Patterson was born and raised in Colorado and resides in Montrose. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, a master’s degree in cultural anthropology from Columbia Pacific University, and a doctorate from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, in rock art studies in the Department of Archaeology. Patterson was an adjunct Professor at Metropolitan State College and Mesa State College. As a private contractor and archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management, she has documented nearly all the rock art in western Colorado. She has intensively studied sites throughout Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico since 1973, and has published many journal articles and books on rock art with Indigenous cultural interpretations. These include, “Concepts of Spirit in Prehistoric Art”, Rock Art and Sacred Landscape, 2013; “One World Archaeology”, On the Trail of Spider Woman, 1997, Ancient City Press; and “Petroglyphs of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah as Interpreted by Clifford Duncan”, American Philosophical Society, 2016.