The Artist Watch List

Around this time of year I like to look back on the last twelve months and find artists who are established or up and coming, and deserve recognition. I do this to remind myself that despite all the stress–of life, family, work, and in the daily grind–there are spectacularly inspiring artworks being created every day, all around me. So here’s my watch list with several artists who are making paintings that really have the power and technique to be around for the long run, and who will inspire me long after this calendar year is over.

Warren Taking Off His Shirt by Jim Herbert, acrylic painting, 150 x 139
Warren Taking Off His Shirt by Jim Herbert, acrylic painting, 150 x 139.

Jim Herbert has been putting paint on canvas for a while, creating works that are all about the action that comes with creating a fine art painting. His large-scale acrylic works are painted in a gestural, forceful way. The end results enliven the surface and make how they are painted as intriguing as what is actually depicted.

Elizabeth with Ribbon by David Pettibone, oil painting, 2008.
Elizabeth with Ribbon by David Pettibone, oil painting, 2008.

David Pettibone has transformed established subject matters and genres with his unique style, taking on Renaissance portraiture by adding a whimsical twist with the inclusion of peculiar still life objects like watermelon, ribbon, or fish.


Head as Home by Melanie Vote, oil on panel, 20 x 24, 2010.

Melanie Vote creates peculiar paintings of odd dreamscapes or altered landscapes, but her oil painting techniques are incredible. The attention to detail and her commitment to achieving the visual effects she wants are what brought her to our attention and will keep her there.

Equus 1 by Aaron Yamada-Hanff, oil on canvas, 66 x 104, 2011
Equus 1 by Aaron Yamada-Hanff, oil on canvas, 66 x 104, 2011.

Aaron Yamada-Hanff challenges the idea that the equestrian portrait is a matter to be dealt with by realism alone. His abstraction of the animal’s body and his decision to leave certain parts unpainted does nothing to interfere with the feeling of movement, power, and grace that are provoked by his paintings.

There are so many artists out there making amazing artwork, and it is impossible for any one of us know all of what is being produced—but honing our instincts for great art comes with really seeing the energy on the surface of the work, and being able to harness that energy when we take to the studio. Charlotte Wharton’s The Language of Energy in Art is a prize-winner in my mind for giving artists the impetus to do just that. Take a look at this luscious chronicle, and I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And with the North Light Shop offering an extra 10% off of already reduced prices with code CYBERDEALS10, Cyber Monday is your day to splurge! Enjoy!

P.S. So what do you think? Were any of these artists on your radar? And are there any others that you would add? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

15 thoughts on “The Artist Watch List

  1. My name is Barbara Fryefield and I am an artist in Jacksonville Florida. Best known for landscapes. I am currently working as a artist in hospitals, and teaching at Reddi Arts. I am writing a book for art teachers.

  2. I like Aaron’s work. Have you considered work that is a bit more unique? I do something I call, “Neo-Luminism”. It is created with composition gold leaf, copper leaf, chemically-induced patinas and oil on panel.
    I also like the work of David Ochoa…and Alex Kanevsky.

  3. Sorry Courtney, There’s just something about the far out style that gives me the creeps! Being a simple recreational artist I prefer the predictable, realist or impressionistic styles. It was the articles focusing on the far out stuff that caused me to give up my subscription to the other artist magazine a few years ago. I’m not saying these styles are not good, they’re just not for me.

  4. My series of athletes, painted in oils on linen, show luminous torsos woven
    into a grid of gestural drips. The paintings channel a specific personal moment
    of profound realisation. each emotive piece explores the range of emotions I
    experienced when confronted by my first live boxing match – the cascading drips
    of blood and sweat that stained the boxer’s body, the solace and tenacity in the
    individual’s gaze. I represent this effect by first applying the white drips, which
    take a month to dry. The glowing surface and optical depth of my oil paintings
    is obtained through applying numerous translucent and transparent layers of
    kinetic brushwork. This method invites contemplation, as oil painting dries very
    My technique requires I wait for each layer to completely dry before the next
    glaze is applied. The resulting fine network of dripped lines optically blends
    colours when viewed from a distance and depicts my subjects’ individual colour
    temperature. It is in this private place where the depth of each man’s gaze is felt.
    The focus is on the human condition, and, like Michelangelo’s David, the resolve
    and success of the individual is not dictated by physicality alone. This innovative,
    layered technique is the result of 20 years’ professional practice and academic

  5. Check out this up and coming artist:

    Primarily self taught and residing in the Pacific Northwest, Meridith captures her subjects with the essence of their unique personality. She started taking her art seriously in 2002 and created a memorial drawing for a friend of his horse. From there it was another horse drawing and another and then a dog or two. Facinated by the way light fell across texture, and the interplay of light on color Meridith takes detail to a whole new level.

  6. These are beautiful pieces – I especially like Head as Home! One of my favorite local Tucson artists is very well-established and has 2 galleries here in town. Her name is Diana Madaras and she is an amazing artist – please visit her website!