For me, the best journey meanders with stimulating activity then places to rest. Have you ever hosted a child’s birthday party!? Frenetic keyed-up energy laced with games and sugar then the big couch cozying crash when everyone goes home. Those are extremes! Our lives are works in progress and some of us live with those extremes daily. They become a habit. I prefer to take new risks balanced with allowing recovery time to let the experience sink in.
Many times we seek the culmination as the reward. It’s nice and often memorable! At times, people strive for that, only to feel empty later. I like the culmination to be a memory of the point of the journey that brought you to deep awareness so that later you can reflect and use that point in time to move forward. It becomes the launching point for reflection! What’d I learn from the experience? How do I use this in my life?
In this painting, you’ll notice the movement carrying you up along a central shifting path. Stimulating areas of color, glazes, line and brushwork are balanced by the contrast of calm, soft grays that extend within and hold the powerful energized areas. Like a tapestry, this composition has a warp and weft that brings together the pieces. There is gel medium underneath it all that brings texture that contrasts to the smooth canvas. There are controlled drips and sharper linear lines that move the eye. The painting has many many layers and strategic transparent and opaque glazing add another element of contrast. Letting the layers, movement and contrasts be the source for conveying the many aspects of a journey leading to that climactic moment.
Clear and transparent with calm yet full of enticing energy to bring you closer. I liken this painting to a crystal with clear unfettered areas that are also, on closer reflection, made up of tiny particles. Icy like a fractured frozen puddle. Fluid, like water or glass. Hard, yet cut to shine and catch light. Imperfections give an unexpected glimmer. There’s a lightness within Crystalline that imparts serenity. Built up with many layers of glazes that allow underlying structure to come through, the painting draws the viewer in to look underneath as well as around to the layered textures that impart vitality.
I love uncovering things and the mystery within layers. Guiding the eye are white lines that free flow and yet are also purposely used in areas to fracture the plane and create another layer of depth. Applying other lines while larger passages are damp, allow for free edges that wisp into spaces and add another visual interest. I’ve been told by collectors that they love seeing new areas as they live with the paintings that previously they hadn’t seen. I do that to keep visual freshness and interest! That’s why an area may be opaque over an area that’s transparent. Or a passage that is very textured will be near a flat area. Cool color areas of blue, aqua and greens are juxtaposed with warm greens, magentas and some pink undertones. Controlled paint passages are found near spontaneously applied painted spaces. Contrasts are important for movement within a painting. This painting has a solid base with the textural dark area at the bottom so it feels grounded and fed from below while held to the sides by fine darker toned lines to anchor it from floating away into the light fractures above. ” – Patty Ripley on Crystalline, available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC
“Spirit Ridge is a culmination of experiences and is an abstraction that allows the viewer to feel these. Avidly hiking these past years in the Pacific Northwest and California, I notice how yes, the ridge point, tends to be the pinnacle of the hike. It’s where the culminated effort and forward momentum comes to a stop (and many times food or snacks are involved!). The body slows and relaxes and even if the view is diminished by weather, there’s a peacefulness that pervades as you become attuned to the silence and the surroundings. And that peacefulness often follows you back down the trail as you notice with fresh eyes the new vistas from a new direction.
I take these experiences back to the studio. Not consciously, though internally, and they become the expression that fuels the choice of color, texture, line, contrast and movement within the composition. It becomes a channeled transmission of an adventure. With Spirit Ridge, I had a sense of a totem during the process as I began to see shapes emerge within the painting: An animal staring to the right; water element running below all; light traveling through forest above; and the stability of rock within.
How do you know when the painting is done? For me, it’s like the last puzzle piece that falls into place and that feeling of ease from completion becomes almost a feeling of neutrality where I know nothing more can be added. This painting has a lot of texture and when I thought it was done, I’d return to studio and realize that it’s not there yet and I know because I feel unease, literally, in my body. They say the body knows so I’ve been respecting that inner wisdom. Much like the ease felt at the top of the ridge after a long climb.” – Patty Ripley on Spirit Ridge, available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC
“Have you tried to see through the powerful mist? Listened to the force of the water cascading? Felt the droplets spray your face? That’s the power and beauty behind the veil of the falls. I remember once in Hawaii standing behind a tall waterfall and being showered by it’s spray! Here on the west coast, large falls draw crowds and create nervous anticipation. The strength of water is amazing with it’s carving force and flowing grace. In this painting, I created contrast with small calm areas this time and more texture and variety in bigger areas. Soft yellow starts at the base and then carries the eye up to the ridge line. There’s a kaleidoscope effect in this piece as passages angle in and out. Shapes move and it’s unclear why. Drips happen. Controlled and not controlled. Charcoal lines push firmer darks. Angles are oblique and squared. Is that a cliff? Is that a waterfall? Where’s the water going? I love creating questions for the viewer. An experience to behold while imparting a feeling at the same time. I see a face….someone says. I see a ridge, mist and water and it’s being held in from all around…. says another. We experience paintings like we experience life; varied and as our own. Pushing our view on another is fruitless and staying fluid is important. Being like water. Going with the flow yet being a powerful force at the same time. And seeing beyond what’s there. Behind the words is usually the truth. How often do we go behind the falls and look out at the distorted beauty? Or experience a new reality by putting ourselves in challenging places? Veil Of The Falls reminds me to do these. Take risks. Look for beauty beyond. ” – Patty Ripley on Veil Of The Falls, available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC
Feeling the depth of water while staring longingly at it. The pull and the delicious invitation that brings you closer to look. Yes. I’ve been to many edges that open my eyes wider and bring me to a new level of experience. Had one this spring as we hiked in Mount Baker Regional park before the snow melt and hadn’t expected the trails to be … covered in snow! And again, last summer in the same area, had a whole lake in front of us waiting to be jumped into on a hot day. Or walking along the shoreline at Deception Pass as the coastal waters reveal themselves from the layer of fog, cedars at the ready on the shore of rock cliffs.
Calling In is again a journey piece. Not reflecting a specific place, though reflecting those places I’ve been that impart the experience of living wholly. Feeling the air against my face. Feeling the rock beneath my feet. Branches against my arm. Mist surrounding me. Sun shining down in a broken way through forest trunks and branches. Hearing streams travel over rock. Eagles calling overhead. Slipping on moss and crunching on leaves and needles. Smelling cedar bark and tripping over roots. Choosing a small stone to return with to remember the day.
Pouring paint and letting drips dry. Scraping into areas with fingers and tools. Brushing out a big expanse over and over with gradated washes of acrylic to attain the best layer to share. Choosing a vital warm color to pop some energy into an otherwise quiet area. Focusing vitality into one passage to bring the eye up to where woods meet water…or rock … or nature’s spirit. Again, contrasts of wide open space and active busier sections. Yin and Yang. Up and Down. Travelling passages. Life. ” – Patty Ripley on Calling In; available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC