My artistic mind is split into two similar directions that have two different means of expression: Painting and Photography.


As a figurative painter, my work is narrative. Drawing is its foundation. The figure lies at it’s heart. Color plays an essential role. Animals are often my muse. Line is essential. I work quickly and spontaneously to imbue the life into life drawing.

My recent work is a series called Totems, incorporating natural world themes of the spiritual and the mythological. This process has lead me to investigate societies that incorporate concepts of totemism and animism as an essential part of their cultures. A totem is a spirit, being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people. Animism is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. My preoccupation and artistic examination of the concepts of human and animal, myth and religion, life and death, have led to the work you see here. Technically, my process begins by combining canvases of various sizes to create “totems”. Scale plays a significant role, as do particular animals and birds and the powers attributed to them. For example, the raven is the Native American bearer of magic, and a harbinger of messages from the cosmos. Among Pueblo tribes, bears are considered healers and symbols of strength. As the work has evolved, I have explored the idea of a horizontal totem as well as deconstructed totems. Of late, I have begun incorporating found objects such as feathers and bones.

My photography on the other hand, uses the same building blocks of composition, lights, darks and in-between tones to create mood. Then it veers off onto a more abstract path. I typically prefer a limited palette. The subject matter is landscape. Like Monet in his garden, for the past seven years, I have been focusing on one particular place, exploring the effects of the elements: weather, and light to create Zen-like meditations on the physical world. Viewers often comment that my photographs look like paintings.





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© patti goldberg ettinger 2019