The Wall part 2

It really has been interesting to see what people say about my wall these days.  New people coming through the studio building immediately ask: What? Why?  The regulars (mostly artists), come through and give moral support, like:  Go for it!  This is awesome! and I get it!

So what am I actually doing?  Why?  What is it?  And yes, I’m going for it.

This week I added on another layer.  I painted in shapes on top of the pattern, using a mixture of a blue and green paint.  You can see through the layers, but there are hard edges around the shapes to give them from.  These shapes are what formed when I drew out the paths of all the rivers I’ve lived near:  Potomac River, Rhine River, Carrasco Creek, Nile River, Adyar River, Rio Grande, and Clarion River.  Instead of drawing them as separate bodies of water, where they merged or overlapped, I let them connect to make one abstract body of water.  In turn there were spaces left that could mimic  “land spaces”.

So that’s what it is.  The why part is a little more difficult to explain. And I’m not sure I need to say why.  Is it a challenge?  Am I merging ideas of past and present? Is this some how a self portrait of a different kind?  We’ll find out.  There is an explanation somewhere, but I don’t think I need to share that at this point. I’d rather let the viewer decide for themselves and see where it takes them.  However, below, you ‘ll find some of the work I’ve done this past week.

The next step is collage.  I’ve already started at the bottom, and this week it will grow up and around.


The wall

This week I decided I wanted to tackle something large.   Not just4x6 feet large, like a whole wall large.  I somehow ended up with this canvas that has been sitting in my basement for years and decided to finally do something with it.  I unrolled it, put grommets in the top so I could some how hang it on the wall in my studio.  I was able to hang it up, but I would definitely need some sort of step ladder to do the work.

As I was hanging this gigantic sheet, I was thinking about what I should do with it.  Is it an open sketchbook of sorts?  Will it be a final piece, will it be something I just dabble with over the next few months. I had no idea.  The only idea I had was to bring back my pattern.  My script pattern.

It had been a while since I’ve used it.  I think the last use of it came in 2012.  I had been starting the river and tributary series and let go of the script.  I hadn’t taken it anywhere, and it didn’t evolve.  I was actually tired of looking at it, and decided to move on from it.  However, during the course of my last reception at the Workhouse, a few people noticed an old little mixed media piece I had made.  It was only script, but had the collage elements.  They wondered.  And I wondered.  I told them the story about how I let it go, but maybe someday I’d bring it back.

Well, that some day is now.  I am bring it back in a big way, the size, the layers.  It’s coming back.  I’m not sure where it’s going, but it will get there.  I plan on working on this piece while working on other things.  I still love working with bodies of water, but I think I want to find a way to use both.

Here are a few shots of the progress this week.  I’ve spent hours already:


New Series…beginning

After a wonderful opening this weekend at the Workhouse Arts Center, I am back at it again.  This time I’ve decided to work on some wood.  I ordered some cypress wood rounds, and decided to go back to using some thread.  So I don’t know if this qualifies as a painting.  Right now it seems more like a sculpture.  Check it out.

The cypress rounds.
Extreme close up of the threads.
Application continues.

New work on view tomorrow!

Come see new work at the Workhouse Arts Center.  I’m really proud of this body of work.  18 new pieces on wood.  18 rivers of the world represented.  When I started creating these works my goal was to experiment with the textures of the wood.  How would the washes lay on top of the grain?  What if I treated the wood before I applied the paint?  What if I let the paint soak into the grain?  Although the rivers come from areas across the globe, the common theme is movement and texture… and flow.

What’s going on?

Well, I’ve been a bit too busy this past month. I’ve finished my pieces for a “Spotlight” show at the Workhouse Arts Center (18 pieces total).  I’ve been applying to shows all over the metro area, and I started a new part time teaching job. Needless to say, I’ve been neglectful of my blog.  I’m sure it will all balance out in the next month, and I will back at it.  Updating, taking pictures, and sharing what I’m working on.

I haven’t forgotten, and I love to share.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see my new show- drop by the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia.  “Exploring Textures” will be up through the end of September.

Until next time!


Do you like the water?  Do you like artworks that feature water as the main theme or object in a piece of work?  Well you have a chance to see my work as well as some other interesting pieces that will be on view at The Annapolis Maritime Museum This exhibit is sponsored by the Maryland Federation of Art .  You can see the piece that made it into the show here .  All works are for sale.  Show begins September 22, 2016! For more information just go to my Current Schedule and see other opportunities to see my work that could be near you this September.

Potomac 1 (2013), 30″x40″, mixed media

Work time

So, it actually feels like summer in this part of the world right now.  For so long we’ve been really lucky in having a warm, but not hot and humid, summer. Until now.  But that’s ok.  It just makes me want to go to the studio a whole lot more.   I had some time off at the end of July, so it was time to come back and really get to work.  Especially since I have a show coming up in a few weeks. I gave myself a challenge to complete a lot of work.  I’m still not quite sure if I’ll get there or not, but I’ve made some good progress.

The show will be based on texture, since I’m sharing the space with a fiber artist.  She makes wonderful woodland creatures out of felt.  We were trying to think of some kind of title for the show that would make sense, so we came up with “Exploring Textures”.   And– that really is what we’re both doing for the most part.  Our show will be on view at the Workhouse throughout September, and I’m really excited.  In fact, I just got my show postcards, which I can’t wait to send out.

Here are a few pictures to show you what I’m working on:

Light washes on wood
Part of the new collecting of pieces on wood
More washes
On the wall: Topographic Studies
Adyar 1 (above), Adyar 2 (below)
Potomac 1 (above), Potomac 2 (below)


You’re Invited

Exploring Textures:
Recent Works by Kate Fitzpatrick & Tina Kannapel

Workhouse Arts Center, Building W-6 Gallery
9601 Ox Road, Lorton, Virginia 22079

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Free Reception: Saturday, September 10, 2016 6:00 – 9:00 pm

This exhibit features two different approaches to texture by artists new to the Workhouse Art Center. Kate Fitzpatrick presents abstracted images of current and historical geographies that emerge along rivers. Her multi-layered mixed media paintings use existing maps as a collage material to address themes of place and identity – complex textures emerge though layers of wood, paper and paint.   Kate received her BFA from Clarion University and her MA from University of New Mexico. An avid adventurer, Kate recently spent four months in India exploring art education topics as part of her Fulbright scholarship.

Tina Kannapel presents needle felted wool and bamboo sculptures that represent a walk in the woods by an unwary traveler. Featured are “mystical forest folk” – tree spirits, elves, talking trees, barn owls and green men – that “assist” the traveler on his journey. There are also sock monkeys (just for fun). She can be found needle felting and spinning in Studio Fiber Arts (Building 6). Tina studied art at the Baum Art School in Allentown, PA, the Corcoran School of Art, and received private instruction by notable painters, sculptors, and fiber artists in PA, VA, and NC.

New work

I finally started working on a series of new pieces on wood. I’m really liking the random textures I’m getting from the sealed and unsealed pieces.  I have never worked with wood before (I know, shocker.), but I’m trying to experiment with the grain.  I like how it creates a pattern and is already there before I even paint.  Some of the pieces have been sealed before, so the paint lays differently on the surface. Other ones I’ve left heavier brush marks of left the wood untouched so the color seeps into the porous surface. I’m liking the different reactions I’m getting.

I decided to choose 20 major rivers around the world.  I also decided to draw the river from the mouth (the end point).  It’s really interesting to follow these lengthy rivers on a map to find out where the origin is, and how most of these rivers run along borders of neighboring countries.  Almost all of these rivers actually run through several countries, making them hugely important to many cultures who build lives along the banks of these water bodies.  I think it’s one of the reasons why I choose rivers.  All civilizations start along water bodies, cultures grow up alongside of these important places and create their own systems of living.  Even though I’ve lived in many different places, I’ve always lived very close to rivers. Sometimes even blocks away.  There is something rich and interesting about waterways.  Symbolic and purposeful.

Textures, washes, shades.


Blue and green left behind on the edges.  Separating colors.
Still soupy and wet, will be adding more layers.
Grain and green.
Adding in some maps for my version of the Zambezi.


Creating my own virtual world

Are you tired of the Pokemon phenomenon yet?  It takes me back to when I started teaching and had to take away all the Pokemon pongs during class because the sixth graders were out of control with their virtual games.  It seems like Pokemon is a good distraction for some, but what about art?  Art is an even better way to reconnect with your own imagination and allows people to create their own virtual worlds.  Without art, I might be on the hunt for some of those characters too, who knows?  However, to me, art is something that is much deeper, carries more pleasure, and allows me to delve into new ways of making and creating.

This week I delved into painting on wood.  I’m still working out the logistics, but I really like seeing the wood grain in my work.  I think it’s something that I’ll continue to play around with and do some experimenting.

So as you ponder life’s questions throughout the week- maybe ask yourself this:  What makes up your virtual world? Who or what is in it?  What does it look like?  How does it evolve?


People looking for their Pokemon
soft wood grain.
Prepping another background.
Oh yeah, and I won a baguette!