Pat Veno draws and paints to capture the feeling she has of the beauty, pain or joy of a scene or object. It could be a real image or one drawn from dreams and thoughts. She wants to record the beauty of a shape or a line, the expression in a face or gesture, the play of sunlight.
Veno’s background as an ecologist helps her to see below the surface. A tree is not just a single entity, but a bundle of pipes extracting and draining liquids, leaves capturing light energy, roots connecting to other trees via fungi, insects living in and on the tree, the wind as it moves it. Similarly, a person’s surface reflects their past as well as their inner thoughts.
Tell us about the works on exhibit. What’s the medium? What has inspired their creation?
Most of the art pieces are done with watercolor. Watercolors can differ greatly with how they are applied. They can be darkly vibrant or translucent. They can look wet, with one color flowing into another, or they can be applied dry, with the paper peeking through. The way color and technique are used affect the emotion of the painting.While a photo can show what is seen, a painting can show what is felt.
Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?
The process varies with the type of image.I always have a tiny sketch pad with me. A scene needs to have good composition and an emotional impact. I decide on the point of interest and how I am going to lead the eye to this point. In the studio, the exact color is very important to me. There are only a few paints I use directly from their tube. Almost all are mixtures, which I can spend hours adjusting. Then I brush the colors I plan to use onto the back of discarded painting so I can see how the colors interact with each other. I focus on how colors make you feel. I sketch most days, but painting occurs in concentrated clusters of days.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
When I was younger I sketched in pencil, which allows erasure. I tried to capture every detail. I admired those that drew in ink, as they made a commitment. Now my eyes can’t easily see pencil lines on paper, so I use black pens. This means I have to go for capturing the spirit of the image and not worry about getting every line exactly correct.
What art do you most identify with?
I identify with the beauty of the lines in Art Nouveau, with the brush strokes and light of Impressionists and with the color and whimsy of some Expressionists. Current artists that I admire are Nancy Mertz (realistic scenes with fantastic use of color and composition) and Suzana Ogg ( huge colorful organic abstracts).
Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.
I listen to music as I paint, as it isolates you from the rest of life. Maybe what I mean is that music helps you to just think of what you are doing at the moment and forget time. The music in the background depends on my mood. It can range from Mozart’s 21 concerto, Leonard Cohen, REM, Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters to Alela Diane. While I am an avid reader and enjoy movies, I don't feel either directly affect my art. My art is more a result of life experiences and what I see around me.