Monday, December 12, 2011

Patricia Lawton:Working with light and magic

'I Will Follow You Forever' by Patricia Lawton, of Vernon, BC, is another of her signature works.
It has a rather existential quality about it. That could be because Patricia enjoys painting pictures which tell a story. But, the truth is - the viewer has to engage with her pictures and to contribute something of themselves to them. In this sense there is a dialogue between Patricia and the viewers of her work.

On the surface, we see a girl, and a dog, sitting in a garden. But when we look closely it looks like its frozen in time.  The dog sits immobile, looking at a girl whose hair is caught by a gust of wind. The girl's face is turned towards the dog and away from the viewer.

I like the way Patricia works with light. The dog is dark and the girl is light and this combined with her position in front of the dog, makes her the dominant centre of attention.

Patricia, paints the girl ever so gracefully, and ever so simply. There are no superfluous lines, save for those in her blowing hair. Look at the arm which she leans on.  There is an absence of muscle tension and shadowing. Look at the the economy of lines on her slacks. This creates a sense of grace. Notice too, how Patricia has outlined parts of the girl in an illuminating mauve line. Altogether, there is a sense of mystery about the girl. There is a sense that the scene is frozen in time and development. I find myself thinking that its all a dream and that she has emerged out of a place of memory and has returned to life.

Patricia is one of the best there is in her artful use of light. When I look at the girls slacks and sweater I see a certain luminescent quality. Notice how the writing on the girl's sweater has the same mauve has the same mauve hue that Patricia uses to outline the girl's white sweater. There's nothing like the blues to make your whites, whiter then white. And, if you want to see the power of lumiscence - look at the shaded area on the girls' hip.  Here you see the drama of orange-tan tones, white and a blue blend that absolutely radiates light even though its captured in shade.   You are seeing a brilliantly crafted work.

I am drawn too,to the dog's woolly coat with its soft texture carefully defining by its bunches of fur - even into the shadowed areas. And, finally, I like the way she captures highlights and tones of colour in the girls hair in the sunlight.

Although Patricia painted this in acrylic, it has the fluidity of watercolour style. This contributes to the subject's overall simplicity which in turn contributes to the dream like quality of the scene.

Its not hard to see why  Patricia Lawton is high on my personal list of favourite artists.

Artist's Comments

My feeling when I studied  Rachel and Bella (pooch) was how confident Rachel was around this big dog........  and how happy Bella was to be out in the wind and sunshine with a playmate.  After they’d had a good play and run-around,  they settled down to letting me take a lot of photos.  I happily snapped away and I could feel the ‘joy’ in Bella.........  the exuberance and a kind of ‘giddiness’ .........  a desire to break lose and frolic all around the garden again.  But she kept herself under ‘excited control’ because I asked her. 
These feelings came back to me........  and the feel of the sun on my head and face ........  the summery breeze;  all the sensations that I’d originally felt the day of Bella and Rachel posing;   12 years had passed from that day until the day I brought them back to life on my canvas.
Painting Standard Poodles is so very rewarding.  Their sleek bodies seem packed with electric energy and they just quiver with happiness.  Also their beautiful, sensitive faces project their thoughts and desires...........  Just look into their eyes........  If only they could speak....  The intelligence beams forth.
When I paint ‘sunny scenes’ I tend to feel those colours we see behind our closed eyelids on a bright sun-filled day.  The yellows, reds, blues and the mauves, oranges and greens that come with overlapping the transparent paints just lend themselves to the feeling of summer.  As I go along,  the painting dictates to me where it wants to go. 

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