The downtown Edmonds U.S. Bank has begun exhibiting original watercolors by Edmonds artist Joel Patience.
Visitors to downtown Edmonds may know Patience as the painter of Edmonds to Starboard, a public mural at 401 Main Street (facing 4th Avenue), a block north of U.S. Bank. Selected by the Edmonds Mural Society for their summer 2011 mural project, Patience is becoming known in the region for his impressionistic watercolors of Italian and U.S. western settings.
The U.S. Bank exhibit is free, open to the public during regular banking hours and currently features 10, 16×24-inch paintings. Patience’s work is representational, en plein air, and features an ever-present appreciation of light. Perhaps that is due to his love of Italy, with its sun-drenched cityscapes and colorful backdrops. The same attention to light appears in his scenes from U.S. western states, even if the setting is indoors.
Injuries from traffic accidents in 2005 and 2018 forced Patience to adjust his life. His wife urged him to develop his longstanding passion for painting as a form of physical therapy, and he’s been producing colorful, multi-layered artworks ever since. Largely self-taught as an artist, Patience claims to follow Leonardo da Vinci’s advice that each painting should have varied levels. If you pull one back from the surface, there’s still a story going on.
Patience described how this guided his work for La Spiaggia di Monterosso al Mare (The Beach at Monterosso by the Sea, shown now at U.S. Bank) — a view of beach umbrellas at the northernmost town of Italy’s Cinque Terre. “On the left side behind the railing is a ghost of what one might barely notice out of the corner of the eye; only the lips, a wisp of hair and some clothing accent someone scanning the beach. Is she looking for a safe landing, a friend or lover? Or perhaps when you look again she has vanished. Perhaps she’s a guest at the Il Giardino Incantato (The Enchanted Garden B&B), and will be seated near you at breakfast or when you are painting there later in the privacy of the garden. Even the clouds show what is to become of the day.”
Dhavan Vengadasalam has been manager of the downtown Edmonds branch of U.S. Bank since October 2021. He knew of Patience’s artwork from reproductions on greeting cards the artist had provided the bank staff, and invited him to show some paintings at the site. The branch, located at 140 4th Ave. S., had recently been repainted, and when some interior wall space opened, Vengadasalam saw an opportunity to support the arts and foster local ties. “It helps us as a bank feel a little more engrained in the community,” he said.
Art exhibits are not at the time a regular process for this branch of U.S. Bank, but Vengadasalam welcomes the opportunity to support local arts.
A short video, Joel Patience: The Healing Power of Art by Emmaline McGraw, features Patience and his artwork. U.S. Bank’s exhibition of Patience watercolors is scheduled to be up for approximately one year, with other Patience artworks possibly rotated in.
— By Mark Storey
Edmonds resident Mark Storey began his teaching career at Edmonds College and has been a philosophy instructor for the past 32 years at Bellevue College.