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Patt Huss

After 30 years as a muralist, Kaukauna artist Patt Huss traded in 20-foot ceilings for canvases in 2008. She began painting representational and still life portraits, but Huss’s current passion consists of abstract works made with layers of oil paint and cold wax mixed together. 

“I love it because I can build the layers,” she says. “As they dry, you can build another layer on top of it and then scratch and dig to get colors from underneath.”

Huss excavates the layers, which can be heavy or light strokes, using tools to reveal the colors below. “It’s very textural which I love,” she says. “I love the effect that I get from it.”

In between adding layers, Huss will work on another piece, with anywhere from six to 10 pieces in progress at one time. 

Natural elements such as water, rocks or a crack in the sidewalk cement all inspire Huss’s work. She is drawn most to neutral, earthy color palettes that reflect her love of nature. She believes growing up in the Fox Cities countryside and spending time at a family cabin in Northern Wisconsin informed her fascination with the natural world. 

Often Huss finds her subconscious emerges spontaneously through her paintings. 

“When I paint abstract, a lot of time there will be figures that come through without me realizing it and then I’ll enhance them,” she says. “It makes the viewer think and it makes them wonder and study. That intrigues me and I hope it intrigues them to look farther into the painting.” 

As a lifelong artist, Huss describes her creative process as a spiritual one. Abstract work requires a certain amount of zen-like fluidity and adaptability, while still considering artistic concepts of composition and value.

“There’s something spiritual that comes out of it for me,” she says. “It’s calming. It’s words that are not spoken. I can write a book just looking at a painting.” 

Huss’s work can be found at galleries throughout the region including The Hang Up Gallery in Neenah, Atlas Coffee & Gift Shop in Appleton, Artless Bastard in De Pere and Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor.

To see more of Huss’s work, visit patthuss.com

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