Watercolor artist Valerie Patterson grew up in Ogdensburg, NY. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art/Painting and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from SUNY Potsdam.
Although her work is often provocative, with pointed social and political commentary, her life in the Adirondack Mountains is also reflected in her painting. Images of family, friends, her dogs, and the woods and waters surrounding her home are frequent sources of inspiration. She lives and teaches in Saranac Lake, NY., and has exhibited at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts; Manhattan Arts International; the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA; the Frederick Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg, NY; and the Adirondack Artists’ Guild in Saranac Lake. The museum owns a watercolor by Valerie, Along the Way, 2015 (2016.061.0001).
Like many artists, working in isolation helps Valerie focus on her painting:
“I find that social distancing has had little impact on my work. As a studio painter working from photographs, painting, for me, has always been a solitary pursuit. Since the beginning of the global shutdown, I have completed several paintings. The most recent, Taking the Air, is a watercolor painting in my Ghosts In Saranac Lake Series. [These paintings] incorporate the past with the present while highlighting Saranac Lake’s unique history as a health resort/Sanitarium for people suffering from TB between the 1880s and the 1950s. [I took the] background photograph for this work…on one of the many walks around Saranac Lake that I have enjoyed this spring. It is an up to date view of what was once the doctor’s residence and animal research building on the former grounds of the Trudeau Sanitorium. The “ghosts” were created using an historic photograph of actual Trudeau patients. While I have created over 20 paintings in this series during the past several years, this one felt more personal [as] the village’s history became even more real for me, experiencing firsthand the fear, anxiety and daily issues [which are] the result of dealing with a serious, incurable, communicable disease. I have often felt the presence of those who came to cure in Saranac Lake. As the result of Covid-19, my understanding of what they experienced and endured has strengthened and intensified. I hope that this will add to the depth of my future works in this series.”
Taking the Air
2020 | Watercolor | 27”x 35”