abstract art

Lost-and-Found by Patricia Raible

Mills Shoals Falls, Brevard, NC is one of many beautiful places in the Carolina mountains. See the video    Connections In Nature    that features my paintings and their inspirations on this site.

Mills Shoals Falls, Brevard, NC is one of many beautiful places in the Carolina mountains. See the video Connections In Nature that features my paintings and their inspirations on this site.

Inspiration

Where do you get your inspiration? It's a common question for artists. For me, inspiration comes from many sources. Sometimes ideas come from reading, listening to others, or writing in my journal. Other times it is both as simple and as complex as being overwhelmed by my feelings as I watch waves cut trenches into the sand at high tide or water cascading over rocks from 30 feet above me. And lately it seems, much of my inspiration comes from nature.

The Painting Process

Thomas Merton is quoted as saying “art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” With my art based in nature, I find the opposite is true. I usually loose myself first and then find myself again in the painting process. And I do mean loose (set myself free). It is a back and forth, pull and push process that can be frustrating at times, rewarding at others.

My nature paintings are usually based on specific places, but they are not unlike other similar locations. In fact, it is this sameness that interests me most—the connections between what is visible and what is below the surface. It is this connection between the physical aspects of the place and the emotional reaction of the viewer that I hope to capture.

It is difficult to explain what happens during the painting process. I am creating my version of the waterfall, the trees, or the seashells at low tide. But as an abstract artist I am not replicating them. Rather, I am striving to duplicate or even elevate the “experience” of walking up that tight, rugged trail to the summit of Mt. Mitchell. I want the viewer to have the impression of being surrounded by fir trees on both sides and sweating from the effort of climbing over roots and rock. I want them to feel the connections, that oneness with what surround us.

Coming Together

Painting is my method of working out ideas and their relationships to one another. It is a mystery or a puzzle to be solved. Often there is resolution. Other times the search continues, and I paint the same ideas over and over. But ultimately it is all a part of the great energy that is within us and that surrounds us.

Can I Blame It On Gravity? by Patricia Raible

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What We Carry, ©Patricia Steele Raible, 24” x 17.75”, mixed media on deep wood panel

In his book Seeing Places artist Brian Rutenberg (http://www.brianrutenbergart.com) talks about the copy of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware that hung over his childhood bed, saying it is still one of his favorite paintings. This painting is symbolic for him, and he remembers the first time he saw the original while visiting his grandparents in New York. While I didn’t grow up with art on the walls, by the time I was in my twenties I had begun collecting posters. I now have copies of the art of Georgia O’Keeffe, Alan Magee, Peter Blume and about a dozen originals by wonderful regional artists. They all give me joy and never fail to draw me in.

Rutenberg calls making art a “gravitational pull.” He is right. It is not something I could stop willingly. So if my artwork touches people and they want to buy it, I am truly gratified. But it is also okay if they are moved enough to put an image on their refrigerator. What is critical is whether my paintings resonate with the viewer.

I was particularly pleased to have been asked by a staff member of the St. Simons Island, Georgia, Presbyterian Church(https://www.sspres.org) if they could feature What We Carry on the front of their church bulletin. While my images have been used in my own church, this was the first request from another community. For those at the St. Simons church, I can only hope that the painting provided a path into worship. 

 

Finishing by Patricia Raible

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La Montagne Sainte Victoire vue des Lauves, 1901 – 06, Paul Cézanne

 

Is an artwork ever finished? Some artist can say yes, sign it, and let it go out into the world. Others, unless (it goes into the world) will keep changing and refining it. So we have finish as in “complete” and finish as in “process.”

 When I did a little research I found that Paul Cézanne was among the painters who left so many paintings incomplete. One historian blamed some of this on his analytical methods and his use of thickly placed layers of paint since it likely took months to finish any piece. But editors of a book called Cezanne Finished- Unfinished explain that the unfinished areas were possibly experimental at first but were later deliberate and provide us with insight into his creative process.

 This all started because I am constantly “finishing”—one of those who fits both definitions. Luckily, I don’t “finish” as in process (a cold wax rub for my paintings) because if it’s hanging in the studio I keep refining. Just a few days ago I decided that a small portion of a large painting wasn’t right, a painting that had been there for at least a couple months. I was disturbed that a shape in the corner seemed to lead your eye off the page. At least it was an easy fix and had not gone to a gallery or show.

 Harder than “finishing” the painting will be photographing the “newly finished” piece. 

 

Shifting Fragments by Patricia Raible

Shifting Fragments    16" x 16" Mixed media painting with collage on deep wood panel

Shifting Fragments  16" x 16" Mixed media painting with collage on deep wood panel

 

We all know you can’t prepare for everything. We want change that is gradual and slow so we can see it coming, but life has way of sideswiping you when you least expect it.

Almost 6 years ago my husband had a “heart incident” as we like to call it. His heart fluttered, skipped a beat and threw a small clot. Even the paramedics could find nothing wrong when they arrived, but he felt a pain like “toothache” in his chest. So just to be safe he went to the hospital. While there was no damage, we discovered that sometimes he has an irregular heartbeat. “Sometimes” was really hard to deal with at first, but now after so much time he just exercises, eats right, and carries nitroglycerine in his pocket.

 I was reminded again of how slowly, and quickly, things change and could change, while hiking the trails in Stone Mountain State Park. The large rock faces with layers and splits big enough for climbing were formed by geological exfoliation. While they seem impenetrable, as if they will be there for thousands of years, the reality may be different. The change to these rocks is climate related and normally happens very slowly, but according to the park rangers because we don’t know the depth of the splits there is always the risk that rocks, particularly those with vertical and horizontal cracks, will shatter and slide. Of course, should there be an earthquake, they could crumble very quickly.

 It’s both a bit scary and a bit comforting how human life parallels nature.   Mostly, the changes are gradual, but we are all shifting.

 

 

The Rewards of Sharing by Patricia Raible

"Dual Duty," 16" x 20," Mixed media on deep wood panel   

"Dual Duty," 16" x 20," Mixed media on deep wood panel

 

I think sharing is important no matter what you do. You would be surprised that so many people are interested. “Show and Tell” is not just for kindergartners.

For the full blog go to https://wordpress.com/posts/patriciar2013.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Positives from Negatives by Patricia Raible

unfinished painting

“What do you do with everything that is cut away?” she asked Tilman, thinking now about the negative space of stone sculpture, the stone that is discarded, thinking too about how she had thrown away huge pieces of her own early life…”
from The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart.

For the full blog go to https://wordpress.com/posts/patriciar2013.wordpress.com

Effort Not Attainment by Patricia Raible

"No Going Back," 14.5" x 14.5", mixed media on deep wood panel

"No Going Back," 14.5" x 14.5", mixed media on deep wood panel

You know how you hear something, but don’t fully take it in. Then some time later, you finally really hear it. Yesterday in yoga class this happened. As encouragement the instructor said, “Its about effort not attainment. I wish I could tell you I was focused on my yoga practice, but all I could think about was my art....

For the full blog go to https://wordpress.com/posts/patriciar2013.wordpress.com