Patte Ormsby

Patte  Ormsby

About the Artists:

Inspired by Renaissance holy paintings and the sacred feelings they evoke, I want to create that essence of mystique in my paintings; using old ideas in new ways to portray my vision of things I see in this world all around.  By borrowing fundamental visual elements of these holyworks, including richness of surface, deep clear color, iconic pattern, and goldleaf, crackled by the patina of age, I try to suggest a feeling of timeless reverence in a contemporary, secular context.

My paintings have evolved from figurative, to landscape and beyond as they move ever closer toward abstraction. Focus shifts from subject matter to an emphasis on richly textured surface, to conjure mystery and invite a closer look. Through experimentation, educated guessing and happy accidents, I  have developed a process that combines traditonal technique with unconventional, yet readily available materials.

I paint on panels prepared with thick texture and reflective treatments. I build the paintings, layer upon layer with sprayed pattern, translucent oils, metal leaf, patina and varnish resists.  As layers emerge, crack or dissolve, they obscure or reveal underlying levels of color and shape that add the illusion of depth.  Only then do I complete the process with finish brushwork to enhance that illusion and incite curiosity for what lies beneath.  That which came before. 


Patte Reider Ormsby grew up summering on Cape Cod, and began her art
“career” as a young teen selling driftwood paintings and her silk-screened T-
shirts of seaside scenes. Today, Wellfleet, MA remains a large part of her life,
and major inspiration for her art.

A classically trained fine artist, with a degree in studio art, Ormsby believes one
must learn the rules in order to break them and has done that for over 30 years
of continuing independent study. The mother of three grown young men, she
lives with her husband in Fredericksburg, Virginia.