Patterson, Michael

My focus is on the beauty I see here in Montana. I find inspiration in this place and I try to express the sense of wonder it gives me. At the same time I am humbled by the ineptitude of my efforts, but buoyed by the pleasure I feel in being able to even make the attempt. I am a happy man! I expect this connection to Montana and its beauty to intertwine in the rest of my personal, professional and artistic lives. Painting gives me the opportunity to touch the reality of the place I love and to produce some work that may help others feel what I felt when I looked upon a part of Montana.

I moved to Great Falls in October, 2001 and that decision has turned out to be one of the best I ever made. My life has turned around since I came to Great Falls, both personally and artistically. I found the love of my life here as well as a deeper commitment to my art. Great Falls has been a significant turning point for me and I appreciate the gifts that Great Falls has brought my way.

I am a native of Hot Springs, AR. My father was in the military and we moved often during my school years. I was drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1966 and remained on active duty until I retired in 1993. I have a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Public Administration. It was during my military service that I visited Montana for the first time. While vacationing in the Swan Valley and it was then that I gained a lasting impression of mountains, forests and wonderfully clear rivers and lakes.

My first paints and brushes were purchased after I had retired from the military. I was at loose ends and decided I could not put off any longer the need to satisfy my curiosity about painting. I had always had an interest in the method of expression called landscape painting, but I had found a million reasons why I couldn’t give it a try. The freedom of retirement eliminated all those reasons and I took the plunge. A class at the local community college opened my eyes a bit and showed me the complexities of artistic expression. I also was reminded again, that not all artists are cut out to be teachers and after my first classroom experience I went my own way and to the end I am largely self taught.




Even though I had owned painting equipment for over eight years I do not consider my artistic career to have taken many steps forward until I came to Great Falls. I feel that my artistic career has reached a new plateau since moving here and I expect others to follow. I continue to work at developing my “artistic vocabulary” and with practice; I hope to become better at expressing myself through my art. I am a member, in good standing, of the Montana Painters Alliance.