In times past, I would have had the title sorcerer, alchemist, conjurer, or magician. A strange man eking out life in a dingy room. All around me secret formulas written on walls, scratched into cabinets, and scribed on stained manuscripts. Fire and vials filled with liquid or rocks with the ability to kill, permeate the hot and stench filled room. In modern times, I am called a Master Patineur.
Patina is my medium of choice. It is a centuries old process that has been handed down, with great secrecy, from one generation of artist to the next. Out of respect for the masters before me, the intricacies of the process are kept silent. As for the basics, I use silicon bronze plate, I apply iron, silver, copper, and other chemical compounds that are suspended in water to achieve the colors you see. Fire from a handheld torch is used to infuse the chemicals onto the bronze merging the compounds with the metal.
Art can be like snapshots of an artist’s life. I create images that best capture my inner workings. As a young boy I remember one particular sunset deep with colors; reds, golds, and blues. I told my father that I wished I could paint something that beautiful. He told me,”don’t worry, someday you will be able to.”. Hearing those words instilled the hope and determination I needed to seek art as my career.
By nature hot process patina is very chaotic and messy. I have spent 20 years controlling and developing it into my art. I paint with the intent of saying something. This is the intersection where the viewer hears what I think, knows what I say, and feels what I feel.
– Nathan Bennett
Watch this video to see Nathan's patina painting process