Watercolor: 20 Emerging Watercolor Artists


What will the 25th anniversary issue of Watercolor magazine look like? The answer could well be determined by the artists in this article who were recommended by teachers who are in contact with some of the most promising watercolorists. We asked those art school and workshop instructors to put us in touch with their best students or with watercolorists they gave awards to in recent juried exhibitions. The captions for the paintings include the name of the state where the emerging artist resides and the teacher who recommended him or her.

If you search for more information about these artists, you’ll discover they represent a wide range of ages and experiences. It’s encouraging to note that someone can “emerge” to national prominence at any age, from any region, with any painting style, and after any educational experience. Ultimately it is the level of the artists’ skill and understanding, the quality of their execution, and the individuality of their expression that matters most in the field of watermedia painting.

Haunani K.M. Bush

Hale Kipa
by Haunani K.M. Bush (Hawaii),
1999, watercolor, 11 x 15.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Jean Grastoft.

Cassia Cogger

Pink Pulse
by Cassia Cogger (New York),
2006, watercolor, 36 x 42.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Timothy J. Clark. 

“Cassia Cogger’s watercolors envelop a wonderful range of composition, figuration, and abstraction. She treats the medium with great confidence and intensifies the naturalness of everyday objects. Her skill in organizing her private universe reveals a very powerful sense of form. Very rarely have I seen watercolor treated with such a personal and physical dynamic.”

—Will Barnet

Paul Ching-Bor

Steel Destination II
by Paul Ching-Bor (New Jersey),
2006, watercolor, 40 x 60.
Courtesy The Meyer-Munson
Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Recommended by Timothy
J. Clark.

“Paul Ching-Bor’s art has evolved in response to New York City. He began to work on a big scale, using the largest and heaviest papers that he could find. Rather than wetting his papers before painting on them, he simply started to paint, moving the papers from the easel to the floor when they got too wet to stand by themselves. His process involves laying down the fundamental part of the painting, which is the structure of the work. He then proceeds to glaze and splash paint on the paper until the image disappears. When the work dries, ‘the image bounces back, then I look at it again,’ says the artist. ‘I push from there to my own realm.’

“Through this method, Ching-Bor has reconsidered the qualities of watercolor that are often thought to be intrinsic to the medium, such as sensitivity, delicacy, and spontaneity. According to him, his images are ‘not so transparent, not so spontaneous, not so watercolor anymore. They are the substantial face of watercolor painting.’ This approach is robust and strong; at the same time, the works have a quiet intensity in their melancholic and stark qualities.”

—Statement from the website of
The Meyer-Munson Gallery, Santa Fe,
New Mexico.

JoAnne Anderson

by JoAnne Anderson (South Carolina),
2005, watercolor and charcoal,
28 x 18. Private collection.

Recommended by Alex Powers.

Elaine Daily-Birnbaum

Crossing the Line
by Elaine Daily-Birnbaum (Wisconsin),
2002, mixed watermedia, 30 x 22.
Collection the artist.
Winner of the Past Presidents
Award in the 2002
National Watercolor
Society annual exhibition.

Recommended by Alex Powers.

“I use a variety of watermedia paints to explore patterns, shapes, and relationships that make up my world. I use color, line work, pattern, and collage to enhance the surface of the pieces and to create a sense of excitement and mystery. The process of manipulating color and design, and the layering of colors, is all part of planning the final image.

“My works are not replications of nature. Rather, through the use of color, texture, and shape, they symbolize my attempts at understanding the multifaceted relationships that are within nature and life. Frequently, I experiment with a medium to push the limits of my understanding and curiosity. In that way I continue to grow and remain excited about the next creative encounter. I invite viewers into the painting with the hope of providing something for them to see, feel, and respond to on both a conscious and subconscious level.”

—Elaine Daily-Birnbaum

Tricia DeWeese

Chinese Tonight?
by Tricia DeWeese (Virginia),
2006, watercolor, 10 x 12.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Janet Walsh.

“Drawing was my first love because it allowed me to totally disconnect from the overall subject matter and concentrate on seeing the line and abstract shapes of space and value. It was like putting together the pieces of a puzzle that always, to my amazement, gave me a realistic rendering of a subject. That allowed me full access to the reality I wanted to create. My present love of watercolor has given me many additional challenges. My explorations into color, for example, have led me to limit my palette to a simple triad of transparent colors. Using these three colors helped me focus on learning how color works, the best way to use it, and how far I can take it.”

—Tricia DeWeese

Diane Fechenbach

November Fireworks
by Diane Fechenbach (Colorado),
2005, watercolor, 20 x 14.
Collection the artist.

by Jean Grastorf.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing or painting. As a little girl, I saw the world as a series of paintings—mixing colors in my mind’s eye and mentally arranging scenery into wonderful compositions. Strangers became imaginary models as I posed them and watched shadows and light change shape as they moved. Photography enabled me to extend this technique with lenses, filters, and film.
I work in a number of media, selecting the one that best suits the subject.”

—Diane Fechenbach

Jean K. Gill

Glory Bound No. 3
by Jean K. Gill (Virginia),
2004, watercolor, 22 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Jean Grastorf. 

“Creating a piece of art is a personal and cerebral pursuit. Each artist must find a unique, satisfying means of expression for both process and product. I paint (process) using techniques and sequences that motivate me. My work (product) is representational, although not realistic, and I like to incorporate areas of abstraction. I am more interested in shape than in form, and I employ a mix of planning and improvisation. Different colors are chosen in advance for each painting, and I usually do a line drawing. I am intuitive about edges, values, and intensities that evolve as the work progresses. I do not want to engage in so much preparation that the process becomes merely the execution of the plan, but I do like to have a compositional strategy with options.”

—Jean K. Gill

Dorothy D. Greene

Lotus in Guilin II
by Dorothy D. Greene (Florida),
2005, watercolor, 22 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Jean Grastorf. 

“The intricacies of ficus roots, the play of sun among palm fronds, the bending and flowing of grass blades are Dorothy D. Greene’s watercolor forte. She sees them in a special light and
translates that light onto the painted surface.”

—Georgia Tasker, writer at The Miami Herald

Jennifer Kirk Hamilton

Mystery of the New II
by Jennifer Kirk Hamilton (South Carolina),
2006, acrylic, 30 x 40.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Alex Powers.

Lynn Greer

Heart of the City
by Lynn Greer (South Carolina),
watercolor on Yupo, 12 x 12.

Recommended by Katherine
Chang Liu and Alex Powers.

Rob Hauck

Nine Across
by Rob Hauck (Maryland)
2005, watercolor and collage, 22 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Skip Lawrence.

Jane Iten

Still Life With French Easel
by Jane Iten (Virginia),
2004, watercolor, 36 x 28.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Sondra Freckelton.

“The stimulus for a painting comes most often from direct observation. I’m especially interested in focusing on common, everyday objects that are transformed by light and reveal visual discoveries never seen before. Beauty and aesthetic value exist in the mundane and ordinary; they are available to each of us if time is taken to see through our intellect and spirit. Such revelations create the desire to interpret what I see through painting. It is my hope that viewers will look at my paintings and be inspired to seek and find beauty in everyday life.”

—Jane Iten

Abby Lammers

Soap & Water (Pink)
by Abby Lammers (New York),
2005, watercolor, 10 x 12.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Sondra Freckelton.

“A love of design is clearly apparent in Abby Lammers’ landscapes and still-life paintings, in which she presents ordinary objects and scenes in a refreshingly contemporary, representational style. Using a range of palettes, she explores ways that color changes the appearance and relationship of objects to one another. Her eclectic combinations of color, form, and asymmetrical compositions force the viewer to reconsider his or her perspective on the everyday.”

—Statement from Abby Lammers’ website.

Mary Nunn

Spirit Works 002
by Mary Nunn (Canada),
2006, watercolor and gouache, 22 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Alex Powers.

“I use transparent watercolor and gouache with crayons and charcoal. The mixed-media arena seems to be a woman’s strength. I compare it to our different ways of shopping for shoes. Men know what they are after and go for it, and they keep close to what they wore years ago. Women may try on hundreds of pairs looking for the perfect ones.”

—Mary Nunn

Sally Olson

Lone Star Rose
by Sally Olson (Virginia),
2003, watercolor,
211/2. x 231/2. 
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Janet Walsh. 

“I use different media to express my feelings about a wide range of subjects. I enjoy painting with watercolor to portray elegant still lifes resplendent with family heirlooms, old lace, antiques, and flowers. The delicate passages of beautiful, transparent washes give these pieces a luminous quality. I work with vibrant acrylics in an abstract style to make bold, loose statements about people, landscapes, relationships, and music. I also use gouache to create animal pieces, with the brightest colors reserved for the subject against a more subdued background.”

—Sally Olson

Linda Parlato

Bike Ride
by Linda Parlato (New York),
2005, watermedia, 24 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Katherine Chang Liu.

Michalyn S. Tarantino

Mikkey’s David
by Michalyn S. Tarantino
(New Jersey), 2005, watercolor, 18 x 12.
Private collection.

Recommended by Roberta Carter Clark.

Theresa Troise Heidel

The Boathouse, Bolton
Landing, Lake George

by Theresa Troise Heidel
(New Jersey), 2005, watercolor, 14 x 20.
Private collection.

Recommended by Roberta Carter Clark.

Diane Santarella

New Year’s Day
by Diane Santarella (Maryland),
2005, acrylic, 40 x 40.
Collection the artist.

Recommended by Skip Lawrence.

“I am most aware of my deep love of color when I am standing in a dusk-lit field or watching the morning mist rise off a tree farm. It isn’t the details or specifics of the geography that compel me but rather the emotions they evoke. The best way I have found to record my authentic, unedited expression of this love is in a painting process focused on the relationship of colors, shapes, textures, and rhythms.”

—Diane Santarella

Read more features like this from the fall 2006 20th anniversary issue of Watercolor magazine.

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