"Willett captures and conveys energy in a uniquely expressive way"

Artvoice Review - Waters of March

Watercolors by Patrick Willett at Studio Hart
by J. Tim Raymond

               artvoice, patrick willett, currents, burchfield penney art center, Albright Knox, pen and ink, ink drawings

Waters of March

Something known to all of us, one of the basic elements of life, when water is blue it is a healthy sight.

—John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)

Studio Hart Gallery is presenting a series of small-scale works on paper in ink and watercolor by Patrick Willett, curated by Gerald Mead.

Viewing these framed scenes of lush waterways from riparian vantage, the rhythms of Brazilian composer Antonio Jobim’s stream-of-consciousness composition, The Waters of March, came to mind.

At first appearing as fresh plein d’air sketches worked out of doors, on closer inspection the deep rich surface texture of pen and ink emphasizes the artist’s careful attention to detail, working his images over time to give the appearance of the river’s flexing muscle in passages of agitation and repose. Willett’s eye for the subtle energies of nature is sharp. Like a minimalist Burchfield, he works muted tonalities of ochre, blue, and gray green to set an emotional tone for each fluid vision. Willett’s glinting glimmering ripples hint at strong psychological undercurrents in the artist’s work.

Followers of geomancy, or sacred geometry, posit Western New York—at the confluence of Lake Erie and the Niagara, racing toward each other at a four-knot chop—as drawing the friction from both bodies of water in a kind of magnetic pulse creating a desire to witness nature at a spiritually significant location.

The viewer may find in these undulating vistas an aid to imagination made almost audibly present.

Willett’s show continues through March 31.

Buffalo News Blog Article

A closer look: 'Urnes Cicada' by Patrick Willett

patrick willett, cicada, buffalo news, albright knox, burchfield penney,  studio hart

Arist: Patrick Willett // Title: "Urnes Cicada" // "Currents: Recent Watercolors by Patrick Willett" // Through March 31 in Studio Hart

The cicada is a creature imbued with all manner of ancient meanings, an insect that becomes a periodic fascination when it emerges toward the end of its lifespan for a few weeks every 13 or 17 years. It also fascinates the painterPatrick Willett, who produced a series of watercolors of cicadas in the midst of a recent illness. (Three of them are now on view: One in Studio Hart, one inBuffalo Arts Studio and one in the Benjaman Gallery.) He painted the piece while listening to the distinctive chirp of a cicada in his yard, and it seems the act of painting it served to distract and comfort him in a time of personal distress.

During his recent opening in Studio Hart, Willett said that the cicada simply seemed like an ancient creature to him -- something that spoke to old traditions and cultures mostly unknown to us today. If you peer closely at his cicada's anatomically accurate wings, you'll see strange swirls and filigrees. They are embelleshments in the "urnes" style, a kind of Viking art that also bears a resemblance to Celtic decorative patterns. The wings of Willett's ancient cicada are filled with ancient references, a fact that imbues this painting with a kind of comforting heft. It's at once classically beautiful and freighted with ancient meaning -- just like a the cicada itself.

Here's an even closer look at the wings:
--Colin Dabkowski

Buffalo News Article

Buffalo News, art section, Gusto, Patrick Willett, Currents, New Work by Patrick Willett
“Upper Niagara Rapids,” a painting by Patrick Willett, is in an exhibition of the artist’s work opening Friday in Studio Hart. 
Buffalo News Article

Painter Patrick Willett captures the ebb and flow of nature in Studio Hart’s ‘Currents’

For some artists, the act of painting or drawing can be a cheap and effective brand of therapy. That’s the case with a recent body of small-scale work by Buffalo watercolorist Patrick Willett opening Friday in Studio Hart (65 Allen St.).

The show, “Currents,” features ink and watercolor paintings on paper that depict surging waterways and windblown fields in a free-handed way that gives the viewer a sense of motion. The pieces, Willett said in his statement for the show, are an attempt to “capture the rhythm of energy that surrounds us in everything we see, hear and touch” and draw on natural rhythms such as “the ancient humming of the cicada, the ebb and flow of the rivers and lakes and the grinding of rock by rapids.”

Willett wrote that he created the pieces under some difficult personal circumstances, information that provides food for thought about the way art – both creating it and looking at it – can be a much-needed refuge and relief.

– Colin Dabkowski

My work featured on Burchfiled Penney Art Center's Blog

burchfield penney, Buffalo ny, grain mills, watercolor, museum

Driving through Downtown Buffalo you are reminded that the City of Buffalo was once a giant behemoth of Industrial prowess. From the Canals to the Skyway and the Grain Mills that dot the Landscape; these hulking, rusting monuments from a bygone era are reminders that Nature is forever an artist and architect. Local contemporary artist Patrick Willett uses watercolors to tell the autobiographical story of many of buffalo’s recognizable and sometimes forgotten architectural testaments.
Nature is a focal point of interest for Patrick. Many of his paintings are typical landscapes of trees and the scenic outdoors; however he captures nature in his industrial architecture paintings as well. These paintings reveal the healing and renewing aspects of the landscape especially how nature has found a way to slowly reclaim the materials and structures that man once made.



train bridge, viaduct, pen and ink, watercolor wash, watercolor ink

Ink on Arches Paper

Wetlands Creek

swamp, wetlands, nature preserve, park, walk , streams

Wetlands Creek
Watercolor and Ink on Paper


cicada, katydid, bugs, august, pen and ink, dry brush, burchfield penney art center, albright knox art gallery, works on paper
Pen & Ink and Drybrush on Paper
37 x 28"

This creature sang to me until it died,
what else could I do but paint it?
Beautiful, timeless creatures that produce a haunting sound that speaks of late summer and the approaching autumn.

Dead Trees

industrial landscape. cityscape, train tracks, viaduct, urban
Dead Trees
Watercolor, Graphite and Gouache on Paper

Night Fall

patrick willett, watercolor paintings, ink,
Night Fall
Ink, Graphite and Watercolor on Paper

River Ice 4

river, winter, ice, niagara, water, cold, blue, icy
River Ice 4
Watercolor, Graphite and Ink on Paper

Gorge Crevice

niagara gorge, whirlpool park, niagara falls, niagara gorge, river, rapids

Gorge Crevice
Ink and Watercolor on Paper

Ballers 2

basketball, watercolor, streetball, ballers, park, pickup game

Ballers 2
Ink and Watercolor on Paper

Burchfield Penney Art Center article:

My Observations About Watercolor 

Using water to carry the intent as well as the pigment.
I’ve always lived near large bodies of water; I am made primarily of water.
The quick, gestural nature of watercolor; the idea becoming reality through water.
Everything about being a watercolorist has always appealed to me.
Growing up in an extremely large family prohibited working space or drying times, so, pen & ink sketching and watercolor painting became my companions very early on. From there grew an intimacy with the medium, a relationship that I knew would be for life.
Watercolor is not a static medium, I am always pushing towards new applications utilizing natural elements such as salt, blood, soil, wine, berries etc., to impart a time and place to my work. A plentiful mulberry or blackberry season in my garden often results in much deeper purples and reds in my paintings as well as stained fingers.
The ground we work with is no small matter either. Good watercolor paper is as thick and durable as canvas.
The idea of watercolor paintings as delicate, precious studies has long been relegated to myth. Any piece of art must be looked after, but watercolor paintings are as enduring and valuable as stretched canvas or any other medium available.
Much of my inspiration comes from nature, or rather my sensation of being in nature, a part of it. A sense of place runs through my work, the everyday dramas unfolding before us –birth and death. We witness renewal on the smallest scale as a new blade of swamp grass up to the immense swirling night sky. Decaying factories and massive old growth trees, both here for now, like the water.
The river streams by, the spring rains come, the water flows through and throughout us –I will forever be using water to tell my story.
Patrick Willett
Patrick Willett is a self-taught visual artist living and working in Western New York. He started working as a full-time artist in 2001. Willett’s work has been exhibited extensively in Western New York and internationally including the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo History Museum and many commercial galleries. Willett’s work is held in collections worldwide.


Canal Bridge

erie canal, bridge, tonawanda, new york, willett, factory, barge

Canal Bridge
Watercolor on Paper

Giant Oak

pen and ink drawings, giant tree, oak, double oak, forest, niagara river

Giant Double Oak, Niagara River
Pen & Ink and Ink Wash on Paper