Elizabeth Patterson Q & A

I met artist Elizabeth Patterson 5 years ago through another artist. I appreciate her tenacity for making great work and her willingness to be vulnerable and real.  I was inspired to ask her a few questions that I thought I would share with you…..come to Elizabeth’s opening reception this weekend at Louis Stern Fine Art! All the details are below-

MM:Isn’t it ironic?

You live in Los Angeles and you make images of rain-how did this happen?

EP: The presence of rain in my work came about completely by accident. At the time, I was working on figures under water. While driving to the valley from my job at UCLA, my view suddenly shifted from trying to see through the rain on the windshield to watching the rainfall as a painting in progress. The blurred and shifting city in the background, the headlights in motion, water in countless shapes and distortions – the whole package completely blowing my mind. All of the elements were there from previous creative obsessions, plus way more, but I didn’t discover many of those things until later. Miraculously I had my camera that day and I came home with some very exciting imagery.

MM:  Where is your favorite place to get coffee in Los Angeles?

EP:  I love Urth Cafe. Can’t deal with the line and forget about finding parking on the weekend to get a latte-

MM: Do you have any artists in the family?

EP:  I had an uncle on each side of the family who were painters, one had significant talent, though not much commercial success. 

MM: How has traveling to Paris affected your work?

EP: Initially I was intimidated by the idea of it – it felt too big. I can’t talk about going there without acknowledging the tremendous fear I had to overcome. I was really worried about getting good reference material in the limited amount of time that I had to prepare for my exhibition over there. Suffice to say that I had to go outside of the comfort zone on so many levels that it gives still me anxiety thinking about it. However I am very proud of the work that came from these efforts, not so much because of artistic merit, but because of the confidence it has instilled in me to trust myself. That feels really good!

MM: Is it lonely being a full-time artist? How do you create balance in your life?

EP: Yes, it can be very isolating. I have all manner of entertainment at my fingertips, and for the most part, my studio remains empty,  while I draw in the house around our dogs and family.

Color pencils are very mobile, clean and simple. I can draw anywhere as long as I have an electric eraser and sharpener. I actually enjoy the solitude most of the time. Sometimes we color pencil pals have drawing retreats, or friends draw together. Mostly due to time constraints, I just stay at home and work.

MM: Can you describe your art training?

EP: I went to Minneapolis College of Art and Design and then moved to Los Angeles 35 years ago. I lurked around the Women’s Building downtown, volunteered on Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and made money as an offset printer, until one day my hand was crushed by a printing press. This accident caused me to reconsider my future and I abandoned my art for 15 years. I had a son to support and quickly immersed myself in the IT world. Many years passed. I met my life partner and brought her back east to meet my father, who had my art all over his home. She was appalled that I had deserted my passion for making art. One week later Suzanne bought me a drawing table and I rediscovered my love for drawing.

MM: what is the best piece of advise you have received? 
EP: I have always heard that you should get as much exposure for your work where ever and when ever you can. That certainly meant excepting “lesser” venues for many years than I thought my work deserved, but it also resulted in a referral to the gallery that I am still represented with.

MM: Come join me as we all raise a glass to toast Elizabeth Patterson’s beautiful work and passion for making art!

Saturday, December 10. 5pm-8pm

Louis Stern Fine Art – 9002 Melrose Avenue http://www.louissternfinearts.com/contact/