SEAD Gallery and Bookshop is excited to welcome “The Illusion of Light: Watercolors by Monika Pate”. Pate is a watercolor artist, fascinated by the visual effects of light on various objects. Her work captures the drama of light and shadow through transparent watercolor, where she is able to build color through layering. The final product creates “The Illusion of Light” and captures both the brilliance of color and the contrast between light and dark.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, Pate has a Master’s Degree from Warsaw University, and has been painting for 24 years. She is a member of numerous watercolor societies, both nationally and internationally, and has been featured in many magazines and books. She is also a juried member of the International Guild of Realism.
Pate’s educational history is in Biology and Animal Physiology, rather than art. In her college classes, she was required to make detailed drawings of the tissues and cells as she saw them through her microscope. After she moved to the United States, her husband saw some of her drawings and encouraged her to take art classes. When she showed up to the first class armed with drawing materials, she was surprised to see that it was actually a watercolor class, since she had never even considered painting. To her surprise, watercolor was “love at first brush stroke”.
When Pate initially discovered her love for watercolor painting, she spent 10 hours a day working on mastering the medium. She is enthralled by watercolors’ transparency, luminosity, spontaneity and versatility. Her artistic journey is still unfolding and she says that she is continuously learning, but the self-proclaimed common theme in all of Pate’s paintings is light. She appreciates that “a strong light source (especially sunlight) illuminates the forms and textures, makes them more pronounced, colors become more vivid and it makes objects look three-dimensional”. Her goal is to create dramatic paintings, and light is a huge component in the mood of a painting. Because she uses light so much, Pate’s work is known for intense color and sharp contrast.
As Pate also loves the medium of photography, she most often works from photos. Because she travels frequently and her paintings take a long time to complete, working from photos is the most efficient process. She tends to use several reference photos for one painting. Her goal is not to copy the photo, but to create her own vision of the subject based on the photo. In the process of painting, she constantly makes changes, moving and simplifying and eliminating objects altogether.
As for aspiring watercolor artists, Pate recommends learning good basic skills to build a solid foundation. When pursuing this path, “watercolor will become your ‘best friend’ and you will have to spend a lot of time with it and get to know it”. She describes it as a journey that will last a lifetime that will be very rewarding.
Join us for the Opening Reception of Pate’s watercolor show, “The Illusion of Light”, on March 15th from 6:30 – 8 PM.