ELIZABETH PATTERSON grew up in Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Though she won recognition from a very early age, her success as an emerging artist came to an abrupt halt in 1984. A severe crush injury resulted in a complete loss of use of her drawing hand necessitating two years of intensive medical treatment. Feeling uncertain that she would ever draw again, Elizabeth put her artistic pursuits aside and embarked on a completely different career path.
Fifteen years later, at the urging of her partner, Elizabeth resolved to return to her art-making practice. She discovered that her gift for drawing remained in tact. In her initial foray back to her artwork, memories of a much-loved Hawaiian vacation were captured in a series of brilliant aquatic drawings. The challenge presented by the subject material stirred the artist’s imagination and compelled her to begin a new body of work. Employing colored pencil, graphite and a touch of solvent, Patterson began to experiment with urban scenes but maintained the challenge of representing water in the compositions.
The viewer is situated inside a car. The car is moving down a city street or a deserted highway. Rain pelts car windshields. Headlights shimmer in a watery haze. Landscape morphs into a curvilinear field of waterlogged green. No matter the location (Los Angeles, New Orleans, Paris) stormy weather recorded with Patterson’s degree of fluency and precision engenders a profound emotional vitality in the artist’s ongoing series.
Her work has won critical acclaim and numerous awards including the prestigious honor of signature status in the Colored Pencil Society of America. Most recently Elizabeth's colored pencil drawing Pershing Square was awarded Best of Show in the Inaugural National Weather Center Biennale. Her work was selected from a field that included photographs and paintings as well as other works on paper.