A Highest Attempt of Praise

Article by · July 1, 2018

Pat Burns considers herself a conduit, a tool to be used to create something tangible from the intangible. Since fall of 2013, she has spent most of her creative energies sculpting in water-base clay even though she has over thirty years of acrylic painting, oil painting and drawing experience.

   For her, clay in particular is a very sensual medium, allowing thoughts, feelings and emotions to pass directly from her hands into the clay. “I’m compelled to create subjects that tell a story beyond the surface. I’m an individual filter,” she says. Sight, sound, smell, emotion, and life experiences all come through her and affect how she creates something visual from something emotional.

The Process
Pat spends 4 hours a day in studio work and generally have two or three pieces going at the same time. She tries to NOT over-think the beginnings of a piece, rather let the clay itself develop, as in sketching.  This may lead to more adjustments later but ultimately keeps the piece more spontaneous and emotional for her.
The same process holds true for painting. “I develop reference points over a blocked-in abstract ground and get right to the meat of it. If my drawing is too developed, I fall in love with the drawing and don’t want to cover it up!” she exclaims.
   Her advice for fellow artists is to; devote sacred time in your studio developing the skills necessary to create your vision, take time to nourish inspiration by going on an artist’s date with yourself in the woods or gathering with artist friends to talk shop and by all means devote yourself to process, the product will come,” Burns advises.
   Because art is emotional transference, Burns understands that instinctive trust and devotion, combined with strong faith are much needed attributes if art has chosen you for its path. “Hard work will pay off. You will question your worth as an artist many times. But trust yourself. Only the unshakeable certainty that you are meant to do this will get you through the rough patches” she further advises.
   Pat is compelled to create and identifies with representational and impressionistic works with nature themes. She favors subjects that tell a story beyond the surface, usually animals and people. And gathers most of her reference materials through sketching and photography.  “My drawings are mostly graphite and charcoal. I paint in acrylic and oils on a variety of substrates and sculpt in water-base clay and oil clay,” Burns notes. These artworks have won local, regional and national honors and are in private collections across the US, the UK and Australia.
When asked why art? Pat refers the a quote by Robert Genn in his book, Love letters to Art, “Being alive in this thundering cathedral is about as close to the divine spirit as I’m going to get.  It’s a cosmic privilege that we’ve been granted.  And making this little item that I dare call my art is the highest attempt at praise and prayer that slugs like me are likely to emit in this lifetime.”