Doug Patterson : Sacred Places of the World

In 2010 Doug Patterson exhibited his Artist in Paradise series at the National Theatre in London. This collection of works comprised over two hundred watercolours, oil paintings and drawings tracing the journeys of three travelling artists: Vasileio Barsky, Samuel Davis and Hercules Brabazon Brabazon. This work involved numerous journeys to Bhutan, the Christian Orthodox Monasteries of Mount Athos, Northern India and North Africa. The ‘Artist in Paradise‘ series took almost six years to complete. Read more about the Artist in Paradise project.

Following the successful Artist in Paradise exhibition at the National Theatre, Doug has since embarked on his next project – Sacred Places of the World.

The Sacred Places project involves visiting twenty selected locations around the world, each location involves a journey of discovery, and it will be illustrated in drawings and paintings created in situ. In tandem with this, Doug is also making sound recordings of people and their spiritual experiences en route.

In October 2010 Doug first travelled north from Kolkata by boat on the Hooghly River up to New Farraka and then transferred, via the navigable lock onto the Ganges sailing eventually to Patna.

The river journey is a microcosm of life and the river banks are lined with beautiful villages, ghats and temples. After disembarking at Patna, Doug travelled overland by train and bus to Bodhgaya, the most sacred place for Buddhists where Buddha received enlightenment. The final sacred place of Bodhgaya will be a glass sculpture.

In May and June 2011 Doug flew to Las Vegas to meet and old architect friend who he last saw in 1971. They started off from Las Vegas (the best of the worst) in a big Jeep to camp in the South Western Canyons of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

Armed with a folding wallpaper table he visited Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyons and Monument Valley and the final sacred place – Canyon de Chelly. Doug had prepared himself with a three month exercise programme to get fit for the walking and climbing, knowing this was to be a challenging journey to find the locations.

Doug had decided this journey was to be about painting big landscapes two metres wide.

The third pilgrimage was in September 2011, starting in Ireland at the pre-neolithic site of New Grange, sixty miles north of Dublin. This is the finest ‘passage tomb’ yet discovered and was built one thousand years before the pyramids. Doug then joined the Tenacious tall ship as volunteer crew to sail, via the Irish Sea, to the Tower of London, the final destination being the Chapel of St. John in The White Tower.

The vessel Tenacious is owned and run by the Jubilee Trust and the voyage took twelve days.  Doug considers this one of the most incredible journeys of his life. The vessel has approximately sixty five crew, seven are permanent, the rest are volunteers, with about sixteen of these registered as disabled. Some are blind, some paraplegic, but they are treated just the same as the able-bodied and expected to sail and maintain the vessel. Doug’s ‘buddy’ was a blind girl, Angie, who sailed the ship using the voice activated compass. Doug says that the voyage was hard work and great fun “with some of the most beautiful people on the planet” and he even overcame his fear of heights by going aloft up the main mast.

Doug’s next trip is to Jerusalem via Greece, Cyprus and Jordan. The Sacred Place is to be the Garden Tomb where Christ was thought to be placed following the crucifixion. He will visit, paint and draw a selection of the various multi religious sites of Jerusalem. Doug’s plan is that the complete Sacred Places project will be published as an illustrated book in 2012.

Doug Patterson is an architect and artist. He studied at the Royal College of Art and the Architectural Association. During the past thirty years he has worked on a variety of diverse projects, including a Moghul Estate on a private island in the West Indies and two private motor yachts of 126 metres and 60 metres. View more drawings and paintings by Doug Patterson at: