grand Odalisque (Homage to Ingres)” 2015, oil on canvas, 48 by 56 inches. Contact Patrie at to visit her studio. You can see more of Patrie’s work at

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