It’s hard to stay indifferent to Valerie Patterson’s watercolor paintings. Striking, both in terms of composition and themes, they reflect Patterson’s exploration of the human condition.
“I believe that most of my ideas come through me, not from me,” Patterson reflected once in an interview with Manhattan Arts International. “Sometimes, ideas simply pop into my head seemingly from nowhere. Other times, some political or social situation will appear in my conversations, in the news, in a movie, or in many other ways—repeatedly, beckoning me to paint them.”
The daughter of a Minister and public school teacher, Patterson is also very much inspired by her upbringing, saying that both her parents modeled thoughtfulness and a belief in equality, social justice, compassion, and tolerance for others, which are qualities that can also be found throughout her work.
With degrees in Art and Education, Patterson grew up to become an art teacher, while spending most of her spare time painting. Over the years, her watercolor paintings have won awards and have been exhibited extensively throughout the United States in both group and solo exhibitions.
“Artists are often the most emotionally sensitive members of a community,” says Patterson, describing artists as the “canaries in the coal mine”, seeing and truthfully interpreting important events before others realize what’s happening.
“In a culture where so many wear rose-colored glasses, it is important that those who don’t (or can’t), sound the alarm when they see red flags,” she notes. “Because we have a powerful voice, I believe we have a responsibility to use it.”
Indeed, Patterson’s work aims to give voice to difficult social and political subjects in an attempt to encourage thought, emotion, and dialogue within the community. Depictions of children are most notable in her paintings, symbolizing vulnerability and the unfeigned soul.