GUEST ARTIST: “The Luminosity Of Watercolors” by Jean Lurssen

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

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.”

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - DoodlewashHe 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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Painting by Jean Lurssen - Doodlewash

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.

Jean Lurssen

Recommended15 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on, contact me!

  1. Posey Gaines 1 year ago

    Nice post Jean! I’ve seen some of this work…very nice. Again, thanks for the insights.

  2. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    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,

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Wow Sandra, thanks so much for the great compliment. Much appreciated.

  3. Pamela Smith 1 year ago

    I like the intense color in your paintings and how the abstract draws you in…beautiful

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Glad to hear what works for the viewer. Thanks Pamela.

  4. Robin Edmundson 1 year ago

    Such beautiful work! I am inspired by your story of the class you had with Jerry Stitt. What a great opportunity.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      I treasure the experience I had with Jerry because it opened my eyes to the importance of composition and color values.

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    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.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks Sharon. It’s always good to know one’s work is appreciated.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks for the inspiring comment Sharon.

  6. Janneke Booister 1 year ago

    Thank you for showing your beautiful art and telling the story of it!

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks for stopping by and for the nice comment Janneke.

  7. Marrianne Wadley 1 year ago

    I love your use of colour and the vibrancy you achieve. I am curious to try hot press paper now.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks Marrianne, It’s a totally different experiene from cold-pressed paper.

  8. Sharon Nolfi 1 year ago

    I love the special effects in your paintings!

  9. Susan Cuss 1 year ago

    I love the textures and abstract in your work! They draw me in to look closer.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      I’m so glad you find the paintings interesting Susan. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Mickey 1 year ago

    Hi Jean, nice article and beautiful work. Your class with Jerry Stitt sounds intriguing. So nice of you to share!

  11. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    Lovely work, Jean, and so imaginative!

  12. Nay Aung 1 year ago

    Great story and artworks!!!You showed us ” painting out of the box ” 🙂 Love your style!!!

  13. Artworks that truly “resonate with the viewer”. Thank you Jean and Charlie, for sharing the story.
    This is such a gem – thank you!

  14. Jean Marmo 1 year ago

    Such beautiful pieces! Such wonderful colors and such a feeling of abstract reality. THank you for sharing!

  15. Delores Azary 1 year ago

    I really enjoyed your post and paintings! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks for the lovely comment Delores. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  16. Thomas Blanchard 1 year ago

    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!

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Hi Thomas. It takes a while to find your style. I can recommend lots of experimenting and studying other artists’ works.

  17. Jennifer McLean 1 year ago

    absolutely stunning, unique work.

  18. Sandra Gilbert 1 year ago

    You have a beautiful expressive style that draws the eye.

    • Jean lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanjs so much Sandra.

  19. Teri Casper 1 year ago

    A wonderful story of success. Love all your beautiful paintings.

    • Jean Lurssen 1 year ago

      Thanks Teri.

  20. Mia Archambeault 11 months ago

    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.

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