Elizabeth Patterson


Elizabeth Patterson (born 1954) is a Photorealist artist whose drawings depict highly detailed landscapes, often emphasizing the subjective quality that water brings to a composition. Patterson’s unique expression of Photorealism is both incredibly realistic and simultaneously dreamlike, wavering between abstraction and hyperrealism.

“From the beginning of my obsession with drawing, I have been fascinated by transformational qualities of light and distance. Whether I am studying a large body of water shot through with sunlight or rain on a car windshield reflecting the glimmer of adjacent neon signs, I am always looking to catch the mystery of these completely real distortions. This is what interests me when I look at the world. No matter what the subject matter or what the degree of complexity in the composition, I never tire of the challenge of articulating the fluidity I see all around me.

My most recent series “rainscapes” was born of my attempts to watch the patterns created by water and nightlight on my windshield during a rainstorm. A few drops turned into rivulets, blurring my vision. Then the wipers would completely change the image. It was a mesmerizing display of all the elements that stimulate my imagination: an emotional quality suggested by water, a solitary vantage point for the artist and constantly shifting colors and distances in the landscapes. I started shooting reference photos and am currently still mid-experiment with that imagery.” – Elizabeth Patterson


Originally from Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Patterson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and relocated to the Los Angeles area in 1979. She worked in numerous mediums and styles with a strong proclivity for graphite and color pencil rendering. 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 in her drawing hand and necessitated 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.

In 1986, Elizabeth traveled to Hawaii where she explored the magnificence of the undersea world. Little did she know that the visual impressions of that experience were committed to memory and would surface many years later to inspire her magnificent color pencil drawings. Thirteen years after that trip, when her partner insisted that she resurrect her art career, she was stunned to discover that her gift for drawing was unaffected by the distressing injury. The result was a series of brilliant aquatic drawings that catapulted the artist back into the world of creativity. She continues to expand her subject matter, demonstrating an admirable mastery in graphite and color pencil drawing. Her work has won critical acclaim and numerous awards including the prestigious honor of signature status in the Colored Pencil Society of America.


2015 – “Important Works on Paper” Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art

2014 – “Photorealism: The Everyday Illuminated,” Jonathan Novak Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

2013 – The National Weather Center Biennale Exhibition, National Weather Center, Norman, Oklahoma

2012 – “Elizabeth Patterson: Imagining the Rain,” Galerie Louis Carré, Paris, France

2011 – “Splash,” Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, California

2011 – Houston Fine Art Fair, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

2011 – Art Aspen, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Aspen, Colorado

2011 – Los Angeles Art Show, presented by the Fine Art Dealers Association, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California

2010 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 18th International Juried Exhibition, Loa Gatos, California

2010 – “Chasing the Rain – Drawings by Elizabeth Patterson,” Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood, California

2010 – Los Angeles Art Show, presented by the Fine Art Dealers Association, Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA

2009 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 17th International Juried Exhibition, Atlanta, Georgia

2009 – Colored Pencil Society of America – “Explore This! 5,” Online Exhibition

2008 – “In the Eye of the Beholder: Contemporary Drawings,” Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood, California

2008 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 16th International Juried Exhibition, Seattle, Washington

2007 – California Open Exhibition, TAG Gallery, Santa Monica, California

2006 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 15th International Juried 2006

2007 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 14th Juried Exhibition, Albuquerque, New Mexico

2007 – CPSA Signature Showcase, Cornell Museum of Art and History, Del Ray Beach, Florida

2007 – The Human Element, Dunedin Creative Arts Center, Dunedin, Florida

2005 – Colored Pencil Society of America – “Explore This! 3,” La Jolla, California

2004 – Color Pencil Society of America – 12th International Juried Exhibition, Memphis, Tennessee

2003 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 11th International Juried Exhibition, Brea, California

2002 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 10th International Juried Exhibition, Fort Worth, Texas

2001 – Colored Pencil Society of America – 9th International Juried Exhibition, San Francisco, California