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DIRECTION AND FOCUS OF WORK TO DATE
Muriwai surf beach and its environment has been the focus of my work since 2012. I was intrigued by the challenge to express the ‘energy’ of this place. I began by painting realistically, which led to exploring how minimal a painted gesture could be and still have meaning. How to capture the essence of sea, sky, wind and land in a few strokes.
I discovered acrylic inks were ideal for the way I paint. The fluidity was familiar from my silk painting experience and the unpredictability allowed me to freely express the wildness of this area, and its “essence.”
Living on a cliff edge at Muriwai with a great expanse of sea and sky constantly before me, I became aware of the need to introduce ‘space’ into my paintings – a quiet place for the eye to rest. Painted shapes are becoming simple compositions with the “space” areas as important as the painted.
In my “Canyon” series I paint about the power of water – sea, river, lake, flood, trickle or splash, flow, movement, colour, mood, “energy.” I love exploring how the power and force of water moulds and sculpts the land – what is seen, what is imagined and what is left after its passing.
From Georgia O’Keefe- “Even if could put down accurately certain things that I saw and enjoyed it would not give the observer the kind of feeling the object gave me – I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at – not copy it.” “Georgia” Dawn Tripp, Random House, 2016.
Like Georgia, my aim is to paint what I feel as I sit gazing at the changing scene before me. The challenge is to bring intellectual considerations into my work without losing the “feeling.”
Although we are “Off the Grid” at Muriwai in many ways, our other connections are strong – connections to earth, sea and sky and to other people in the community. My latest “Connections” series depict this. These paintings come from inside me, from my imagination and my feelings.
Pat Henley, Muriwai, April 2017
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