River Wisdom


Have you sat on a boulder midstream of rushing rapids lately? I have, and highly suggest you try. It was an amazing experience. Exploring early this summer outside of Kennedy Meadows in the southern end of the Sierra Nevada, we settled along the Kern River bank to rest and listen for awhile. The granite boulders were immense stepping stones and some led out into the center of the river. A perfect place to reflect. The noise from the water quickly takes over and transports you, leaving me feeling buoyant and content. And a bit in awe of the natural beauty of that area. Not far from the Eastern entry to Yosemite National Park, an area that has many sculpted areas from the power of water, most impressively, Half Dome (formed by glacier movement), Kennedy Meadows is a stopping point for many backpackers journeying along the Pacific Crest Trail. I can only imagine the wisdom those backpackers return with after their long treks in the wilderness.

As River Wisdom unfolded, I was drawn to keeping the spaciousness within the piece that was conveyed to me by the river. I love to have a calm focal point that holds you in for awhile and is always there to come back to after exploring edges. Like a river is ever changing, I shifted the colors of the blues with various glazes to allow under texture to come through. These also remind me of the rocks below as you stare into quieter pools that are created by rock placement. Flowing white added an element of movement, too. I control the application of these carefully to keep freshness in the piece and quickly manipulate it while wet to restrict it to areas I want it to be in. Like water, paint can only be controlled so much before it moves into new areas!” – Patty Ripley on River Wisdom, available at The Avenue Gallery, Victoria, BC Canada

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