Susan Patrick: Debris into Drawings, Paintings and Sculptures


Attachment # 11
Black Ring and Others, Drawing











On walks, I find feathers, seed pods, pieces of wood, leaves, flowers, sticks, papers, plastic and metal things, pieces of glass, strings, all objects that were useful in some way before they were dropped or lost. They served important purposes and then they didn’t. Some fell from trees, from birds, from pockets, the undersides of cars, or from the hand of a distracted walker like me.

Attachment #10
Wooden Block and Others, Drawing












I find these little things visually interesting. I do love paper clips and buttons! Mostly I like to think about how useful each object had been and had it been grown or purchased for an important function, helping a bird fly, capping a drink, holding a shirt front closed, getting someone into a movie theater. And then, each thing is on the ground, considered litter and trash. Their designs are beautiful, all of them. They functioned well and are pleasing to look at. So, I pick them up, admire them, and take them home.

Attachment #9



I carry these little found things from the ground, pick out a few, and lay them out on a surface in a carefully arranged composition. I slowly draw each item with graphite while only looking at the items, not the drawing, while I draw.

Cup Hook and Others, Drawing











Attachment #8


I elaborate with ink lines, pushing and pulling around the graphite lines. Drawings are on top of drawings. Shapes enlarge and shrink. Spaces are filled in. Dots are added to expand the drawings. Images drift from the object to abstraction, becoming my personal visual interpretations as well as depictions of what used to be debris.

Washer and Others, Drawing


I also draw larger pictures from the debris arrangements and watercolor paint selected areas. I have expanded more with large acrylic paintings on canvas, as well. I love the debris so much that I make sculptures by attaching the found things to boards with embroidery threads.




The purpose in turning these discarded things into art is to present interesting expressions as well as to alert viewers to watch for the overlooked on the ground and in our lives.

Blossom, Drawing
Blossom, Painting










While making these drawings, paintings and sculptures, I often think about refugees with whom I’ve worked. They were living their lives in places where they were no longer welcome. They were forced to leave and had difficult times finding a home country in which to function again. They too know what it is to be discarded, discounted. How can we ease the pain?

I became friends with a family forced from Bhutan for religious reasons to a camp in Nepal and then to the United States. With the help of the local International Rescue Committee, they are now productive, thriving members of the Charlottesville community.

–Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick

Susan Patrick is an artist who uses a variety of media to create her designs and paintings. She spends much of her time in her studio painting reflections of personal events.

A native of California, Susan spent her childhood traveling with her father, a U.S. Naval officer, mother, a lover of all arts, and two siblings. She was graduated from Madison College in Harrisonburg, Va., majoring in art with a certification to teach. She later received her MA in painting from Madsion. After teaching elementary and secondary art for thirty-four years and painting and exhibiting continuously, Susan now lives in Charlottesville, Va.

Presently Susan teaches a wide variety of art classes privately and in adult programs. She is a member of McGuffey Art Center and has exhibited widely throughout Virginia. She was awarded a residential fellowship at Virginia Center of Creative Arts. Susan’s work has been purchased by private collectors as well as Capital One and the University of Virginia Health System. Click here to see more of her work.

Featured image above, Metal Scrap and Others, drawing

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