GUEST ARTIST: “My Magical Watercolor Journey” by Rae Andrews

Watercolor by Rae Andrews - Olinda Trees Maui 12 x 16 watercolor

Hello, my name is Rae Andrews and I am an Australian ex-pat now living in America.
I was born in Sydney Australia, and art has been in my family for years. My aunt was a professional artist and I was enthralled with her works from a very young age.

I think I picked up a pencil and drew at the very early age of around 5 years old. My mother and sister were artistic as well, but it was my aunt (Australian artist Hazel Johnson) who became my mentor and most profound influence. She has now passed and I miss her very much.

Watercolor by Rae Andrews - Shadowed Welcome watercolor 12 x 16

I was a business person for over 20 years, owning hairdressing salons in Sydney, and my art career was placed on the back burner. Although, I still did paint a lot, my businesses kept me very busy.

At the age of 32, I decided enough was enough, and sold all my salons, to pursue my art further. I went to college (City Art Institute in Sydney) and did my degrees, (BA in Visual Arts and a Post Graduate degree in Professional Art Studies). As I had already been teaching for a few years at a friend’s private art school, and a college in western NSW Australia; I decided when I graduated from my own college, to start an art school.

This, I called the Northside Art School. It was on the northern beaches of Sydney, and I employed seven other talented teachers part time. In the first year and a half, the school rose to a 400 student attendance. It was wonderful fun.

I also taught and demonstrated my techniques in many regions of Australia during this period, so my life was very full. I entered  lots of art competitions and I am blessed to say I won many awards both regional and national at this time.

In 1990, I met and married  my American husband and we settled on the island of Maui for many years. It was here on this beautiful island, I owned two galleries and began representing other artists as well as teaching. I loved my life there. Although island life is sublime, one can feel a need for change eventually, and after 12 years, my husband and I moved to Austin, Texas in 2002.

People ask me all the time, how I could give up my Maui lifestyle for a Texas one, but although it’s very different living in Texas, it’s still a wonderful state. I do miss Maui and go back to visit sometimes, and it’s still considered another home to me, as well as Australia.

My Style

My style of painting watercolor has evolved over the years. I think teaching helped me tremendously. I had to keep on my toes and ahead of some very talented students, always looking for new approaches to the lessons I taught; many of my students have gone on to be well-known teachers themselves so that makes it all worth while.

Watercolor by Rae Andrews - Fall Dazzle Tennessee watercolor 11 x 14

I paint and teach in all mediums, both in the United States, Australia and Europe. I think watercolor will always be my first love, however pastels are a close second for me.
Color and movement is possibly the best way to identify my art. I paint all genres: landscape, seascape, floral, portraits, still life to name a few.

My paintings  mostly  balance between abstraction and realism. I like to flick and move the paint onto a randomly pre-wet surface, leaving lots of dry white paper visible so my colors will ‘bounce’ as a contrast. Leaving the paper semi wet, is key to my leaving white paper showing through. As the water is the vehicle in which the paint travels, it stands to reason that it will only go where the wet areas are.

I often do not have a subject in mind at all, but merely wait till the paint is dry and see what I can find to fit into my painted marks. It creates that ‘lost and found’ effect I so love. I use negative painting mostly in my works, rarely actually painting the object; I like to push it forward with background information instead.

It can be very scary for a lot of people who prefer a plan at least;  a photo or a drawing from which to refer. I know this technique is not for everyone, and I tell people after they have a lesson with me; later, in the quiet of their own studios, that some of my techniques will resonate. Hopefully, they can merge them with their own ideas, to get a more personal result.

My Art Supplies


I use mostly Winsor & Newton brand watercolor, however there are so many great brands on the market now, and I do branch out from time to time. Daniel Smith (very true colors) and Lukas watercolors come to mind, the latter is a very economical watercolor and good colors as well.

Watercolor by Rae Andrews - Watering Hole Watercolor 9 x 12

I use limited colors in my paintings, usually transparent and primary colors. I decide ahead of time which colors will flow well together, so I won’t get a muddy result, very often analogous colors are best for the first throw in. After that, I might use one complementary color to create some color contrast.

For instance, if I am using a few blue/ mauve/ green colors, I will complement that palette with yellow or orange in places.


I like Arches Cold Pressed paper. That texture suits my way of painting, allowing the paint to sit on top of the texture and giving my watercolors that degree of sparkle which I love.

I rarely use masking fluid, about the only time I will is with a palette knife dipped into the MF and dribbled and splashed onto the substrate first, just for a spontaneous effect later with random whites.


My brushes are a mix of good brushes. I like round, mop and dagger brushes, and I use a drinking straw to blow the paint at times, so I get random effects and marks.

So that’s about it. Thank you to all for reading about my journey. I hope you glean some useful information and have enjoyed it.

Rae Andrews
FineArt America

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Teresa Santos 4 years ago

    Wow, what great detail! Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Walks in Watercolor 4 years ago

    I love your painting style. Thank you for telling us about your art.

    • Rae Andrews Gillian 4 years ago

      Thank you ..I am glad you like my work..

      • Marcelline Weinsheim 1 year ago

        Your paintings are like diamonds held up to sunlight, faceted color and light enhancing subject matter! Talent at the end of a paintbrush.

  3. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Rae, your paintings are incredible. I love the way you capture the light. Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

  4. Joan Eure 4 years ago

    Wow, what a journey! Thanks for sharing, and you know I am a follower of yours. Loving your work.

  5. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Pat Hayes 4 years ago

    Love the colors you use and the way you let the light shine. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Margarida Rebelo 4 years ago

    Congratulations on the beautiful paintings. I like the contrasts of light and shadow … They are colorful and very playful … Charlie it is wonderful to publish our works …. Congratulations!

    • Rae Andrews 4 years ago

      You are so welcome Margarita, and I also thank Charlie, he does us all a Greta service..😊

  8. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Wonderful paintings! Thanks for sharing them and your story.

  9. Kathy Delumpa Allegri 4 years ago

    Rae, your style and colors are so fresh, honest, and uplifting. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring art and creative journey!

  10. Carol 4 years ago

    Just beautiful! Scrumptious color palette and amazing lights and shadows!

  11. Leena Patel 4 years ago

    Beautiful work

  12. Charline Eppright 4 years ago

    I loved reading this and seeing so many lovely paintings. I’ve said it before but I honestly believe you are the most creative artist I know.
    I was pleased to see my boat painting that I purchased from you. That’s the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up and I t makes me so happy.

    • Rae Andrews 4 years ago

      Thank you my dear friend. I am so happy you love your boats.. and I thank you for all the lovely comments Char..❤️

  13. Vicki Rowley 4 years ago

    absolutely wonderful! (I too left Hawaii for TX and get “that question” frequently as well. I feel I have a kindred spirit now!)

    • Rae Andrews 4 years ago

      Absolutely, it leaves people speechless I know Vicki.. 😊thank you for your comment

  14. Anjaiah 4 years ago

    Nice work style of your paintings very colourful

  15. Janneke Booister 4 years ago

    Beautiful paintings! Thank you for sharing them and your story of course. I enjoyed both 🙂

  16. alklineart 4 years ago

    Love your art, wonderful paintings!

  17. Leslie Grindey 4 years ago

    love your style of work love looking at it

  18. ArtbyGanga 4 years ago

    Beautiful paintings!

  19. Luis Da Costa 4 years ago

    Really good colours

  20. Cathy 4 years ago

    Thankyou for sharing your story and your journey. I love the way you capture the light in your paintings. That sparkle is gorgeous. I have come across your work before, in an online watercolour group. Have you published any books ?

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