King artist helps make Patrick House tick

July 11, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

Surrounded by creativity all her life, a King artist not only expresses herself, but keeps the arts alive through her Aurora gallery.
Sue DiGioacchino is an illustrator and designer, and finds herself looking for pattern, form and movement in nature-inspired subject matter. She enjoys working on a large scale, which enables her to examine these elements more closely.
Her paternal grandfather (portraits) and maternal great uncle (landscapes/florals) were artists in Toronto.
“I have fond memories of my great uncle painting plein air in the gardens at our family cottages on Lake Simcoe so, it doesn’t surprise me that I grew up painting portraits and florals, following in their creative footsteps,” she said.
Colour is important to Sue, and she typically works with a monochromatic or complementary colour schemes, using mainly acrylics and oils. She believes there is beauty everywhere in nature and her job as an artist is to transfer that beauty to the canvas for others to enjoy.
She’s also the owner of The Patrick House Art Studio & Gallery, in Aurora. It’s a heritage home which has been converted to a public gallery and studio space. It serves as a venue for artists to showcase their work as well as a place for “non-artists” to come together and create in an intimate and inviting atmosphere.
“Offering fun workshops and teaching art is also a passion of mine and I believe creating art is a life-long process for which anyone can enjoy. Van Gogh’s quote ‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,’ are words which I live by.”
She said she enjoys all media but mostly works in acrylic, oil and watercolour. “I choose a particular medium based on subject matter and requests from clients.”
Her style varies from piece to piece, but she tends to use very smooth brush strokes, blending with subtle gradation. “I enjoy working on a large scale most of the time particularly when working with acrylic or oil paint.”
She draws inspiration from artists such as Georgia O’keeffe and Paul Cezanne, and has a newfound appreciation for Norval Morrisseau.
“Art is a means of expressing one’s thoughts and feelings in a visual manner. For me, I enjoy the aesthetic and therapeutic aspects to art. It’s where I can relax, decompress, and get lost in my thoughts.”
The Patrick House is a 160-year-old heritage home that Sue and her husband purchased in 1993. At the time, it was a fixer-upper and quickly became a “labour of love for us.”
The Patrick House offers fun workshops and lessons for experienced artists as well as budding artists. Many of the workshops are run by professional artists who enjoy sharing their medium and technique.
DiGioacchino also hosts two annual events – a Mother’s Day show in May and Doors Open Aurora in August. This year the event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 18. Everyone is welcome and the admission is free.
DiGioacchino is excited to note that this year, The Patrick House will be involved in a third event. She’s personally participating in the 60th celebration of The Nobleton and King City Garden Tour this July 15. They are partnering with The Art Society of King who are also celebrating 60 years. At each garden location there will be wonderful artwork as well.
“I am very excited about this event!”
The Gallery is typically open during the week from 1 to 3 p.m. and also on some weekends. Private appointments are welcome. More information can be found on the website at
She does her part to help promote the arts in York and lauds the work of others who share her passion – SOYRA, ASK, and the York Region Arts Council – who are all “wonderful advocates.”
She’s happy to offer some advice to aspiring artists.
“Network as much as you can. Go out to art exhibits/venues, galleries and museums to meet with other artists and where you can, share your work. Expose your work on social media, too. Don’t be shy. If you don’t put yourself out there, no one will see your work.”
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