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Watercolour a masterstroke for Patterson

Local artist Ross Patterson received one of 16 excellence awards at an international exhibition recently.

RIAHN SMITH December 26, 2012 4:33am

Ross Patterson won an excellence award for his artwork Roof Tops North Italy.


Ross Patterson’s award-winning painting almost didn’t make it to the exhibition.

The watercolour work went missing for more than two weeks on its journey from Shepparton to the Chinese city of Shanghai.

‘‘I rolled it up and it disappeared for two-and-a-half weeks, and I thought ‘oh, I’ve lost that’,’’ Mr Patterson said.

‘‘I thought I’d better do another one ... and then I got the call saying they’d found it. I was very relieved.’’

The artwork was sent to China after Mr Patterson was invited to submit a painting to the second Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial, an exhibition that showcases some of the world’s best watercolours.

Out of thousands of entries from more than 60 countries, Roof Tops North Italy earned Mr Patterson one of 16 excellence awards.

Mr Patterson, who entered two pieces in the 2010 exhibition, said he was honoured to be invited to submit his work, let alone to have taken out one of the top prizes.

‘‘I was quite elated,’’ he said. ‘‘Not that many Australian artists would win overseas awards and it was a real honour.

‘‘Especially in watercolour, which is probably my main medium. I’ve been painting watercolours for about 30 years now, so it’s a little bit of a reward for hard work over a long period of time.’’

In addition to the honour of being selected, Mr Patterson also received an all-expenses-paid trip to China to attend the exhibition’s opening on November 28.

He said it was a exciting to meet other high-profile water-colourists whose work he had long admired. Mr Patterson said the experience also highlighted how differently Australia and China regard the art world.

‘‘The arts (in Australia) are well represented, but in comparison to sport, it’s nothing,’’ he said.

‘‘In China, I think they appreciate the arts. I think watercolour for many centuries has been highly regarded and well practised by many, many Chinese and it’s held in high esteem, much higher esteem than in Australia.

‘‘This was a government-funded initiative ... and I thought that’s great ... (it) would be great if it happened in Australia.’’

Roof Tops North Italy will be exhibited at the Quanhua Watercolour Gallery in Shanghai until December 31.

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