Artist Interview with Patty Flauto : Impressions Over Reality

Patty Flauto is currently showing work with Tina Elkins in the BAYarts Sullivan Family Gallery. The exhibition is called Intuitions, and Flauto’s has works in charcoal as well as in acrylic paint. In this interview, you will hear from Flauto as she talks about letting “impressions overshadow reality” to create her beautifully evocative pieces. 

Patty Flauto “Dwell”

Can you explain a little bit about the ideas you used for your artwork in this exhibition, overall?

It all starts with color! Color is almost always my inspiration. Color is what gets the painting started. Using a color palette that excites me and overcomes the blank white canvas. it inspires me to begin. Inspiration is everywhere for me: a piece of fabric; art history; a magazine tear (from any number of the too many magazines that I still receive); or photos that I take. My sketchbooks are filled with these references. I might study these color sources by swatching paint chips as just as another way of exploring the palette. Selecting and editing individual colors to use provides my work with my own unique color perspective. “Dwell” was actually inspired by colors used by the impressionists.

There seems to be something both geometric and fluid in your artwork. How would you describe your approach to creating shapes in paint?

The approach is a bit academic. I feel strongly that a good painting rests on the skillful use of design principles. I rely heavily on shape, line, texture and color. The shapes are pushed and pulled until I’m satisfied with the structure of the design. Further experimentation continues with a variety of surface scraping and stamping to create texture and depth. The unpredictability of the process results in a freedom of imagination and experimentation as multiple layers build. Over the course of days, weeks, months, and sometimes, years, each painting evolves into a wholly original and expressive work where impressions overshadow reality.

Can you talk a little bit about the charcoal series with the space-themed titles? They are absolutely lovely.

Thank you! This series was inspired by an intuitive drawing technique that I learned at The Woodstock School of Art in New York. The discipline of only black and white is a good challenge for me. Several types of charcoal are used to achieve varying degrees of darkness. Different types of erasers are used to create subtractive drawing lines and tonal gradations. You can see this in “Meridian” and “Nebula”.

Patty Flauto “Nebula”

I am so fascinated by the effective and gorgeous aerial views you’ve done of fields or bodies of water like in “Oyster Catchers” and “Koi Pond.” How did you get inspired to utilize this approach?

Looking down, up and sideways is a favorite pastime of mine! Have your eyes ever gotten “stuck” on a horizon line or an aerial view from an airplane? Our world is mesmerizing to me. Gazing for long periods of time and noticing unusual angles and perspectives inform the compositions in my work. “Divided Fields” is an example of my own impression of not a particular aerial view but an image composite from many views absorbed over time. “Koi Pond” is a much more intimate “looking down” view than you see in “Divided Fields” whereby a bright orange dash of color reveals itself through the murky water.

Patty Flauto “Divided Fields”

Did you utilize any very specific source images for each painting (of sunsets, aerial views) or did you create your own worlds from many ideas/images?

I don’t use source images per se. I will do charcoal sketches or pen thumbnails that provide compositional inspiration. I do use a viewfinder/cropping guide to see things in a new way. I use the cropping tools to take sections of my charcoal drawings or sections of my paintings or even small sections of a photo or magazine clipping. When I begin a painting, I will map out a composition study. As I begin to paint, the visual and internal dialogue with the work begins. I am watching what is emerging and will explore composition and emotional expression as the painting emerges. All of the natural elements found in the landscape are easy subjects to explore for the visual language of abstraction.

Where can people find you online or on social media?

on Facebook
My website

Finally, what does the title of Intuitions mean for you and the work you’ve displayed in this exhibition?

Abstraction encourages the mind to complete what it sees. This is at the core of intuition. We don’t necessarily see it clearly but we know it.

Intuitions is on display until March 1st, 2019

Interview conducted and compiled by BAYarts Marketing Manager Jessica Stockdale