Edmonds artist puts his watercolor art of Italy on beach towels

Italian Club of Seattle President Audrey Manzaneres with one of Joel Patience’s beach towels, which he donated to a recent club fundraiser. (Photo courtesy Joel Patience)

What if you can take your favorite painting wherever you go in the form of a beach towel? That is something Edmonds watercolor artist Joel Patience had in mind for many years before he printed one of his paintings on one. He rolled out a white towel and held it up, displaying a watercolor picture of a classic yellow Fiat flanked by two women in vintage swimsuits. 

“Collecting art is entertaining, no matter if you are the artist or as a consumer,” Patience said. “I like to think these beach towels add another element to the levels of fun and application of my art. Certainly they are more affordable. Take it to the beach or pool, use them as an accent in your bath, hot tub area or show up to a party wearing one as a sarong with a swim top.”

Joel Patience’s original Fiat painting, which hangs at U.S. Bank in downtown Edmonds.

Patience had used old photos of his mother, who was wearing the beach wear of the era and other beachwear scenes from Monterosso al Mare as references.

The process of printing the artwork on a beach towel requires a high-resolution scan of the original painting. Then Patience exports the image onto Zazzle, an online market platform where he can use a design template to put the image onto almost anything he chooses, including T-shirts, underwear and coffee mugs.

“My style with watercolors is kind of bold and in identifiable situations and [has] depth of perspective,” he said. “It is entertaining to apply that same style to enjoying art in clothing, accessories and—yep—even bath and kitchen tiles. Taking a painting to the pool or hanging it in your bathroom would be unusual; wearing it would be a better idea.”

Patience’s original artworks are currently displayed in the U.S. Bank in Edmonds. They are based on his travels in Italy, including the Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) and Gelatería Stalin in Vernazza. Patience had painted the gelato shop’s storefront.

Gelateria Stalin

He is now working on his next beach towel, featuring a painting of a piazza from the top of the Milan Cathedral from his perspective. 

“Almost every impression I have seen of the Duomo di Milano has been from the ground as well,” Patience said. “In the 600 years or so it took to build, one would have thought it an opportunity to allow folks [to go] to the roof to admire and paint their city. We just happened to be there on a nice day with local friends from the area. The view is spectacular! And I keep what the Aussies call happy snaps and other memorabilia items like receipts to prove I was there. It is the way to prove a work is original.”

As part of the Edmonds Mural Society, Patience completed a mural – Edmonds to Starboard – at 401 Main St. in 2011. He also finished serving as a trustee on the Board of Festa Italiana at the Seattle Center, where he represented Italian culture as a curator for 10 years. Patience had invited artists with original Italian works to conduct annual shows inside the Armory Building.

“My mural has opened my eyes as to how much these works can mean to the community,” he said. “The folks at Sound Experience own the ship The Adventuress, and they take troubled teens out to teach them self-confidence and team building. I supply them with free greeting cards of the mural to thank their donors.”

Meanwhile, the beach towel project is his next venture to create a different kind of art, a kind that piques curiosity and creativity. He is also planning to add the Siena Tower (Torre del Mangia) to his queue of upcoming work.

“I hope people will find them a very personal, yet affordable item of fashion for women and men of any age,” Patience said. “And, if they are not put to everyday use, they can be used as accents in bathrooms or your rooms with beach themes. What I hope to do is to encourage people to enjoy original art, from a contemporary (a living artist) and share the art in situations that are just a little out of the ordinary.” 

Like a beach towel.

— By Nick Ng

  1. This is amazing! Joel Patience is a fantastic artist. He needs to put as many of his paintings as possible out there for the masses.

  2. The beauty and poetry of Joel’s works enter the soul to stay there. His colors are vibrant and harmonious, and his depiction of light can be truly magical. Joel is an artist who has the ability to generate new and original ideas, It was a pleasure meeting him!!

  3. Absolutely incredible! Joel Patience is nothing short of a virtuoso when it comes to capturing the essence of beautiful Italian landscapes through the mesmerizing medium of watercolors. His talent is truly awe-inspiring, and each stroke of his brush seems to breathe life into the canvas.

    Joel is a fantastic artist, and it’s clear that he needs to share his gift with as many people as possible. Every art lover deserves to experience the enchantment of his Italian scene-scapes. I eagerly look forward to seeing more of Joel’s work.

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