Eric E. Fitzpatrick --A Biography.
"An evolution in progress...."
Eric E. Fitzpatrick was born in Roanoke Virginia in 1953. He grew up in a loving and traditional family that still resides in the valley today. His early childhood activities showed an artistic inclination (he was constantly drawing and building...), yet as a youth he never imagined that one day it would be his profession. Adolescence saw him take a more traditional path with involvement in team sports and student government (he was President of his class and President of the Student Body at Patrick Henry High School) and a movement toward political Science when he enrolled at Virginia Tech.
It was at this point that his life took a major turn. After taking several introductory drawing classes, he was struck with the "wonder" of artistic expression. He felt that he had found his true calling, and with the encouragement and blessing of his parents, switched his major to art. In 1975 he earned his B.A. in studio art, and came back to Roanoke where he lived with his parents while getting his career started.
The early days were tough, and Eric painted billboards, designed T-shirts and did house portraits to make ends meet.At this point he made it his goal to someday be the most successful artist in the region, and within a decade his prints of local landmarks along with his vibrant watercolors fulfilled this goal.(Eric has been voted the best artist in the region in every poll taken since they began in the 1980s.)
Having achieved his goal of financial success and local notoriety, Eric found it to be "hollow".Though his prints and watercolors were highly in demand, he felt he needed to follow his heart away from the profitable, and toward artistic fulfillment. Education seemed to be a way back to the fine arts. Five summers spent painting in Italy's Tuscany Region were crucial to his development, as was a month of workshops per year during the period from 1988-98. During this time Eric started taking classes in opaque media, soon developing an expertise in casein, pastel and acrylic.
Still, over the years Eric had noticed in the great museums, oil paintings were the works that truly moved him. This realization led him finally to start experimenting in oils. In 1999, the renewed focus on fine art required all of his time, so Eric started turning down all offers of commission so that he could concentrate on his artwork exclusively. This brave move yielded results. After years of feeling "fairly awkward " in the medium, August of 2002 saw him "break through " to exciting and free flowing oils for the first time. It happened on the Coast of Maine and continued as he painted on the Island of Monhegan and later on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Today Fitzpatrick continues to follow his heart and feels that his best work lies before him.Says Eric," It feels as if I am just starting to understand some of the major principles of painting, and it is thrilling to be able to express things that were technically and conceptually impossible for me before...I can't wait to see what lies ahead as this gift unfolds."