Cell Tower, Patrick Willett, 2011, 33 x 27”, Watercolor, Ink and Graphite on Paper

Cell Tower, Patrick Willett, 2011, 33 x 27”, Watercolor, Ink and Graphite on Paper

Some of my Observations About Watercolor by Patrick Willett

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Using water to carry the intent as well as the pigment.
I’ve always lived near large bodies of water; I am made primarily of water.
The quick, gestural nature of watercolor; the idea becoming reality through water.
Everything about being a watercolorist has always appealed to me.

Growing up in an extremely large family prohibited working space or drying times, so, pen & ink sketching and watercolor painting became my companions very early on. From there grew an intimacy with the medium, a relationship that I knew would be for life.

Watercolor is not a static medium, I am always pushing towards new applications utilizing natural elements such as salt, blood, soil, wine, berries etc., to impart a time and place to my work. A plentiful mulberry or blackberry season in my garden often results in much deeper purples and reds in my paintings as well as stained fingers.

The ground we work with is no small matter either. Good watercolor paper is as thick and durable as canvas.

The idea of watercolor paintings as delicate, precious studies has long been relegated to myth. Any piece of art must be looked after, but watercolor paintings are as enduring and valuable as stretched canvas or any other medium available.

Much of my inspiration comes from nature, or rather my sensation of being in nature, a part of it. A sense of place runs through my work, the everyday dramas unfolding before us –birth and death. We witness renewal on the smallest scale as a new blade of swamp grass up to the immense swirling night sky. Decaying factories and massive old growth trees, both here for now, like the water.

The river streams by, the spring rains come, the water flows through and throughout us –I will forever be using water to tell my story.

Patrick Willett


Patrick Willett is a self-taught visual artist living and working in Western New York. He started working as a full-time artist in 2001. Willett’s work has been exhibited extensively in Western New York and internationally including the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo History Museum and many commercial galleries. Willett’s work is held in collections worldwide.