AFCA - Associate Member
cold wax and oil paint
Patt Scrivener was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan and grew up on a grain farm along with her four siblings. Although there was always lots of work to do, being isolated during the summer holidays afforded her lots of time to create.
Patt became very adept at sewing – often creating wardrobes for her dolls, as well as designing dollhouses filled with furniture. As a teenager, she fashioned many of her clothes by making over garments. She was upcycling long before the word was coined!
Patt’s first childhood memory of art was colouring on any paper that was around and although she does not remember she has been told she coloured on walls too!
She has fond memories of art projects through school. In grade one, Patt attended a one-room school that taught grades 1-8. She remembers doing a self-portrait painting directly on a mirror with black paint. It was inspiring to be in a class with older children.
“I was awestruck by the talent of a boy in Grade 4 and drooled over his art.”
Always creative, Patt enjoyed music too and expressed an interest at an early age. At age 5 she started piano lessons, went on to finish her grade 8 conservatory and later studied pop piano and organ. She also picked up her brother’s accordion as well as trying her hand at the guitar and ukulele. She discovered her real love in the Celtic harp and today she focuses on playing and teaching this instrument.
Patt was encouraged to become a secretary or nurse; however, she knew that was not the path for her. Being unsettled about what to take after high school Patt moved to the city and got a job in a flower shop. By age 23 she owned her own shop. After running a successful business for 10 years Patt was ready for new challenges.
She went on to study interior design and teach floral design at Olds College and Mount Royal University. Throughout her career in her spare time, she continued dabbling in art by studying watercolour, painting on silk, pottery, weaving, and silversmithing.
In 2003 Patt attended a one week mixed media painting workshop led by Maxine Masterfield. This was the catalyst for her decision to focus on painting. Since then she has studied under many renowned artists including Gwen Fox, Pat Dews, Donna Baspaly, Suzanne Northcott, Susan Woolgar, Jean Pederson, Patricia Seggebruch, and Linda Robertson.
Today Patt works in many mediums including acrylic, encaustic and cold wax with oil. Her work includes imagery of people, landscape and abstraction. The layering of a variety of media offers a plethora of possibilities within her work; colour, line, and texture all play a role within her imagery. Her work is about the process – she loves layering, scraping, sanding, pouring and dripping. She uses many unorthodox tools and loves visits to the hardware store!
Patt retains a childlike exuberance when starting a new painting. Rather than have a fixed image in mind, Patt starts each project by pouring, scraping, and mark making. Once she has covered the canvas with a medley of colour, texture and pattern, she then steps back and looks for images to present themselves. She paints very intuitively – listening to the painting and responding to it.
“To me, this method of painting feels more spontaneous and less like the paint by number kit I got as a gift when I was 10!”
In 2007 Patt studied to become a life coach and this was instrumental in her decision to become a full-time artist and to help others develop their creativity. Patt devotes her time creating original works and teaching others.
“I developed my technique by being willing to experiment and always being open to what if? A large part of my learning comes from teaching.”
She facilitates workshops and a mentorship program in her Parksville Studio. Patt is a Signature (AFCA) member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and a member of the DeCosmos Fine Arts Society.
In 2003 I took a week-long workshop with renowned experimental artist Maxine Masterfield that changed my life. The freedom of allowing myself to experiment was all that was needed to set me on a new path.
Before I start my painting I gather all the tools I want to work with and select my palette. I use many unorthodox painting tools found in my kitchen, the hardware store, or my husband’s shop! Putting myself in a “container” and not having too many choices at hand helps with the cohesiveness of my work. I may have a vague idea before I start adding colours, shapes, doodles, and marks to the canvas. These become the under-story and are a common thread in my work. It is when I step back and look at the fun I have had that the images start to appear. It might be buildings, figures, or landscapes. Sometimes it is an emotional response. Nothing is precious only part of the process. At this point, I sketch what I see in the painting with white chalk. I start to enhance the shapes by adding more transparent colours to let the under-story show through and opaque colours to calm some areas down. I make further adjustments that solidify the composition. I may add texture, collage elements, or photo transfer to the piece. Often I add linework or handwritten words into my piece. I do this with a squeeze bottle. It is the process of adding and subtracting that brings my work to completion. When I am nearing the finish line I slow down and really listen to the painting. I often take an image and use Photoshop to try some things before committing on the painting. I rely heavily on my intuition to guide me through the process and to do this I paint alone, often meditating before I start and listening to music that inspires me. I know the piece is finished when I feel complete.