San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Artist Takes Sabbatical, Embraces Motherhood

“I’ve been on a year-and-a-half sabbatical; I felt I was burning out,” says artist Patricia Erickson, adding with a modest chuckle,“Maybe, it was something to do with the pressure of fame.”

A notable and highly prolific artist, Erickson’s work ranges from primitive expressionism to storytelling paintings that capture the rhythm of daily life and the spirit of the Afro-Caribbean culture that has always inspired her.

Now, her own rhythm of daily life has been taken over by her mothering instincts and the presence of a 6-year-old Costa Rican boy named Brandon.

When one of her husband Brian’s shop assistants became a single father and was having problems raising his son alone, it was an easy decision for the Ericksons to start helping to care for Brandon. However, Erickson soon realized that motherhood was a full-time job. Painting all day, every day, was no longer a feasible option.

Her balcony studio overlooking the Río Blanco has become her small prodigy’s playground. With encouragement from Erickson, Brandon loves to draw and paint and is obviously gifted for his age. It’s amazing how similar to his teacher’s paintings the small boy’s artwork looks.

“It’s wonderfully satisfying nurturing his talent,” Erickson said.

The artist admits she was getting itchy fingers, and has started working with oil pastels. Using an acrylic-painted sheet of paper, she reads the colors and lines asking to be developed. She confesses she can’t get away from her usual subject matter, the Caribbean scenes and figures painted in vibrant colors that are the hallmarks of her work.

“I’m basically doodling,” she chuckles. “I find it very relaxing, but I’m ready to start working in earnest again, when Brandon goes to his bilingual school full-time in February.”


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