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Style · April 9, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: Art her passion and livelihood

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“Being a portrait artist is like being a storyteller,” Patty Rice says.
There is a sense of leaving a legacy and the story going on and continuing to be told. It’s satisfying to me. My aunt and great grandmother were artists and I feel like I’m part of an ongoing story. To have some of her paintings and know she touched them is really special. I grew up in a big family and I have a big family now and we liked to tell stories. It’s fun to look back over the past 15 years. Wonderful doors opened for me at the right time.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The Warrenton artist finds complete satisfaction in painting and teaching.

For 15 years, Patricia McMahon Rice has painted portraits that capture milestones, graduations, weddings, children, military service and more.

“Being a portrait artist is like being a storyteller,” said Mrs. Rice, who prefers to work in oil. “In my portraits there is always more emotion. I really want to convey something — the beauty and uniqueness of each person I paint.”

Teaching art lessons in her home since 1994, she has inspired children and adults from all over Fauquier and surrounding communities.

“My particular niche is teaching people how to draw well,” she said.

The artist grew up drawing but didn’t start painting until her early 40s.

Over the years, she has studied under several portrait painters, including Rob Liberace and Daniel Greene, to hone her skills. Recently she has enjoyed painting portraits on copper.

Most recently, Mrs. Rice received certificate of excellence in the 2014 Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition and two of her drawings will appear in an upcoming portraiture book, “Art Journey: People.”

Her artwork can be viewed in her home studio or at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton.

• Age
57

• Home

Warrenton

• Work

Portrait artist, who also has taught art lessons in her home since 1994. She has been an affiliate at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton since 2008.

My particular niche is teaching people how to draw well. I’ve always drawn since I was little, but never went to art school. I started painting when I was 42.
I started teaching art classes in 1994, when a neighbor asked me to teacher her daughter how to draw. Within six months, I had seven classes full of kids, and I realized I could make this a business.

In 1996, I took a class in pastel portraiture as a suggestion from my husband and it clicked. I started getting a few portrait commissions every year.

• Why do you do the job?
God gave me clever hands. I feel his pleasure when I paint and I find it very satisfying to see the pleasure on people’s faces when they see the portrait. There is a sense of leaving a legacy and the story going on and continuing to be told. It’s satisfying to me. My aunt and great grandmother were artists and I feel like I’m part of an ongoing story. To have some of her paintings and know she touched them is really special. I grew up in a big family and I have a big family now and we liked to tell stories. It’s fun to look back over the past 15 years. Wonderful doors opened for me at the right time.

• Family
Husband, Scott Rice; six grown children: Rebecca Johnson, Patrick Rice, Mary Ann Saxton, Elisabeth Rice, Christopher Rice and Philip Rice; six grandchildren, with a seventh on the way.

• Education

She has studied art at Northern Virginia Community College, The Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C., and The Art League in Alexandria, off and on since 1994. She also has studied under several portrait painters including Rob Liberace and Daniel Greene.

In 2001, she took a workshop on Renaissance portraiture. In 2012, studied the Spanish classical tradition of painting on metal and last year learned how to paint and glaze on copper.

She also studied nursing for a few years at the University of Maryland.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Member of Gainesville Presbyterian Church.

When my kids were in school I was involved in everything. Now, I donate portrait commissions to several local organizations and churches.

Portrait Society of America member since 2000.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
Since 1984. I raised my six children here.

• Why do you live here?
I grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and lived in the same house for nine years. I really wanted my kids to grow up in the country, but still be in reach of D.C. I wanted a smaller community. I have loved being a part of this community.

• How do you describe this county?
After teaching for the past 15 years, I feel like I know kids from every community — all different parts of Fauquier County.

When you say to people in Fairfax County, “I live in Fauquier County,” they get this puzzled look on their face. Somehow, we are off the face of the Earth to them. We have the best of both worlds here. It’s country, but not deep country. It’s a wonderful mix. There is friendliness and kindness in this community.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I wouldn’t change anything. I really, truly love this county.

• What do you do for fun?
When you make a living doing what you love, you don’t work a day. That’s not my words, but a famous quote. I love being outdoors, going to Crockett Park and New Market. I love First Fridays in Old Town Warrenton. One of my favorite things about living in Fauquier County is running into people I have taught.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Sky Meadows State Park, Warrenton’s Main Street, eating at Claire’s at the Depot and walking on the Warrenton Branch Greenway.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
A certain amount of growth is inevitable, but I think Fauquier County will still have small-town friendliness. Even after the past 10 years, the friendliness hasn’t changed. You still have a community that rallies together. This is not a place where you can be an anonymous person.

• Favorite TV show?
“Survivor,” because I’m fascinated about what people do when they have everything taken from them.

• Favorite movie?
All the movies based off of Jane Austen novels and Masterpiece Theatre movies.

• Favorite book?
All of the Jane Austen books, especially “Persuasion.”

• Favorite vacation spot?
Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

• Favorite food?
Almost any kind of international cuisine.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My mother has always been my best business advisor. There is no single piece of advice she has given, but she always encouraged me to chart my own independent course. She saw potential in me and always provided tremendous encouragement. My husband also gave me advice by telling me to study under Rob Liberace and Daniel Greene. I don’t know if I would have dreamt that big.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My daughter Lisa, because she is not a natural, outgoing person, and she grew up as a middle child in a family of strong personalities. She charted her course through nursing school, joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Afghanistan. She has shown tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual strength.

All of my children are heroes to me. They each have had to face challenges, show courage and have all served in the military.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
I wouldn’t ever stop teaching, because my students inspire me. I would probably teach less and find a way to study abroad. I would travel and see art and study places I haven’t studied. I would help each of my kids get a home. I wouldn’t leave Fauquier County.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton

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Visiting10165MD · April 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm
Patricia McMahon Rice is an excellent painter, and I would like to
meet her. I also attended the Corcoran College of Art and Design,
after my Art Secondary Education B.A. degree from the University of Maryland and also painting with Professor William Woodward. I am
still in the process of thinking of moving to Virginia and I will
be turning 67 in less than 8 weeks, and I would like to support
myself doing my artwork. I hope that I get a chance to meet her.
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