Patti MacHale Bartol works both from her studio in Virginia and in the immense “studio” of nature. The fluidity of her favorite medium, watercolor, allows her to capture color, changing light and atmospheric impressions with her brushes. Her paintings strive to capture the fresh essence of each scene as she combines broad washes of color punctuated with delicate brush strokes. Since becoming a devotee of watercolor, her work has been purchased by both private collectors and corporations including the Airline Pilots Association, Hauni Richmond and the James Center. Her work is included in the North Light book, “How Did You Paint That? 100 Ways to Paint Landscapes”.
Patti had an early exposure to painting with a lineage of artists on her maternal side. Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all painters and Patti displays some of those treasured paintings in her home. As a child, she was often included in her grandmother’s outdoor painting group. The practice of painting on location, en Plein air, is now the main focus of Patti’s art. She is a member of a Plein Air group, the Virginia Plein Air Painters, and has participated in several professional Plein Air events.
Patti’s formal education began with a BA in Fine Art from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1974. It continued with graduate studies and workshops, initially in the field of portraiture. In the 1970-1980’s she concentrated on portrait commissions and then advertising illustration. As time allowed she furthered her study in different mediums (pastel, oil, and watercolor), and began to devote more time to painting and exhibiting. After taking some college level watercolor classes in the early 1980’s, Patti became an avid watercolorist and decided to learn to paint from nature. She now enjoys sharing her love of the process of making art by teaching classes and workshops in watercolor, oil, drawing, Plein air painting, and experimental water media.
“The natural world is where I receive my primary source of inspiration. Nature offers ever-changing light, color, and pattern, while painting imparts a visual “language” that allows me to express my emotional responses to the subject. I’m drawn to the places that feel distant from the complexities of modern life; barns, old houses, country roads, gardens and especially the more pristine places like rivers, marshes, and mountains. Whether a painting is completed on location or studies are made for a larger studio painting, painting from life brings a more intimate connection to my work.”
~ Patti McHale Bartol