34th Entry - "Anagram" 2011

Often I am asked as an artist, what inspires me - the truth is most anything can inspire me, where I am fixated is the concept behind the desire to create the piece - I will see something in everyday life that simply stands out, yes, but it isn't always an object its more a theory or societal norm or attitude almost and once it gets my attention it is all I can see until the piece is done. At that level of contemplation the piece will usually take care of itself, it just "makes sense" and it's painted.

For example, I have often noticed that no matter what roles we play in life, son/daughter to mother/father or boss or child or friend or enemy we are still completely us - no matter what section we portray to fulfill that role we are complete within ourselves and carry each role like a living filing cabinet of lives tapping into each file when needed (or sometimes not needed), when appropriate (or not always appropriate at all). We are who we are, better at some roles than others but variations upon the same theme with an underlying constant like saying "tap" or "pat" the letters are the same just in different placement.

I then thought that people will sometimes choose a role over who they are entirely - a person will choose to be a mother/father even with their spouse or a child around their friends. They surrender to the role rather than remind themselves that they are in fact so much greater. It usually doesn't work well or for long or at all. Its like a single tooth trying to eat an entire meal, it cant you need the whole head (should you not use your mind and attempt to eat something totally inedible).

Sometimes a person needs to be reminded they are greater then their parts, I know that as a son, a brother, a boss, a nephew and grand kid and all of the other things (some four lettered) that I can be I needed to be reminded of that. The idea then became that I wanted to figure out a way to do this on canvas. A small reminder in symbolic value a non conventional un-obtrusive way to make that statement. I loved the details of these simple everyday type items in the photograph above. The lines of the empty bottle, the detail of the lattice and braiding in the incense burner, the shape and colors of the leaves on the paper napkin. See - so the painting was inspired really by a concept, a thought that left it's "impression" on me, these objects as photographed above are secondary really.

I love hyacinth, the flowers are so abundant and they come back every year. They smell great too so when I am painting with them the whole place just fills with it. If a person takes a few blooms from each plant they can have more than enough and it wont kill the plant. In fact it will inspire the hibiscus to create even more flowers to make up for the ones its lost just to be sure it gets pollinated - which in turn means a stronger perfume from each plant.

Once the flowers are clean with a warm salt and water mix the canvas is then treated with a similar "tea" and some ground alumn then they are pressed one by one onto the desired area. Oxygen will darken the stain the longer it is exposed to air and a variety of other mixtures and plants can be used to alter the over all color, tint and effect. This piece has coffee, lemon and cinnamon in it to name a few others.

It isnt a quick and easy process, it takes time, with some percentage of trial and error. Once air hits the stain the oxidation process is literally ON and you cant un-do it. A specific application of a lacquer or counter agent will stop the process and seal the color as is. Thats how the paintings stay vibrant and fresh looking. Some protective sprays can be purchased with UV blocker (which I recommend) that prevents bleaching from exposure to the sun.

So with the concept in mind I decided to create a piece from two canvases that when joined together in one of four ways will make a different painting. The same images just in a different expressed portrayal. The title of the piece seemed appropriate.

"Anagram" by Patrick Gorman Pettis
17" x 17" on mounted cotton canvas
in natural mixed medium

Viewpoint One

In all of my paintings I place hidden images, I think of it as a "thanks for looking" to the people who actually take the time to see the work. There are near to one hundred faces in this piece some more obvious than others, four dragon flies, the word "love" and other things. I wont give away where they are but a hint is always fun. Here in Viewpoint One you can see a sitting angelic figure looking out onto a sea of lives opening in it's foreground.

"Anagram" Viewpoint Two

In center placement there is a Valkyrien face complete with winged helmet, and a mountain of lives in the back ground.

"Anagram" Viewpoint Three

In viewpoint three a pillar of braided souls takes center placement to two angel pylons which frame the work.

In a close up of viewpoint three you can see some of the detail. Natural coal was used to create shading. As mentioned earlier there are about one hundred faces in this painting, some obvious and others hidden.

"Anagram" Viewpoint Four

There are two angels with their back to the viewer with reaching out arms and wings hail a myriad of souls in front of them. I love the versatility of the piece and the way it turned out. I think its a great conversation starter.

Thank you all so much for reading this entry and for looking, I hope you enjoyed it.

More Later :)

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Franziska said…
Hi Patrick,
reading your post was the best thing I could have done to start this day. You are such a great writer!

I know exactly what you mean when you described what inspires you to make your paintings. I feel the same way.

I place objects in my paintings, too, but I hide them underneath a thick layer of oil paint. Don't tell anyone, lol :-) I paint something that makes me laugh and later I cover it with water, trees or a landscape -most of my clients don't know, but I do...

I couldn't find the dragonflies but will have a closer look again!
Franziska San Pedro
The Asbtract Impressionist Artress

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