Watercolor: New and Notable – and Skill Building in Figurative Watercolors

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Seeking Beauty to Fix a Slump

When I need a boost of double-shot inspiration, I look at some of the amazing figurative watercolor artists posting their gorgeous work online.

And thank goodness they’re taking time to snap and share imagery or video-record their process because I rely on those “stop-me-in-my-scroll” power-boosts to shove me out of an art-making slump. Looking at work galaxies ahead of your own is inspiring to some, and overwhelming to others. Which are you?

watercolor glazing in process
First watercolor washes on the room’s walls and stairs and floor

Figurative Watercolors

Here are a few figurative watercolor painters I follow on social media that make me sprint to my art supplies to get back to work, and PRACTICE. I lean towards representational art, but I like expressionist and abstract too. Who do you follow in the figurative watercolor space? (I haven’t forgotten about the printmaker list we talked about in this post. I’ll be getting that to you soon.)

Have a look at these wonderful Figurative Painters: Ali CavanaughLeo Dolfini – Reina YamataBenjamin Bjorklund – Humid PeachBoa PhamSuzie TseMarcos BeccariNicolas UribeCharles ReidMary WhyteStephen Scott Young

Some of the artists in this list work in other media too, but all of them feature figurative watercolors (or gouache) on their website or their social media feed. The inspiration is there for the taking, and it’s on our shoulders to choose how to absorb the hard-earned magic they’re sharing. Inspired, or Envious? Or both? ??‍?

Using cool temperature blue, and warmer purple to drop shows under the figure, the wall beneath the stairs, and the arm of the settee.

Brush Up on your Figurative Art

Youtube is an amazing resource for artists looking to polish skills or learn about new tools, tips, and tricks in the studio. Here are some great figure-drawing tutorial videos to give your art-learning brain a little nudge and a fresh up:

Evidence of Process – seashells, horses, and a glass paperweight for still life drawings, and a tray of inky, rolled felt daubers used to apply pigment to printmaking plates.

Skill Building Face to Face or Online?

I heard a couple of artists venting about peers who say “Oh, I don’t know how to do that.” referring to painting, blogging, or setting up an Etsy Shop. Their response was “These days, not knowing how to do something is a choice.

You can learn how to do almost anything online.  If you don’t know “how” to do it, and you aren’t pursuing free instruction, you simply don’t want to do it.”  What do you think of that statement? Is not knowing how to do something reason enough to not do it in these times?

The old saying Can’t Lives on Won’t Street was a phrase in our house growing up, and we were expected to solve problems rather than buckling under the burden of them. But resourcefulness and courage to tackle new things on your own is a character trait that some folks simply don’t have. It’s a tricky thing, but I’m curious about your take on it – for yourself and for others you know. Are you a self-starting pursuer of know-how?

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post.

Make something soon,


P.S. Have a look at this art studio board on Pinterest

P.P.S. You can subscribe to this blog, so each new post arrives in your inbox (free). Sign up here.

a woman reading a book by a light in a room at the bottom of a stairwell
New & Notable 14 x 10 Watercolor on paper (sold) Other art in my Etsy Shop is here.

Art Quote

Working from life is faster than using photos. All the colors and values are right there, so you just lay it down. When I’m working from studies and photos on large, multi-person compositions, I’m always 2nd guessing: what was that color at the curve of their chin?, etc. There’s a lot of doing and re-doing, trying to remember all the subtleties that are only visible from life, so it’s actually slower.

~Scott Burdick
how to paint more often - speech bubble coming from a greyhound laying in the grass
Click the collar to check out this free online mini-course: Six Tips to Paint More Often

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8 thoughts on “Watercolor: New and Notable – and Skill Building in Figurative Watercolors”

  1. Judy Langhoff

    I just saw Ali Cavanaugh’s work in what is turning out to be my favorite inspirational magazine, “The Art of Watercolour”, printed quarterly in England. Captivating images! Each publication is chock full of watercolorists and their work, sources of inspiration, and how to’s. Check out Fealing Lin in the 30th issue. I can’t say enough about the inspiration I get from this publication, whether it’s figurative painting or landscapes. It’s well worth the money!

    1. Hi Judy! Thanks for the tip on The Art of Watercolour – I will definitely check it out. And yes!!! to Ali’s work, and amazing trajectory of growth in the art market in a short period of time. Her work ethic as a mother of both babes and grown kids is inspiring. And Fealing lives here in LA, so I’ve seen her work when we exhibited together. It’s even more stunning in person. Great tips, my friend. Thank you!

  2. I am loving your more frequent posts! One of my favorite figurative watercolorists is David Lobenburg. I love his expressive color! And, I agree, online learning is a great way to learn new skills; that’s how I found you! Yay!!

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