My name is Jean Lurssen and I’m an artist and instructor living in Northern California. The luminosity of watercolors is what fascinates and draws me to the medium. Over the years, my style has changed and evolved. I found my style through a mixture of experimenting, finding out what works and what doesn’t, and also being influenced by other artists. I like creating textures in my work and continually try to stretch the boundaries of watercolor.
I sometimes include acrylic inks and other materials to get the results I am looking for. I also enjoy painting dramatic moody skies. I paint mostly from imagination but am influenced by the shapes in nature around me here in Northern California and by my previous experiences living in England, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
I first studied acrylic painting at the Rhodesian School of Art in Zimbabwe, where I learned some basic painting skills. After settling in the US with my family in the 1980s, I decided that I really wanted to learn to paint with watercolors.
When we moved from the east coast to California in 1998 I was fortunate enough to be able to sign up for four years with master watercolorist Jerry Stitt, AWS. It was a small class of about six to eight people and Jerry had a wonderful approach to teaching watercolors. We would bring one or two paintings to the class each week for critique in front of the class, which was a bit daunting at first since up to then I was self taught.
Jerry would analyze our paintings based on the elements and principles of design – something I had not even considered up to then. He had a big easel with a sign attached that read “what would make this a better painting.”
He also had a piece of plexiglass that he would then place over your painting and with colored pens add maybe a tree in just the right place, or it could be a telephone pole, or any other vertical or horizontal element that would transform your painting. It was a great learning experience to see exactly what you had missed in your composition.
After the critiques he would then do a demonstration watercolor. The interesting thing about his class is that none of the students painted in the same style. Some painted in the abstract, some in realism and some of us were impressionists, but we all benefitted enormously from his knowledge and guidance.
A few of my favorite watercolorists are the late John Blockley, Ann Blockley and Jean Haines. I love their loose style of painting that leaves things for the eye to interpret. A few years ago, I entered a Jean Haines watercolor challenge in using the color yellow, and was fortunate to be one of the winners, receiving a set of her brushes and some watercolor paints.
I use Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton artist’s watercolors. I just love the Daniel Smith colors and use them mostly, but there are some basic colors that I prefer Winsor & Newton for like raw sienna, burnt sienna and payne’s gray. My favorite go-to watercolor paper is Arches hot-pressed paper. Just love the way the colors stay more vibrant than if I use cold pressed paper. For cold pressed paper I favor St. Cuthbert’s Mill. It’s an excellent paper that doesn’t soak up the paint as much as other cold pressed papers. I also use Daler-Rowney’s acrylic inks sometimes to create more texture in my watercolors.
I sell my paintings online on my website and Zatista. I also teach watercolors online at Udemy and Teachable. I love sharing my passion for watercolors and have short tutorials on my Youtube channel. I feel that even though I have been painting for about 30 years now, I am still in a learning process which keeps me trying to improve on what I do. I love creating watercolors that both please me and resonate with the viewer.
38 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “The Luminosity Of Watercolors” by Jean Lurssen”
Nice post Jean! I’ve seen some of this work…very nice. Again, thanks for the insights.
Thanks so much Posey.
Jean, your work is amazing! I love the texture and the mix of real and abstract. I think I could walk into a room full of paintings and my eye would instantly be drawn to yours. Thank you for sharing your story here at Doodlewash,
Wow Sandra, thanks so much for the great compliment. Much appreciated.
I like the intense color in your paintings and how the abstract draws you in…beautiful
Glad to hear what works for the viewer. Thanks Pamela.
Such beautiful work! I am inspired by your story of the class you had with Jerry Stitt. What a great opportunity.
I treasure the experience I had with Jerry because it opened my eyes to the importance of composition and color values.
Jean, your work is exciting and inventive. I find myself lingering over the paintings, finding new parts to admire. Your experimentation pays off in wonderful art.
Thanks Sharon. It’s always good to know one’s work is appreciated.
Thanks for the inspiring comment Sharon.
Thank you for showing your beautiful art and telling the story of it!
Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment Janneke.
I love your use of colour and the vibrancy you achieve. I am curious to try hot press paper now.
Thanks Marrianne, It’s a totally different experiene from cold-pressed paper.
I love the special effects in your paintings!
Thank you so much Sharon.
I love the textures and abstract in your work! They draw me in to look closer.
I’m so glad you find the paintings interesting Susan. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Jean, nice article and beautiful work. Your class with Jerry Stitt sounds intriguing. So nice of you to share!
Lovely work, Jean, and so imaginative!
Great story and artworks!!!You showed us ” painting out of the box ” 🙂 Love your style!!!
Artworks that truly “resonate with the viewer”. Thank you Jean and Charlie, for sharing the story.
This is such a gem – thank you!
Thanks so much Violeta.
Such beautiful pieces! Such wonderful colors and such a feeling of abstract reality. THank you for sharing!
Thanks Jean for the great feedback.
I really enjoyed your post and paintings! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the lovely comment Delores. Glad you enjoyed the post.
So glad to see you featured here Jean. I’m a long time subscriber of yours on youtube and have learned quite a bit from you. You will see a few paintings in my profile inspired by your style while trying to find my own as a fairly new artist. Thank you!
Hi Thomas. It takes a while to find your style. I can recommend lots of experimenting and studying other artists’ works.
absolutely stunning, unique work.
Thanks so much Jennifer.
You have a beautiful expressive style that draws the eye.
Thanjs so much Sandra.
A wonderful story of success. Love all your beautiful paintings.
sooo much texture! I love it. Adding texture to my backgrounds is on my art making list for the new year. Random experimentation is on the horizon. lol.