GUEST ARTIST: Local Color by Deb Watson

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - fry guy - cook - #doodlewash

My name is Deb Watson and I’m from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As a child, I loved to draw horses and animals, but my parents discouraged art. So, I became a nurse and art was my hobby. While home on maternity leave, I bought watercolors and a how to paint book. The first time I saw the beautiful bloom of color and water, I was hooked. I told my husband, “I’m going to practice watercolors until I’m really good at it.” He patted me on the shoulder. “Sure you are,” he agreed, without much belief.

I had no art training, but painting was my passion. While working full-time and raising a family, I spent every spare moment painting at the kitchen table. I painted what I knew best – the small town where I lived – the people, the places, the gum in the candy machine.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - porch and flowers - #doodlewashOnce, while washing dishes at the kitchen window, the sunset  turned my neighbor’s deck into a beautiful scene. I grabbed my camera and pounded on the neighbor’s door. “I want to photograph your deck,” I announced, “but it needs flowers on the table for a focal point!” My neighbors knew me well. “I have lilacs!” she answered, and promptly came out with a vase of flowers. That scene made a nice painting, and the dishes did get washed, eventually.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - blowing snow - #doodlewash

Later, I began showing my work, and was surprised to win awards and be considered a ‘professional’ artist. I worked even harder to produce my best work, and won awards in the juried shows. I also began teaching, and used that to improve my own painting skills, as well as my students.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - colorful ferns - #doodlewash

Being self-taught, learning was a slow process, but it gave me a unique style. I studied books and took local lessons, but most of my skills came from trial and error. I would paint, wash off what didn’t work, and paint again as long as the paper held up.

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I got quite good at washing off long before I was good at painting, and figured out how to fix almost anything in a watercolor.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - man and horses - #doodlewash

I do most of my paintings with two brushes (a size six round and a 3/4″ oval wash brush) and a limited palette of about ten transparent colors. I use Arches paper and Arches art board. Lately, I’ve been varnishing my work (Golden Archival Spray Varnish) so it can be hung without glass or mat.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - trash day - #doodlewash

I do use opaque white (for touch up at the end of a painting) and I mix my own blacks. I encourage students to ignore any ‘rules’ they’re told and not to be afraid to try things. Failure is just a piece of paper, and you can still wash it off and reuse it.

Watercolor will always be my favorite medium. Like a true friend, it’s always ready for adventure. Currently, I’ve come full circle, back to my first love of horses and wildlife. For my new series of western subjects, I’m working with photographer’s reference photos. Next year, I hope to take a vacation out west to get photos of my own.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Deb Watson - serenity - meditation - #doodlewash

I recommend watercolor to everyone. Whether you’re considering it as hobby or a profession, art will improve your life, introduce you to new people and let you live your life in a full color, beautiful world.

Deb Watson
Online Classes

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Susanna Maurer 6 years ago


  2. Susan Feniak 6 years ago

    Fantastically amazing. Once again I am in awe.

  3. Harrison Monahan 6 years ago

    Ah! An artist from my own county! Great work, Deb!

  4. Teresa Robeson 6 years ago

    Deb’s art is simply wonderful! I’m so inspired that she is self-taught.

  5. Monique 6 years ago

    Your work is beautiful:) I love it.

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Here’s to second careers, especially those of such extraordinary talent. Your work is beautiful and that’s a dull word compared to your paintings. They are vibrant. I love looking at them and have just spent some time at your blog – loved every minute of seeing your art, Deb. Congratulations on your past and future successes.

  7. cybaea 6 years ago

    Oh my! Your art is amazing. My jaw is stuck to the floor…..

  8. Debra Armstrong 6 years ago

    Deb is amazing! Loved reading her intro! Her work s stunnng- I can’t wait to learn more about her! Thank you Charlie!

  9. Laura (PA Pict) 6 years ago

    Wow! You achieve such fantastic level of details in your paintings and I really love the luminosity of your skin tones.

  10. jmnowak 6 years ago

    Wonderful work Deb. I’m glad you persisted (bah to all nay sayers)! 👌🎈💖

  11. Virginia Craig 6 years ago

    Deb, you know I admire your work, your advice and your teaching!

  12. Laura 6 years ago

    Such beautiful art! Thank you Charlie for featuring this amazing artist.

  13. Nancy Sapp 6 years ago

    Deb – Such awesome work! You give me hope. I’ll keep practicing, trying & enjoying the time learning & striving towards more realism.
    Thank you!

  14. smbrodit 6 years ago

    amazing and inspiring! it encourages me to keep going and follow my passion 🙂

  15. Celia Blanco 6 years ago

    exquisite artwork and a wonderful story, really inspired me!

  16. Yvonne C 6 years ago

    I think you got this watercolor “thing” down to a “T”! I absolutely love your style. Thank you for sharing!

  17. beverlydyer 6 years ago

    Oh MY!! Amazing hand you have there.

  18. Bill Ransing 6 years ago

    Deb, glad to see you are getting the praise you deserve, not surprising, you are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Kathy J McWaters 6 years ago

    Hi Deb,
    You are amazing. congrats on your successes.

  20. MMcBuck 5 years ago

    Oh my goodness! Your art is awesome! I’m so inspired! Thanks for sharing!!

  21. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    I love those ferns! All your work is terrific.

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