"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.
Patterson emphasizes that colour, not subject, is the true essence of his paintings. Not limited to a single genre, he moves from landscapes to floral works to wildlife paintings and figures with an easy grace. Patterson relies on an impressionistic Alla Prima style. "I used to work from photographs, but over the years I've learned not to do that," he says. "When I see a sky, I like to put that in my visual memory bank, and on another day I might add an appealing cluster of trees or an intriguing bend in the river. As I paint, I simply add a mountain or plant a tree in order to create a scene that pleases me visually. The final composition becomes a composite of many impressions in my memory. Each of us remembers things in a certain way that is our own reality. I paint things the way I remember them, perhaps not exactly as they are."
Elected to membership in the prestigious group of intellectuals and artists known as the Salmagundi Club of New York, Patterson is also the first Canadian to become a signature member of Oil Painters of America and to attain the status of OPA Master Signature Member. Patterson also holds memberships in the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters, the Tucson Plein Air Painters, and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. As a board member of the OPA since 2002, Patterson has served as Co-Chair of Exhibitions, Juror of Awards, and Signature Advisory Board Chair. In 2006 he was elected Vice President of OPA. He presently serves as President.