Patrick LaMontagne started out like most of us, doing the occasional doodle. Today he’s up every morning with the sun, making a living from drawing and painting.
Many people who see Patrick’s work are surprised that he never planned on becoming an artist, especially not as a full-time career. Before his late twenties, Patrick only drew occasionally for fun. “I doodled a little, but it was never something I was passionate about.”
Seemingly by accident, Patrick began drawing an editorial cartoon once a week in answer to an ad in his local weekly newspaper. “It gave me a little bit of local notoriety, certainly not fame by any means, but also a few bucks of extra spending money and a reason to draw each week. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the spark.”
Fifteen years later, Patrick says he can’t imagine doing anything else. “Drawing and painting is now what I do for a living, and while I’ve never worked harder at anything, I’ve also never enjoyed another job more. I get up at 5:00 AM every day, even on weekends, and get to draw and color all day. Some days, especially when I’m close to finishing a painting, I’ll get up even earlier, because I can’t wait to get back at it.
“I have discovered that I possess an insatiable desire to become a better artist. It’s a double-edged sword because even though I plan to keep building on my skills, they will never be complete. There will always be room for improvement. That’s actually a relief, because it would be disappointing if there were nothing left to reach for.”
Because Patrick was a cartoonist long before he became a painter, it’s only natural that much of the humor and caricature qualities of his cartoons have carried over into his painting. “People sometimes ask me why I don’t paint more traditional-looking wildlife. The simple answer is that so many people are doing that. Artists should work to find their own style. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, that style will find you.”