Pat Jerde: Art Fundamentals, Creativity and Signatures
By Joyce Young
Reading the Fall Meeting Palette News of Pat Jerde's introduction to art and itÕs path to her career fascinated me. It was the reason I registered for the day in Taylors Falls Oh, and the possibility of seeing the fall colors on the way. Both reasons proved to be great decisions. Following her interview written in the Palette News, Pat shared with us that she loved art already as a child. She knew she wanted to pursue her interest to the next level. However, her art training offered more opportunity in being creative and not as much focus on the fundamentals for learning that are known and taught by the revered "Masters," whose work hangs in galleries, especially for today's artists to study and follow. I thought she meant: "learn of 'who, what, why, where,' beyond what you see."
She showed slides of famous and unknown artworks, pointing out the lighting, balance and other "tools necessary to know" and "how to apply." Reviewing the Jan Van Eyck painting of "Marriage" and using it to refer to his famous "signature," leads us on a path of growth. We noted the background, or atmosphere, the composition, and all the details that make a good painting. You can learn by looking, repeating studies both at Galleries and at the Library. A pattern forms from recognizing the fundamentals.
Pat Jerde is a professional. She supplied answers to questions we hadn't even thought of as she helped us find "hard to see" (Bouguereau), or "very creative" (N. Rockwell) signatures as she meandered around each painting. She found some that were "good looking,"and some that were made to "work in a broken pattern." A hint that I took home: "A viewer should be able to see and find a signature within 5 seconds, NOT the first thing." It can be part of the composition. Design your own signature. Pat's view of the art we brought for critique followed the "masters" fundamentals and she looked for our types of signature. One of her favorite artists (also is a good teacher) is John Singer Sargent. His placement and color are exceptional, without odd distractions. His work is an early example of one who painted "outside the box."
Pat provides what the novice or growing artist wants ("tell me what's wrong"), rather than giving a pat on the back. Her critique comments fit in a pattern: look closely, back away a little, squint, and back up all the way as a viewer might.
Editor's note: Thank you to Joyce Young for sharing her notes from the Fall Meeting.