NEWBERRY — Anne Hightower-Patterson, a professional painter and instructor at the Newberry Arts Center, has recently been named to Watercolor Artist Magazine’s “Ones to Watch” list.
“Basically it’s artists they feel are on the cusp of breaking out nationally,” Hightower-Patterson explained.
She said while she ultimately paints for herself, it still feels wonderful to receive affirmations such as this, which she hopes will lead to a broader audience seeking out her work.
In last two years, Hightower-Patterson’s career has really taken off with her work being shown at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery and receiving recognition in several national competitions.
She even won one of the top awards in the professional division at last year’s S.C. State Fair, which she said brings her work to an audience that might not ever see it anywhere else.
“They wouldn’t darken the door of a gallery, they wouldn’t darken the door of an art museum but they will go and look at every piece of art at the State Fair,” she said.
Hightower-Patterson began painting in the seventh grade and went on to major in art at the University of South Carolina.
She spent 27 years in Richland School District One as an art teacher and administrator before retiring in 2002.
Strongly influenced by 20th century American master Andrew Wyeth, Hightower-Patterson said every artist stands on the shoulders of those who have come before.
“I don’t want to paint like them but I certainly will incorporate the characteristics of their work so that it becomes my own,” she said. “It’s like putting individual things in a blender and mixing them up and coming up with your own concoction.”
Still Hightower-Patterson said it’s her dream to develop her individual style to the point where someone could spot a painting across a room and immediately know her to be its creator.
“I guess that’s the vision in my head — that I would not be recognized by who I am but by what I paint because what I paint is who I am,” she said.
While Hightower-Patterson does work in other mediums, she said she is most passionate about watercolor.
“It’s a spontaneous medium,” she said. “You never truly know what’s going to happen when you put the brush to the paper.”
She said that watercolor can be a battle between artist and water and judging by her recent recognition it would appear, at the moment, she is winning.
The issue of Water Color Artist hits stands this October. Those who wish to take a class with Hightower-Patterson can contact Newberry Parks, Recreation & Tourism at 803-321-1015.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.