Realism watercolor - Jeremiah Patterson, "Independence Day," watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 in.
Jeremiah Patterson, "Independence Day," watercolor on paper, 18 x 24 in.

Go behind the scenes of a contemporary realism still life painting by Jeremiah Patterson:

I work from direct observation whether I’m out in the landscape en plein air or in my studio with still life such as this.

This one, titled “Independence Day,” is composed of memories of childhood trips to my Grandmother’s house during the 4th of July, with swims in her pool and walks around her incredible gardens. It is at that time that a gigantic patch of her black-eyed Susans, which flanked one of the pool’s edges, began to flower.

While this still life painting avoids the combination of red, white, and blue that is directly synonymous with the 4th of July, it was the shadow on the wall from the flowers that finally cemented the theme of this work for me, as they reminded me of the trails of smoke that blow away from the pom-pom sprays of the explosions at an Independence Day fireworks display.

For me, the flowers were the explosion of fireworks, and the shadows were those smoke trails of the ones that had just faded. ~Jeremiah Patterson (

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