by Lorraine Payette, written July 13, 2013
(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) Gananoque artist Pat Butchart is out to make life a better place, and she’s inviting the whole world in on her mission. Using her inimitable style of painting, she’s bent on bringing hope and happiness to all, one brush stroke at a time. Bright splashes of colour swirl, mix and blend before settling to form the framed images she has generously put on display from July 4 through August 6 at the Socialist Pig, located at 21 King Street East in Gananoque.
Yet while settled, these paintings are far from static. Instead, they carry with them a hint of the joy and life you feel instantly when meeting the artist.
Her joy and energy pour from the canvases, begging you to drop everything and join in on the fun. And she has an eagerness to share the joy she finds in her work, an urge to teach you how you, too, can achieve such works if you just wish to learn.
“I can’t draw,” Butchart says. In fact, when she tried following the rules in her art classes, it was like caging her spirit. Copying the work of former artists or even working from life and nature just wasn’t for her.
“It didn’t feel right. But when I do this, my spirit feels free to soar!”
And soar it does. Unlike traditional painting where the artist sets up the form, lays out the palette to establish colour, and determines in advance what will appear on the canvas, Butchart lets the medium take control. She pours and drips, brushes and scrubs, lays down and takes off colour in wild abandon until the surface is exactly what she wants. Colours run and flow, mix and blend to create a surface filled with depth and illusion. Then she gets out her chalk and sketches over them, picking up the lines and shadows, and defining what is “already there”.
“It’s like when you were a child and lay on the hillside to watch the clouds. Do you remember the pictures you’d see? That’s what I find in the paint.”
While Butchart will tell you that all of her work is an expression of her self, you feel her spirituality when you speak to her. At no times overwhelming or off putting, it is instead a sense of joy and wonder that passes through her to flow out into the work.
Butchart turned 70 this month, and this show and sale are a celebration of life. On July 8, she held a “Meet the Artist” night at the Socialist Pig.
“The art work looks great,” she said of the display. “I already sold one of the paintings, ‘The Lady or the Mountain’. It was one where I was actually doing a landscape using tissue to create the mountains – trying to get away from the faces. But the Universe knew better. I grabbed for a jar of what I thought was white paint, but it turned out to be Gesso – and of course – the Gesso started to tear the tissue paper, so – frantically – I got my fingers in to the rescue to smooth out the tissue paper and to save the mountains. And of course, what do I see once I have smoothed out my mistake? There are no mistakes in painting either! I see a nose and lips and a chin and, of course, the rest is history – her eye was in the mountain already and it became the “Lady or the Mountain” painting. She is one of my favourites. Especially how she just magically created herself on my canvas. Those ‘Angel Painters’ of mine sure know how to create a great painting if I get out of the way and let their fingers create what they want.”
And there, about the walls, are other angelic works, all waiting to be seen, admired, loved and brought home by some lucky purchaser. To see and/or purchase the works, please go to the Socialist Pig in Gananoque, or contact Butchart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-613-301-0703. Comments are always welcome.