In the art world, impressionist paintings are treasured by collectors and galleries for their intermingling mediums, meshing brush strokes and blending of colors to create form and substance.
Arizona artist, Angela Pittenger, brings impressionist imagery to life using emotion, oil paints and her trusty palette knives. Her unconventional method of painting with knives, especially seemingly common objects and everyday places, including landscapes, floral, fauna and even telephone wires, bursts forth with vivacious texture and dynamic application forming the spirited shapes on her canvas.
“Yes. I love palette knives. It feels almost carnal to paint with them. It makes you let go of control and let the paint tell you what to do. It’s messy and beautiful, like life.”
Her impressive use of color combined with chaotic strokes from her knife layer atop one another forming scenes the viewer feels a part of. In these vivid paintings, viewers escape to familiar places, places they could visit in everyday life, but will have the opportunity to venture to whenever they gaze into one of her impressionist landscapes.
“I choose what inspires me in the moment. I like to make things that are beautiful and to give people a place to escape to. Sometimes I paint something because I’m sad or stressed. Other times, I see something beautiful or different and want to paint it.”
Like the viewers who discover her artwork, Pittenger finds reprieve in escape through her paintings. She faithfully ventures into her home art studio where she expresses a range of emotions from joy and sorrow to frustration and hope. In the process, she draws upon memory and emotion, methodically laying across the canvas places and objects that exist and those that release from her imagination.
“When something comes out great I feel elated. It’s almost like a high. And then if I sell it or it goes to a gallery, I almost feel sad like I’ve given away a puppy. It’s almost like a love relationship. You fall in love, get mad at it and then when it’s gone you miss it.”
Upon meeting Angela at an erotic art show, it was apparent she had multiple layers to her dynamic personality. She was doing promotional photography for the sultry event joined by her husband, Clint Pittenger, who was the DJ spinning ethereal tunes for the crowd that night. Clearly, she was someone special by her friendly and down-to-earth demeanor. Unknowing, at the time, she painted in the remarkable way she does. Friendship happened quickly shortly after meeting. Her balance of art, work and family is captivating. It turns out she carries many, many responsibilities. And yet, she always finds the time to create art, no matter which medium she uses to express it.
At a young age, Pittenger learned about art from her grandmother, the matriarch of her family. She discovered there can be definable structure in chaotic messes. With the right tools and the right attitude, anything is possible. Through her grandmother’s guided wisdom, she learned to never care about what other people think of you, especially when it involves self-expression through artwork.
“Really, my grandma was my biggest inspiration. She was a beautiful painter. It’s what she was always doing. The smell of oil paints and lilacs always take me back to her home studio… I took classes with my grandma at the local library. I was the only person there under the age of 65. I was about 16. I loved it. I loved learning from those ladies. My grandma and I were so messy. Nobody wanted to come by our table.”
During the years of her formal art education, she found inspiration from the works of classic artists, such as Rembrandt, Waterhouse, Monet and Escher. These legendary artists pioneered various artistic movements including impressionism, expressionism, surrealism and portraiture. Glimpses of their timeless expression can be found within her paintings.
The strokes created by her palette knives appear like perfectly placed, thick scratches and colorfully raked lines. They are seen both up close and from far away. Never entirely removing the truth of the painting to appear more neat and tidy than how it is or how it was created.
Similar to her life, she balances the messes with the arrangements. Both disciplined and unruly. The natural landscapes and emotional imagery she paints combines vibrancy with whimsy. Her representations of both earth-made and man-made creations allows the viewer to feel both a strong familiarity and the peacefulness experienced when escaping to a faraway place.
“I like seeing a creation come to life. And I love the reactions art creates in the viewer. It makes them smile, think or dream. I love that. Being able to relate to people in a visual way.”
Pittenger has displayed her artwork in various galleries on the west coast, including her birth state of California and in her home state of Arizona.
Angela Pittenger currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her son, husband and mother-in-law. She is an accomplished artist, an award-winning journalist, a professional event photographer and a proud family woman.
Want to discover more?
Visit her website: www.AngelaPittenger.com
Follow her Instagram: @AngelaPittenger
Stay on the lookout for future art gallery exhibitions featuring palette knife impressionist artwork by Angela Pittenger.