Patrick is Douglas MacDiarmid’s partner of many decades, his other half who has taken care of day to day distractions to make it possible for Douglas to single-mindedly focus on painting.
Eight years younger than Douglas, Patrick goes by just one name, like most Guadeloupeans. They grow closer as each year passes and complement one another in their differences. While Douglas grew up in a comfortable, highly cultured family in small town New Zealand, Patrick came from a poor Caribbean village in the French West Indies. One cut his teeth on hardship; the other resisted his upbringing. They both escaped to Paris, created new lives and found one another in the late 1960s.
Portraits of Patrick
There was an immediate spark when first they met, and very soon Douglas painted the beautiful man who had come into his life, the first of a number of portraits of his companion.
As Dr Nelly Finet relates in her 2002 art history MacDiarmid, Patrick is seated in front of a painted landscape which could be Guadeloupe or elsewhere.
“There is forcefulness in his attitude and decision in the hand at rest along the arm. He is not smiling, and his gravity suggests basic integrity. The wide eyes reveal a watchful spirit without compromise – just too bad about social conventions tainted with hypocrisy.”
This portrait is also distinctive for its texture, the oils mixed with fine Fontainebleau sand used for filtering in laboratory apparatus, to give a certain granular quality.