There is a conquest finding what needs to be said in painting.
I don’t try to render something exactly true to life. I render the feeling evoked, the spirit of the content. Then it becomes rarefied. When I prepare to do a painting, I try to get in character with it, as an actor does with a character he is going to portray – a mysterious process. There is a magnetic field that surrounds every single thing you try to do… There is a conquest in finding what needs to be said in painting,. My art greets me when it is full grown and hanging on the wall. Even this holds true in my photographs. They have a life of their own. That is why I refer to this part of my work as atmospheric photography.
It has been said that “media have wills of their own and lead to unique places.” The medium affects the way you proceed. If you see acrylic under a microscope, you see one long bead with no differentiation from one molecular grouping to another, like a taffy-pull. Once down, it is a difficult medium to reenter, whereas, oil paint always invites you back.
“As with different media, different genres have distinct limitations.” My illumination manuscript paintings in gouache are tight mathematical renderings of symbolism, and they are approached in much the same way a tile setter would lay out his work. It has to be precision work, to fit together mathematically. Oil paintings are a looser method and I’m led more by intuition as to what place one color embraces another, how they greet one another, respond to one another. I choose color intuitively, not by the meaning of color. But when you look at a color chart you see that law is operating in the frequencies of vibration of each color. Red has the lowest frequency. That is why it screams out at you and says, “Look at me.” That is why we stop at red lights.
We then go all the way to ultraviolet, the highest frequency of vibration, and the most rarified of all colors. Because of that, it may be less noticeable in the immediate, perhaps because more subtle, more purified, more regal.
Religion has been said to be essential to art. I feel free to combine symbols of one culture with those of another. From the point of view of life, religion is like painting in white, and white is a combination of all colors.
We know when something is true. We don’t have to say that we are Catholic, or Jewish or Protestant or Hindu. You know when you look into someone’s eyes and they are telling the truth. Everything real is related.
Beyond seeing, there is the sensing of art. We can be blindfolded and yet know we have to stop, as in “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” We can feel our way to the target. I hope my art could be like this – a link to something beyond.
Jill Sattler, Santa Barbara, 2017