Nature is my greatest source of inspiration, so many of my paintings emerge from my love of the landscape. Painting primarily in oil, additionally sometimes in casein, gouache or transparent watercolor, I’m currently pursuing realist renderings of pastoral landscapes and floral compositions. I enjoy intensely lit scenes, especially those bathed in the glow of late afternoon light, which creates long shadows and reflects a vibrant palette. Light and shadow (value) are the main characters in my paintings.
My interest in landscapes emerged from my commute to and from the high school where I was a teacher in a rural area of New Jersey long known for sprawling family farms. The high school was a magnet school for its agricultural program. It’s no wonder that many of my paintings give witness to my fascination with agricultural forms (buildings and equipment) along with the textures, colors and play of lights and shadows on farmland. My recent “Georgic” works mark a move away from merely realistic representations of a farmland. Instead, it hopes to promote inquiry into the many ways we relate to farmland now. The farms I paint are “small” family farms in comparison to those now managed by mega corporations. While some people still work directly with the land of course, most people are oblivious to the machinations of farming and food productions. The family farm is a dying species. For most Americans, farms are most alive in our imaginations, in the stories and images we string together as we construct in our minds an image of our country. This is a complicated story, of course, one without a clear narrative. I mean to call attention to the farm, not just as an observable landscape, but as the ephemeral image that we manipulate in our minds.
Additionally, the color and form of flowers have been a source of inspiration in my work since as long as I can remember, and I’m enjoying the return to them as subject matter not only for their obvious beauty, but also as a means to communicate ideas to the viewer, as in my painting entitled “Of Thee I Sing.”
- Pat Proniewski