GUEST ARTIST: “Fine Art Makes People Happy” by Roland Henrion

watercolor painting by Roland Henrion of Corte Corsica Boulangerie

My name is Roland Henrion, and I grew up in Belgium and after my studies, my wife and I lived in Montpellier, France for nine years. having relatives in the Seychelles we moved there and stayed 6 years. Unfortunately we had to leave and so our family settled back in Namur, the French speaking part of Belgium in early 2003.

Girl_lavander_sunflowers watercolor painting by Roland Henrion

I started drawing and fishing as a kid. I studied graphic design, arts and photography at Saint-Lucas in Antwerp, Belgium. Macintosh computers only just started to appear. As students, we did everything by hand (sketching rough layouts with markers, drawing letters and logos with rotring pens and ink…). This required true artistic skills, unlike graphic design nowadays. We also had drawing and live nude courses, which I liked a lot and was quite good at.

Misty Morning Lake Sun Watercolor Painting by Roland Henrion

At the beginning of my career, I included lots of illustrations and hand-made graphics in my designs but as graphic software became more and more efficient (Photoshop, Illustrator), eventually most work got done with the mouse.

Today, I still offer my services as freelance graphic designer and photographer but since 2017, after spending many years working on Mac, I turned back to painting, feeling the need for authenticity and true emotions which advertising and unfortunately photography too fails to give. So I bought myself a set of brushes, canvasses and paint tubes. I also read a couple of books and watched “how-to” videos.

My favourite medium is acrylics on canvas. Sometimes, the quick drying material upsets me, but on the other hand, it is quite useful when you can superimpose colors without mixing.

Magic Light Marshes Fishing Watercolor Painting by Roland Henrion

“Magic Light Marshes” Acrylic On Canvas

This is very practical with sunsets: when blues and oranges/yellows mix, you get green and there definitely is no green in the sky! I do use retardants and flow improvers (and a mix of the two) to slow down the drying process. Many people think I paint with oils.

When I broke my foot in March 2020 and had to stay in bed for 6 weeks, I picked up watercolor again. I last did watercolor more than 20 years ago! The feeling was good and it sold pretty well, encouraging me to keep doing it. I now often do a watercolor sketch before starting a large canvas. Drawing or painting a subject requires keen observation. This helps to get more acquainted with it and pick up important features and details. The fast watercolor technique has a positive influence as it loosens up my style of painting on canvas.

Balancing_Coco_versé Watercolor by Roland Henrion

As a fly fisherman, I have an intimate link with water. My subjects are inspired by the sea and sky and clouds above, working from photographs and plein-air sketches made during my travels (Ireland, Scotland, Seychelles, Cuba, Azores, Spain, France). Nevertheless, the human body remains the most interesting subject to paint. All subjects inspire me (flowers and still-lifes excepted) but I am mostly fascinated by light and shadow play. I am a great fan of Edward Hopper, Rik Wouters and Joaquin Sorolla.

Keep_cool!_ watercolor painting by Roland Henrion

I’m slowly heading towards retirement as a designer and I hope to switch to full-time painting and make some kind of a living as soon as possible!

For my watercolors, I always choose the best pigments on the market: Winsor & Newton, expert quality and I like to paint on Canson Heritage medium grain, a heavy, acid-free paper which ensures stable colors for years to come. During my travels, I carry pre-stretched blocs which are quite handy. Six brushes do the job: cheaper large ones and Leonard Kolinsky brushes for the finer ones.

You can contact me for commissioned work: landscapes, fishing scenes and portraits. Please visit me at the links below.

Roland Henrion

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. ravensmom119106745 2 years ago

    Really enjoyed this article. It was almost like settling into a favorite book: enjoying each passage and wanting more at the end. I particularly liked the painting featuring the woman with bananas on her head as well as the first featured- the building with graphics. I’m partial to watercolor but the acrylic with the boat and sunset reflected in the water was beautiful.
    Congratulations on your success, Roland .

  2. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Roland, you capture the light and the moment so well! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

  3. Victoria Marie 2 years ago


  4. kdallegri 2 years ago

    Wonderful work, Roland! You’re a master of light and color! Best wishes on your retirement!

  5. Ana 2 years ago

    Muy hermosas tus acuarelas, no es fácil transmitir tanto con esta técnica, pero tú lo consigues.

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