Valerie Patterson Puts Raw Emotion on Display

There’s a richness to Valerie Patterson’s watercolor paintings – an overflowing of textures, patterns, and colors. Her canvases seem to be bursting at the seams. Sometimes, she results in painting over her finished works – a superimposition that’s well-intended, and which adds to the intensity of the overall composition.

According to Patterson, such details are meant to reflect the “psychological resonance” of her subjects, delving deeper into the human condition. “I believe that most of my ideas come through me, not from me,” she explained on her website. “Sometimes, ideas simply pop into my head seemingly from nowhere. Other times, some political or social situations will appear in my conversations, in the news, in a movie or in many other ways — repeatedly, beckoning me to paint them.”

Through her work, she aims to give voice to difficult social and political subjects in an attempt to encourage thought, emotion, and dialogue. “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 writes.

“I decided to use my voice to encourage people to see, think and feel – something not always valued in our culture. Awareness replaces ignorance and opens up the possibility of change. If you can’t ignore it, then you may feel compelled to change it.” Her imagery is compelling, if nothing else.