“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
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