Watercolor work decorates Legislature | NevadaAppeal.com

Watercolor work decorates Legislature

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal Artist Heather Patterson talks Friday about her artwork now on display at the Legislature.

Artist Heather Patterson admits her works include a lot of what she calls “forced accidents.”

“Watercolor is the trickiest form because it shows every little mistake. With oil, you can paint over those mistakes,” Patterson said. “I have a lot of forced accidents, where things happen that I didn’t plan.”

Patterson’s work, accidents and all, will be on display at the Nevada Legislative Building beginning Monday as part of the Legislative eXhibition Series sponsored by the Nevada Arts Council. Her work will remain up through May 18.

The Carson City artist is featuring six 30-by-22-inch watercolor paintings depicting forms and patterns of life underwater. Patterson said those works are significantly smaller than her normal paintings, which are done on 8-by-15-foot canvases.

Because of the large scale of her work, Patterson paints primarily with oil paint on the floor, dripping paint and then carving into the surface to make the images rise up.

“I want to make paintings so big that they just consume the viewer when you are standing in front of them,” Patterson said.

Patterson, who lived in San Francisco for 15 years before moving back to Northern Nevada a year ago, said she has about 10 paintings in progress at any given time.

“I get irritable when I can’t create art,” she said.

Patterson’s love of art began when she was a child and was only reinforced after taking classes in college.

“My parents got me watercolor lessons when I was little and I had a lot of time alone to draw or paint,” Patterson said. “I took some art classes in college and enjoyed it, decided to make it my major and eventually got my master’s.”

Patterson studied painting at Sonoma State University and received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003.

Her work is currently being exhibited at the Fresh Paint Gallery in Culver City, Calif., and she is scheduled to be included in an exhibit at Hospitality House in San Francisco in May.

As for her work being in Nevada’s hall of government, Patterson said her only goal is to get noticed.

“It’s good being here, I hope they see the art instead of the Coke machine,” Patterson said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

If you go

WHAT: Watercolor works by Carson City artist Heather Patterson as part of the Legislative eXhibition Series

When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday through May 18.

WHERE: Artwork is located by the elevators on the main floor of the Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St.