Artist’s Statement for VIVID EXHIBITION                                                     

March 2010

Vivid    1. strikingly bright   2. full of life   3. lively or intense, as of feelings

Painting full-time over many years has brought ongoing changes in my work.    Sometimes I alter the subject matter – landscape to still life, still life to interiors, and the like;  or I switch the medium – oils to acrylics, watercolours to monoprints.  Even just varying the scale from large to small or vice versa gives me a new challenge and a fresh enthusiasm. 

A few years ago   I realized that I wanted a more radical approach.  I longed for something less refined and more innovative.   Classical landscapes  cannot compete with nature in a realistic way;  the complexity of detail and colour in the world  makes for an unfair competition, with nature always winning.

While wishing to retain my ties to nature, I decided that I would stop competing.  Rather than recreating a scene, I would allude to it.  Could I get the essence of it, the feeling of it, without being specific?

 I have always been very interested in colour.    By keeping the design simple with  recognizable and comfortable images I allow colour to have a more potent impact.    Ignoring ‘local colour’ I am able to improvise and invent more freely.  

My working method is to lay on a ground of thin paint, let it dry, and then put on another thin layer.  Using a large brush or a sponge, I repeat this many times, with different shades or complementary hues.  This produces a ground with a sense of depth and complexity to it.   How the colour will end up is unknown at the start of this process;  I have a plan but it can veer off in any direction.  The colour is finally right when it has a certain  resonance to it.   The layering of the paint gives the canvas a matte surface with a tensile strength that is seductive and important to the character of the painting.

After the ground is prepared, I place the lake references on top.  This is done intuitively, without any hesitation.  Because of the difficulty of making corrections, the placement has to be just right the first time.  There is a certain kind of liberation to this unprecedented and direct action.     The energy and lack of precision of the dry brush marks results in a rough drawing that provides a contrast to the smooth grounds, a welcome balance.

When I am painting I am always interested in relating to something in the world.  Colour for me is clearly connected with feelings.  I am intrigued by the transformation of the colour that happens in the slow process of building these paintings. I wish them to be simple, but not simplistic; lush but not cloying; familiar, but also mysterious. 


                                                            Pat Service,   February,  2010