Yates worked her way through oils and acrylics before watercolor became a way of life for her. The magic of water and paper holds a great fascination for her. It’s a form of meditation and love. Let it flow, she says, it’s only paint. Accept what happens. It’s all fun. Enjoy the process. Understand the significance of a drop of water.
Patty Yates started painting in the Methow Valley in 1981 and moved here shortly thereafter. She started a restaurant business in Winthrop in 1982, but that didn’t stop her from painting. She created a gallery in her restaurant and painted during the “shoulder months” when the valley is less crowded. You could say that the Methow Valley became her playground and her muse. Now, she paints full-time and is one of the early members of the Winthrop Gallery. She has contributed to many, many shows at the Confluence Gallery, and has taught watercolor painting for at least 20 years.
Plein air painting is a constant experience for her. She has yet to meet an aspen tree that she didn’t want to paint. She has been keeping track of certain favorite aspen trees and groves for many years. She says it makes her fingers twitch for paper and paint when she sees these aspens–or any aspens. No telling how many aspens she has painted or will paint.
Yates has a whimsical side as well. What may emerge from her painting session could be, for example, tiny elephants on a breakfast table or unicorns in the sunrise. She says she never knows what will happen when she starts to paint. In fact, she paints and draws pretty much constantly. You can see her at a chamber music concert with her pencil and sketch book or at a lecture drawing or even painting while listening. Painting is as natural to her as breathing, and her paintings breath for us in turn.