Patte Ormsby

"When I close my eyes to quiet my mind, the place I find is Wellfleet. I see the dark blue starry skies of childhood summer, Newcomb Hollow nights. I feel golden sand under me, still warm from the daytime sun. I hear the water, lapping at the harbor shore, as a soft breeze cools my skin. I am floating, weightless on the clear fresh surface of a sparkling Dyer Pond surrounded by a forest of mossy green trees and a soft blue sky. I find a treasure of smooth stones beneath my feet in a salty low tide as a deep red Duck Harbor sunset turns the warm day to misty night. This is where my paintings begin." - Patte Ormsby

"Few times in the history of art are as symbolically and visually compelling as that of the Italian Renaissance," Patte says. "This continues to influence my paintings as I use elements of deep color, texture, gold leaf and pattern to present that sacred historical richness in a contemporary context. Using these elements in my paintings is my way of expressing the quiet solemnity or simmering energy of places that are sacred to me."

Color, texture and gold leaf are where the connection to the Italian Renaissance ends. Geometric grids and repeating shapes are layered within the scenes. Layers and layers of patterns and textures, in a mix of order and chaos. Through it all lies the richness of a renaissance.

Patte uses unconventional materials with traditional techniques, applied in a contemporary way. She's drawn to aluminum-faced fiberglass board for its reflective and uneven surface qualities. Sometimes she includes other metals: aluminum or iron, with craquelure and oxidation techniques for textural interest and an aged quality.

Building the paintings layer upon layer, Patte starts with brightly colored pattern, sprayed through screens, followed by translucent oil glazes and varnish resists for a luminosity achieved when combined with the aluminum ground.

"I top this with imitation gold leaf, a copper and zinc alloy, to create the composition," she says. "I treat the leaf with a mild acidic solution of natural ingredients found in my kitchen, to develop a blue green patina or to melt it away entirely exposing more of the underlying shapes and colors, and enriching the layered effect."

It is only at the very end of the process that Patte picks up a brush!