I No Longer Ask Why

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw

"Not Intended For Ground Contact," Mixed media on deep wood panel, "17 x 23"
“Not Intended For Ground Contact,” Mixed media on deep wood panel, “17 x 23”

You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw

 A couple years ago I a wrote asking art lovers to respond with specifics about a piece of art, not just “beautiful” or “wonderful” or any other single word adjective. Part of me would still like more, but I have decided I was wrong—wrong to ask any viewer to explain their emotions or feelings about a specific piece of work. (Let’s face it sometimes I don’t want to have to explain even to a juror what my painting is “about.”)

Instead, I am now content to just “like.” I have come to understand as one blogger Ralph Ammer puts it, “art is a mirror for artists and viewers alike.” When we as artists have put all of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions into a piece, our story is told. Our view is registered. For the viewer, the reflection begins when they stand before the piece or see it online. And often their emotions and thoughts are so personal and complex, they may feel there is yet another story to tell—or not tell.

So, I no longer ask “why.” I am just grateful that they are art lovers and that I have the opportunity through my paintings to touch someone or trigger a few thoughts.





When is a Workshop…Well Not a Workshop? Part 2 Surrealists


My mentoring week with Katherine Chang Liu also included “programs” that she developed for the group. For an hour each morning we viewed and discussed contemporary art. I found myself really enjoying the work of the surrealists, which was definitely not the case before. Perhaps what made me appreciate this art even more was the work another artist in the mentoring sessions—Judith Visker.

According to her bio, Judith had a career as a nurse before studying art. She painted in stylized representational style for a long time, but is now “more concerned with where the materials take me, with color relationships, formal design and surface quality.” She has exhibited in museum shows, galleries and exhibitions and has won awards. She is the Gallery Director at The Wham Art Center in Surprise, AZ where she has her studio, shows her work, and teaches classes. She graciously allowed me to share a few images. You can find more at her website: http://www.judithviskerart.com/




Natural Turn, 15.5″ x 15.5″, mixed media on board

For about 3 years my husband and I enjoyed ballroom dancing and liked the time we spent learning together despite the fact that I had great difficulty following his lead. He is the better dancer, often having to count in my ear as we learned the tango (4 beats to a three beat count), the foxtrot (4 beats with a slide), or the waltz (3 beats with a rise and fall). As part of the basics of the waltz we learned the natural turn, the promenade, the twinkle, and the reverse turn.

Although the waltz has always been my favorite, I suspect I will always have trouble following. This piece is how the natural turn feels when the music takes possession and you are in the moment.




Landing, 10″ x 10″ on deep wood panel

As I watch my grandson do a somersault, is where he lands more important than how? I’m not sure. Perhaps being ready is the most important and the hardest to predict.

So in this painting I leave you with softness, bright color, and a few places picked out just in case you aren’t quite ready to land.

Ah Memories…


Acurrentinthemind_howmemoriesaffectlife_patricia_steele_raible_2165 x 2500
A Current in the Mind 12″ x 12″ Acrylic on deep wooden panel ready to hang.

Novelist Julian Barnes’ view of memory is that “it is identity. When you forget your life, you cease to be, even before death.” Researchers now tell us we are constantly altering our memories each time we share them. If that is so, what does this say about our lives?

Do different memories really make us different people? Clearly, there are more questions than answers!

 For more information about this piece go to http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-A-Current-In-the-Mind/515916/1737603/view


Seeking Direction

http://www.artfinder.com/marketing/artwork/seeking-direction-247b/?scheme=dark&user_id=954319&size=large“>Seeking Direction 8″ x 8″

Decisions, whether big or small, are often influenced by input from the people in our lives—family, friends, neighbors, even ex-spouses. Some of that input is inadvertent and some is very pointed. Either way, taking personal responsibility for life’s decisions is sometimes unnerving.

The imagery and textures of this work depict the people in our lives and the passage of time, making the point that if there is not a compelling reason to make a decision, it might be sufficient to do nothing. What do you see here?

For more information go to my page on Artfinder.

Conflicted Feelings

“The Reluctant Heart,” 7” x 5”, acrylic on deep wood panel. To see more about this piece, follow the link: https://www.artsicle.com/Patricia-Steele-Raible

I started this one began in January on one of those mornings when decisions needed to be made. Will my heart follow my head, or my head follow my heart. One always seems to lag behind.

It is difficult to deal with conflicted feelings. When a decision does not turn out the way you had hoped, you blame yourself, as if you’ve made a major mistake. But the heart, it always keeps reaching. It wants to take the risk.