By Jill Soens
Pat Howard paints both squares as background in her watercolors and one foot square paintings so we asked her what is it about squares?
“I have been working with squares for well over 10 years. There are 5 universal symbols: the circle, the spiral, the triangle, the cross-plus symbol and the square. The circle, spiral, triangle and the cross-plus symbol are all found in nature in many places—rocks, shells, flowers, trees—but not squares. Squares are man made. I like the contrast between putting the flowers or the fruit, either behind or in front of these beautiful organic substances.”
“Painting this way is an aesthetic design challenge. No matter how realistic or impressionistic the painting, it’s important to have good orderliness in the presentation when the flora or fauna is juxtaposed with the small squares. It’s a modular way of painting. It’s a design challenge and it’s fun!”
“The small 12’ x 12’ or the 9’x9’ paintings are fun because I like the sizes and I enjoy painting on test surfaces—the paintings are cradled on the clay board giving the painting a more contemporary look. You have to paint differently on clay board than on paper. I sketch the design first with acrylic then under paint, lifting the color out totally. Watercolor on paper is more a layering process. When I do prism painting, over-painting, the affect is a transparent affect adding a glow to the painting.”
“And it is fun to do a hanging with 2 or 3 of the small square paintings because they can be arranged and re-arranged easily or a single small, square exquisite painting in just the right place highlights a universal symbol while adding color and interest to a small space.”
Pat’s watercolor paintings surprise even the most experienced watercolorists because of the layering, the vibrant colors, the shapes and the scenes she wrests from this difficult medium. She is as vibrant and as lively as her paintings and Sorrel Sky is fortunate to have her work in our gallery and to call her friend.