“Painting is all about passion,” declares Neil Patterson. “If you respond to the passion that you have inside yourself, that’s when the real painting comes out. Selling your work is a bonus; painting itself is what really matters.” It is his ability to paint feelings rather than merely replicating what he sees that makes Patterson’s vibrant, impressionistic oils so appealing.
Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Patterson has always wanted to become an artist. His mother encouraged him as a young child, saying, “You can have whatever you want. If you want it enough, you’ll get it.” However, there were no galleries in the tiny Canadian community, so young Patterson had little exposure to original works until he visited his aunt in Ottawa when he was 12. She took him to the National Art Gallery where his burning desire to become an artist was rekindled. Young Patterson bought a book titled How to Paint and remembers reading it on the train back to Moose Jaw.
“I didn’t have any paints and our school didn’t have an art department,” confesses Patterson. Nevertheless, on his 13th birthday, his aunt sent him a set of oils and his career began. Poking around in the basement for something to work on, he found a heavy industrial-grade canvas belt and commandeered it for his first painting. “I still have some of my earliest paintings,” states Patterson, matter-of-factly. “I keep them as a reminder of where I started. All artists start in the same place. I don’t think there’s such a thing as talent; it’s more desire than anything. You could teach anybody to paint competently, if they really wanted to learn. After that it’s just a little something of yourself, call it soul, that has to go into the painting, and I think that comes with hard work, experience and age.”