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“I enjoy painting more than anything else I’ve ever done, and I’ve done quite a few things,” says Pat Williams, a native of North Carolina who now lives in Falls Church, Virginia. This is quite a remarkable statement coming from a person who majored in engineering and spent most of her career working for electrical cooperatives and other energy companies.
When creativity eventually bubbled to the surface, Pat exited her electrical finance career to put her writing skills into practice. As a communications consultant, Pat’s writings are highly controlled. “
I edit in my mind before I ever put a word on paper. I edit myself further as I polish drafts, and then the drafts are edited by an employer, an editor, often a committee. The end result is a collaborative effort, which can be wonderful, but it isn’t necessarily me.” That editorial format left Pat searching for another way to express herself more freely.
With trepidation and self-doubt, she enrolled in a watercolor class. Practically speaking it was a good choice. Her paintings were portable, they dried fast, and she could work on them when traveling with her husband on business. The classes seemed a bit daunting at first as they generally are for beginners of any age, but Pat laid out some basic rules for herself. She would paint for enjoyment and not worry about what anyone else in the class was doing. She soon realized that there is a reason the teacher is the teacher, so she focused on learning what her instructors had to offer. Phillip Hocking, her first teacher, patiently guided her through the nuances of watercolor. “Yes, you must buy $3 sheets of paper even to practice on! And don’t be timid about putting enough paint on that paper,” she remembers him saying as he coached her in the techniques she wanted to learn.
Everybody needs a teacher that is able to draw out the creativity of an individual student,” remarks Pat. Deborah Ellis did that while showing her how to manipulate the interaction between water and paint. Steve Fleming offered enlightening critiques and encouraged her to exhibit work, while Marsha Staiger taught her to express her own vocabulary of abstraction with fluidity and fluency.
Starting in 1989 Pat painted reality in fine detail, but over time she achieved a long-held goal of being able to painting abstractly. Her January 2-February 1, 2015 Touchstone Gallery solo exhibition, Hidden Things Revealed, is a culmination of that learning process. Using a Multimedia Artboard ™ foundation (a rigid paper substrate consisting of an innovative combination of paper and thermalset resin), these paintings are explorations of the similarities and differences among common plants and animals. Glimpsed behind veils of Pat’s abstract washes, disparate life forms are connected by color and shape divulging both hidden and revealed aspects of each.
See Hidden Things Revealed at the opening party on Friday, December 9, 2015, 6 to 8:30pm and during Gallery hours throughout January. In addition, Pat will be painting at an Artist at Work event at Touchstone on Sunday, January 25, 2-4 pm. In a relaxed Gallery atmosphere that includes light refreshments, she’ll explain how she works — while she works. Questions are welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-347-2787