“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
“Do you listen to your unique navigation system that longs to bring you home? Like salmon and their amazing journey from river to ocean then back to the exact same river again to die. Traveling upstream takes trust and perseverance, uncomfortable at times though necessary to reach new levels. Yes, I ponder these things while I paint. I do! Deep diving happens in the painting process and it’s one of my most favorite things! This painting opened the door to a fresh path that I’m now exploring in series. I love it when that happens.
As this piece progressed, the upward movement within the composition beckoned ‘journey’. Fluid drips of paint amidst the calm blue greys of watery misty stone with a central path of flipping, warm color-fueled line and shape. And to attain this, I have to skillfully work quickly with the acrylics to keep the gradations fresh and especially to allow the rhythm of the painting to flow and not to become too thought out. I am a playful innovator. Patient too, as the layers need to dry a bit before fresh paint is applied. And the finishing touches can come as a sudden flash of what’s needed. Such as within this piece, I’d nearly completed it with brush work though knew it needed more. Coming back later to it, I improvised and used a scraper tool to achieve bold thin lines that added the punch the painting needed. I use intuition and that allows for unique choices, in paint and in life. How many journeys do we embark on before we realize they’re important life changers? I like to remind myself that any journey, adventure or technique can be a pivotal one and I like to live within presence so I can savor that. ” – Patty Ripley on Journey Upstream, available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC