This Painter Encourages People to See, Think, and Feel

Valerie Patterson’s watercolor paintings are meant to be unsettling. “Once I realized the tremendous power that images can have to make people comfortable or uncomfortable, happy or sad, settled or unsettled, I knew I had a voice,” she stated on her website. Throughout her unsettling work, Patterson strives to give voice to difficult subjects and themes in an attempt to encourage thought, emotion, and dialogue.

In other words: she doesn’t shy away from emotion, exploring the human condition in all its messiness. Her paintings center around human interactions but also the lack of it, raising awareness about the cost of modern-day living, and making the viewer question his connection with the world around him.

“I decided to use my voice to encourage people to see, think and feel – something not always valued in our culture,” writes Patterson. “Awareness replaces ignorance and opens up the possibility of change. If you can’t ignore it, then you may feel compelled to change it,” she stresses.

Born in 1963, Patterson grew up in Ogdensburg, NY, the daughter of a Presbyterian Minister and public school teacher whom she credits for her humanitarianism. Describing herself as an “excruciatingly shy child,” Patterson spent much of her time alone, thinking, dreaming, and making art. With degrees in Art and Education, her adult years were spent teaching and practicing painting. “I believe that most of my ideas come through me, not from me,” she says.

But you’re invited to tag along.