Pat Proniewski is an accomplished artist. Her paintings reflect what she sees and imagines. Her work is of New Jersey and its environs. She paints landscapes, florals, farms and towns. Her paintings are upbeat and uplifting. She has won many awards and is well collected. I recently got to ask her a few questions. Please seek out and enjoy her work. It is wonderful.
You paint many different subjects. Which do you like the best?
I definitely enjoy painting varied subject matter and many subjects are still on my “to do” list. Nature is my greatest source of inspiration, so many of my paintings emerge from my love of the landscape. I enjoy intensely lit scenes, especially those bathed in the glow of late afternoon light. My interest in landscapes emerged from my commute to and from the high school where I was a teacher in a rural area of New Jersey long known for sprawling family farms.
What is your process?
One way involves inspiration from my own photo references and small sketches completed in front of the subject/landscape. Some subjects I capture directly from nature, and some I create or set up, such as my floral still life arrangements. I often alter my references in the painting. I don’t feel compelled to paint them exactly as I see them, but I enjoy looking at them when I work for inspiration and consideration.
Who were you influenced by?
I studied a great deal of art history, and certainly artists like Courbet, Manet, Sargent and others have inspired me. I studied with Mel Leipzig, revered artist and teacher, during the 1990’s and he really turned my interest towards contemporary realism. John Ennis, a Bucks County artist I studied with, influenced my realist palette. I’m also inspired by the work of many of the local contemporary realist artists such as Neal Hughes, Dorothy Hoeschen, Larry Chestnut, Joseph Gyurcsak and Louis Russomanno.
How long do you feel it took you to find your own artistic voice?
I think I’m still developing my artistic voice. What I mean by that is I strive to keep growing and not become stagnant with my ideas and techniques. I feel artists, who are productive, develop a look or style. I think it’s like handwriting. The look or style an artist creates is as unique and identifiable as one’s handwriting.
How long will you work on a piece until you are happy?
I make about 20-30 artworks per year. I will work on a piece until I’m satisfied with it. Sometimes it can be painful, or tedious, but I don’t stop until I feel it is finished. I think every painting teaches me something. Sometimes after I’ve finished I feel I should have stopped sooner. I believe many artists experience that push/pull from time to time.
What fight/struggle do you have regarding your art?
The greatest struggle for me regarding my art is having enough time to create, even after retirement. Also I have physical limitations like arthritis and orthopedic conditions, which limit the amount of consecutive hours I can paint on a daily basis. One additional struggle I’d mention is the lack of brick and mortar galleries in which to exhibit. How great if Hamilton Township, where I live, would establish an art center or a municipal gallery where the many talented working artists of Hamilton could exhibit!
Is this area supportive of the arts?
I believe there has been a lack of sustained cultural coordination here in Hamilton Township, especially focusing on providing networking opportunities for artists and showcasing the many talented artists who live here. I believe there is a need for an art center, or even a café or restaurant which would become a hub for artists in Hamilton. Cultural organizations have a positive impact on commerce when it flourishes in a community. I’m encouraged that the Hamilton Arts Commission has been established and is working towards bringing township artists together. Such a cultural network would be a real asset for the township. It would be great to establish Hamilton as a regional cultural center.
For more information, visit patproniewski.com.