Hi! Patricia Katz here – coming to you from the Pauseworks Studio in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (If you need a geographical prompt, that’s smack dab in the middle of the western Canadian prairies.) Let me introduce myself and my artwork.
Splash and squiggle is how I work. Ink and watercolor is where I live. With pen or brush in hand, with paints and paper in front of me, I am just plain happy! Bright light, cheerful colors, and lyrical lines lift my spirits and make me smile. My best work appears when I’m able to hold a lighthearted, playful spirit.
I think of myself as an Appreciative Adventurer – finding joy and beauty everywhere I am and everywhere I go. In art, as in life, I am drawn to express the up side, the sunny side, the inspiring message that life is good. I hope others feel encouraged and heartened for having been in my presence and in the company of my work.
I travel a great deal for both work and pleasure. No matter where I go, I always pack a sketchbook and paintbox in my bag and keep my eye pealed for sights to capture along the way. It has changed the way I look at the world.
I’ll sketch almost anything that appears in front of me. However, I’m often drawn to landscapes, seascapes and streetscapes – especially those places where the natural world meets the man-made world.
My paintings typically start with a drawing – sometimes a free flowing contour drawing and other times a more calculated approach. If time is limited or the subject is not too complex, I will go directly into the drawing with pen. If it is more complicated, I will begin in pencil to work out the distances and angles. Then I may or may not ink the work before painting.
I find if I ink first, it sometimes has a restrictive impact on how I apply paint. I tend to be much looser and more free when painting only from a pencil sketch. As much as possible, I let pigments mix on the paper by placing colors side by side to create more variations in texture and color. I tend towards the alla prima approach to painting – first time as final – rather than working with a series of layered washes. I find it gives a freshness that layering does not.
I try to remember to leave whites and open space through which the light and eye can travel. This mantra is on permanent loop running through my head: More light! Less paint! Less paint! Less paint!
How Painting Evolved In My Life
Art has never been my day job. I’ve spent the last three decades operating my own business as a speaker and writer. I deliver conference presentations, facilitate training seminars and publish books – mostly around the themes of renewal and appreciation.
Painting is a relatively new pursuit for me, although color and design have always been a part of my hobby life (sewing, weaving, dying yarns, landscape gardening at various times through the years).
I took my first watercolor class about 15 years ago around age 50. At the end of the class, I had a small stack of miserably muddy paintings; but I was hooked on the idea of learning more and getting better.
Since then, I have taken several watercolor classes from Canadian artist, Cecelia Jurgens. I also traveled with her on three international painting trips visiting the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
I’ve studied in workshop settings with other watercolor artists including: Charles Reid, Judi Whitton, John Lovett, Brenda Swenson, Karlyn Holman, Robert Sinclair, Brian Atyeo, Brent Laycock, Eleanor Lowden, Barry Coombs, Alison Montgomery, and Anne McElroy.
I’m also a huge fan of the learning opportunities offered online through Sketchbook Skool, the creative brainchild of Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene. The class offerings feature a wide range of instructors and techniques. The programs are varied, creative and inspiring. They’re hugely motivational in getting me to pick up a pen or brush and put them down on paper.
Marketing My Work
I began selling my paintings five years ago – primarily online through my Fine Art America website. I typically work small scale in sketchbooks. Then I scan and upload the images at very high resolution. Collectors are able to purchase the images of their choice on the mediums of their choice (canvas, paper, acrylic, metal) in sizes of their choice – frequently much larger than the originals. Of course, the originals are also for sale for those who are interested.
I have participated in a variety of group shows in recent years, and also sponsored my own unique limited series offerings. During each of the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2016, I created and marketed a series of small paintings through my weekly e-zine that goes out to some 5000 subscribers.
Each series featured a different theme and format:
· 2013 – Pausegarden – 7 x 7 paintings of garden vignettes
· 2014 – Postcards – 4 x 6 travel images with PW Studio postmark
· 2016 – Pat-oramas – 4 x 10 seascapes and landscapes
The first person to call dibs each week was able to purchase the original at the special pricing for that series.
In 2016, I created a Simple Pleasures series of small pieces – 6 x 6 framed – and sold them at a one-day sale hosted in my studio. I also created an online Virtual gallery for these images, and accepted purchase offers on-line and by phone during the hours of the live sale.
In 2017, I created a ten painting series (one from each province) to honor Canada’s 150th Anniversary. I marketed these through my ezine newsletter, releasing one new painting a week for 10 weeks, and awarding purchase to the first person to bid on each painting.
I’ve recently taken on several commissions. These tend to be requests for paintings of places that hold special meaning for the commissioner – often places they have travelled around the world.
Publishing Sketches of Saskatoon
In 2013, I published forty of my artworks in a book titled Sketches of Saskatoon. The book and accompanying narrative deliver a colorful stroll through the streets of the city I call home. I hired a graphic designer to make recommendations about fonts and layout, and to assemble the scanned images in the proper form for printing.
The book was very well received (over 3500 copies sold so far) and is now in its third printing. I market SOS online, and also through local bookstores and galleries. You can see samples of the images and page layouts and learn more about the book on its dedicated website. (http://sketchesofsaskatoon.com)
My Favorite Materials
When I work in the studio, I use mostly either Arches 140 lb (Cold Press or Rough) or Fabriano Blocks 140 lb (Cold Press or Rough). When I am on the move, my preference is the 140 lb Pentallic coil bound sketchbook in either 7” x 10” or 12” x 9” sizes. I also occasionally use Stillman & Birn Beta series sketchbooks in various sizes.
My favorite watercolors are a mix of Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith pigments including: Quinacridone Gold, Hansa Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Orange (way more exciting than Burnt Sienna), Transparent Orange, Scarlett Lake, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Winsor Blue or Antwerp Blue, Cerulean Blue, Serpentine Green, Sap Green, Viridian, Perylene Green.
I also maintain a separate Winsor & Newton travel paint box filled with QOR watercolors. I love their vibrancy. And, in my opinion, QOR offers the most agreeable Sap Green watercolor on the market.
I have a sizeable selection of brushes of all types and sizes. However, I find whether I’m on the go or in the studio, I tend to use mostly my travel set of three Charles Reid Escoda round brushes – in sizes 6, 8, and 10. I’m also partial to two other round brushes: Charles Reid Kolinksy size 8, and Sceptre Gold II Winsor and Newton Sable/Synthetic size 12.
And, in terms of specialty brushes, I love Terry Harrison’s Golden Fan-Gogh Small for the branches on palm trees.
For most of my sketchbook work, I’m currently using the black Copic Multiliner in a 0.3 or 0.5. I used to use the fine point Micron pens in those same sizes, but find the Copic Multiliner moves more smoothly and evenly over all kinds of papers.
For larger works and a bolder line, I use the Micron Pigma Graphic 2 that features a chisel point. I’m also a fan of the Kuretake ZIG Artist Sketching Pen in the sepia color.
Who Owns My Paintings
My paintings and watercolor sketches can be found in private collections around the globe: France, England, Saudia Arabia, the USA (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia), and Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan).