Neil Patterson, to his great joy, has discovered the magically liberating impact of colour. Dazzling reds, yellows and blues, manganese violet, sap green and cadmium orange are applied with loose, generous strokes, straight out of the tube. “It’s like going back to childhood,” he describes. “You forget about rules and just put colours next to one another.” Instead of tinting with black and white, Neil finds he can achieve a three-dimensional effect by mixing paint on the canvas so that certain areas sink behind the pure colours. Patterson believes colour is the essence of painting. He uses an impressionistic “Alla Prima” style of painting to convey his ideas through landscapes and floral in both Plein Air and studio painting.
Between 1969 and 1972, Neil studied painting at the University of Calgary. He also studied at Ted Goerschners Masters Class in California, the Scottsdale Artists' School, and Scottsdale, AZ and at the Charles Movalli Workshop. Neil Patterson was elected, in 1993, as a member of the prestigious group of intellectuals and artists known as the Salmagundi Club of New York. He has numerous awards to his credit, and has been published in several newspapers and monthly periodicals. Neil continues a history of very successful exhibitions across North America, including San Antonio, TX, Jackson, WY, New York, NY, Scottsdale, AZ, Great Falls, MT, Vancouver, BC, and Banff, Calgary and Edmonton, AB.
Neil Patterson is a member of the Alberta Society of Artists, the Federation of Canadian Artists, and the first Canadian to be awarded signature membership of the Oil Painters of America (O.P.A.). In March 2000, he was selected from a company of more than 6000 O.P.A. members to be awarded the status of Master Signature Member, becoming the 34th painter in the elite group. In the summer of 2002, Neil was awarded second place in the OPA’s 12th annual juried exhibition of traditional oils.
"I was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and it was a reproduction of a Tom Thomson painting in my elementary classroom that first got me to dream about painting. Unfortunately, there weren’t any art galleries in Moose Jaw and I had little exposure to original art until I visited my aunt in Ottawa when I was twelve. She took me to the National Gallery and that’s when I decided to become a painter.
I bought a book titled “How to Paint” and read it on the train ride back to Moose Jaw. My aunt sent me a set of oils for my thirteenth birthday and I created my first masterpiece on a canvas belt I found in my father’s workshop. That belt was so thick it almost stood up by itself and I didn’t even know to prime it first, but that’s how I got started.
My mother always told me that if I wanted something bad enough I would find a way to do it. My mind was set on painting and so I determined to make a success of myself. Over the years I’ve come to realize that there’s really no such thing as talent. It’s more desire than anything. Anyone can learn to paint competently and after that it’s just a little something of yourself, call it soul, which has to go into the work.
When people ask me what inspires or motivates me to paint, I simply tell them “I love painting.” Painting to me is like being a kid again; I get to play, but now it’s with paint instead of toys. I like how the paint moves on the canvas, how it can be a million different colors, what happens when you set one color next to another and what happens when they’re mixed together. For me painting is about feeling rather than thinking. It’s a spontaneous, creative, serendipitous process whereby I allow the evolving shapes and colors on the canvas to speak to me. I use loose brush strokes which, by definition, involve a certain lack of control. They are intuitive rather than calculated.
I paint mostly from memory. When I see a sky, I like to put that in my visual memory bank, and on another day I might add an appealing cluster of trees or an intriguing bend in the river. As I paint, I become a creator. I simply plant a tree or move a mountain in order to create a scene that pleases me visually. The final composition becomes a composite of many impressions. Each of us remembers things in a certain way that is our own reality, so I am painting things the way I remember them, perhaps not exactly as they were.
I think of my work as a visual expression of the emotion and passion evoked by a particular image. It is more important for me to capture the feeling of a place than it is to copy it realistically in every detail.
I paint what I love and see around me, scenes that speak to me, places I want to explore. I try to capture moments of light, color and atmosphere which spark my imagination. I want to create my own personal version of reality and entice the viewer to share it with me."
“A photograph is what it is; a painting is what you want it to be.”
Born on 1947 in Moose Jaw, SK. Nationality is Canadian
Please click here to be added to Neil Patterson's special interest list.