Artistic Reset

Oak Park painter roars back with new work, classes,

By Jessica Laskey
March 2024

Last time I spoke to the painter Patris, it was May 2020, a few months into lockdown.

Her Oak Park studio was quiet. In-person classes were canceled and moved online. Patris used the downtime to return to basics and work on her already extensive drawing skills.

“In a way, it was a reset,” says Patris, born Patti Miller. “At that time, I was thinking about going into this next decade and asking myself, what do I really love and want to focus on?

“I tried my best to come in every day as if nothing had changed. I decided I wasn’t going to miss a beat, no pulling back and getting lazy. I had to fight for my vision, the dream I have for this studio and being an artist. I had to get back in the saddle.”

When we recently reconnected, I found her not just surviving, but thriving.

Her in-person teaching is better than ever. She offers multiple drawing classes, Saturday still-life painting courses, workshops with local artists, and master artist workshops with international figures such as David Lobenberg, Sarah Sedwick and David Shevlino. (The latter two are scheduled in April.)

“There’s a real hunger for people to want to be together in a learning environment,” Patris says.

In addition to administering workshops and teaching at her studio and the Crocker Art Museum, Patris works on other projects.

In 2021, she embarked on a team endeavor to design and create a 56-foot mural for the Aerospace Museum of California at McClellan Park. Titled “Hidden Heroes of Aerospace,” the mural depicts 2,000 years of aerospace history.

“It was a really amazing experience,” Patris says. “We researched whatever we could find for images of aerospace inventions, and it was a super exciting project to have during the pandemic.”

She expanded her own body of work, partly in preparation for a solo exhibition at the PBS KVIE Gallery now through March 29. The show features pieces that give viewers a close-up view of what makes the artist tick.

There are works large and small, landscapes and still-life. Some depict regional locations Patris paints outdoors. Some are part of her Oak Park series.

“I’m having fun experimenting and pushing myself to make fun and interesting new pieces themed on Oak Park,” Patris says of the neighborhood where she relocated in 2012. “Oak Park is continuing to go forward and there are new things on the horizon, which is really cool.”

Patris enjoys painting other parts of the city. She has expansion plans for her “Broadway Rain” series, a collection of urban rainscapes she hopes to exhibit later this year or early in 2025.

“I’m always pushing myself to learn and create work,” she says. “Now this will really light the fire under me.”

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Jessica Laskey can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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