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Wonderful Watercolorists

The vibrant yet translucent colors, the flow and movement, and the simplicity of materials—paper, paint, water, brush—are some of what makes watercolor both appealing and challenging. Called to the task, these masters of the medium are treading the depths of its range, creating colorful, captivating works.

Judy Lew Loose

Often utilizing pointillism—a technique using tiny dots of color—Judy Lew Loose produces stunning pieces through the fluidity of watercolor. When asked how long a painting takes, Loose shares that she doesn’t think in terms of time. “Every dot paints a tear, and happy dots heal the soul,” she says. “There’s nothing like the flow of water; it’s almost life itself.”      

Judy Lew Loose; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


When were you first drawn to watercolor?

I was five years old and in kindergarten when I accidentally discovered that yellow and red paint create orange. I ran home from school and told my parents I wanted to become an artist. The feeling of mixing those colors put me on the path of trusting my heart enough to endure rejection in life. 

Judy Lew Loose Painting


Describe your artistic process. 

Passion and inspiration for the subject, which incubates inside my soul. After preparing a drawing, I’m ready to paint, usually upside down and sideways—developing intuition, stepping back, evaluating, and painting the journey. It’s challenging, because each painting is intuitive and there’s no road map to tell me where to go. 

Judy Lew Loose Painting


What inspires you? 

I find inspiration with anything that heals one’s soul: nature, dogs, bikes, things that bloom, buildings, light, and shadow. When you open your heart to feelings and vision there’s a world of opportunity waiting for you.

Moving to Roseville in 2000, Anna Rolin first studied watercolor under Pat Abraham, whom she attributes as one of her biggest influences. “Right now, I’m following my own curiosity; the more I paint, the more I learn,” she shares. “I try to start a painting before I finish one, so that [I] always [have something to] work on.”    

Anna Rolin; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Why did you choose watercolor? 

I love the feeling of dipping my brush into a well of water and pigment and watching it spread across the paper as I paint. Watercolor flows and is transparent. It’s basically just water, paint, brushes, and paper—beautifully simple—but if you have to fix something, you can only do so much, or your painting could be ruined.

Anna Rolin Painting


What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 

Keep painting; take classes and see what other artists are doing; visit a gallery or museum; take photos or collect reference photos to have ideas for what to paint next; and buy the best materials you can afford, because it makes a difference.

Anna Rolin Painting


Jo Ella Allen

Jo Ella Allen has taught over 100 beginning watercolorists to fall in love with the medium. “There’s a fear out there that watercoloring is too difficult—many [aspiring] artists don’t give it a try.” Ironically, it was the medium's difficulty that drew Allen in.    

Jo Ella Allen


How did you develop your skills?

It all began when I took a class and became intrigued with the beauty watercolor can produce. I dedicated myself to learning the craft and took numerous classes. Lots of practice later, and I learned to master the water, control the mistakes, and produce works I feel good about. 

Jo Ella Allen Painting


What are your favorite aspects of watercolor? 

The flow of the paint, which can create an ethereal feel; or being able to switch techniques and produce a painting of exacting details—the choice is yours.

Jo Ella Allen Painting


Nick Vogt

Raised on a 240-acre cattle ranch in Rough and Ready, Nick Vogt—who’s been painting since he was nine years old—was a founding member of Nevada City’s Pioneer Arts in the ’60s. His passion for the region’s rich Gold Rush history is reflected in his bold works—preserving the excitement and nostalgia of the era.

Nick Vogt; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Describe your process.

After a light sketch and beginning with the “wet on wet” approach, I often mix colors directly onto the paper. As the paper dries, I move from soft brush to dry brush and work from lighter to darker colors. Because my subject matter is representational of landmark buildings, historic scenes, or events, my paintings usually have more detail than traditional watercolors. 

Nick Vogt Painting


How do you avoid artist's block?
Everywhere I go, I’m looking for scenes and imagery for future paintings. While driving down the interstate this morning, I began painting in my head the beautiful cloud formation that came to view. Other times, I'll quickly sketch or snap photos of antique automobiles that I see.  

Nick Vogt Painting


by  Heather L. Nelson 

Top watercolor brush image © Mikhaylovskiy  - Artist photos by Taylor Gillespie ©stylemediagroup.

Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us