Patricia Russac is an award-winning artist from Oyster Bay, New York. She has exhibited her artwork for more than a decade in juried, invitational, and member shows.
I work in various types of media including pastel and ink. For me, the line forms the underlying network throughout my artwork. Its power generates the movement across the surface to create a dynamic push and pull sensation that keeps the eye moving. It never seems to rest in one place, and continually opens the viewer to different vantage points. It is for this reason that I using drawing as my primary way of working. I feel the line on the paper using my hand; it is much more direct and purposeful.
As an artist, I am often asked how do I start a drawing, or what type of media do I work in to create my pieces? I also hear comments to the effect that, “They don’t look like pastels.” The process I use begins with taking a high quality, printmaking paper and saturating the surface with water. This allows the condensed pastels to flow smoothly across the surface to embed a deep and varied line on the paper as well as letting the color bleed at the same time.
In most of my work, the figure is the underlying theme; however, these seemingly abstract compositions create layers of mixed media and color to transform the images into intricate organic forms. I like to think of it as life drawing with a contemporary twist to take the genre of drawing to another level. The sense of growth and movement allows the viewer to travel in and out of the spaces created by the intertwining line, color, and shape.
I have also always been fascinated by using the square both as the shape of the paper as well as within the drawing. In many of my works, the grid is an integral part of the piece. The meandering line interacts with the grid by giving it a place to snake through structure created by the grid. At the same time, the grid recedes by disappearing in places to let the line unfold.
More recently, I began looking at nature for inspiration, particularly after it comes to the end of its lifecycle. Like the human form, its complexities surface to reveal an entirely new set of lines to work from in my drawings. Looking deeply within the object unveils a host delicate veins that create a similar network of color and shape that transforms how we interact with image. These large-scale drawings from nature create a movement that pushes the image to grow beyond the edge of the paper.
With each new piece I complete, I continually look to push my work to the next level. I never want to become complacent or too comfortable. It is important to continually reach down deep, and not to be afraid to ruin a piece in the process of discovery.