Emerging Artists | Ann Watcher

A painter of many colors

Ann Watcher, The Girl Across the Way, oil, 24 x 30.

Ann Watcher, The Girl Across the Way, oil, 24 x 30.

This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Ann Watcher recalls with clarity the very first painting that “spoke” to her as a child. “It was Edward Hopper’s NIGHTHAWKS,” she says resolutely, recounting its clean lines, bold patterns, and evocative mood. Not surprisingly, the famous late-night diner scene embodies many of the qualities Watcher seeks to capture in her own works today. Though the artist is largely inspired by impressionism, she tries not to get caught up in labels. First and foremost, she considers herself a painter of color and expression. “Monet said that color was his daylong obsession, joy, and torment,” she says. “That’s how I feel. I’m using color as my vehicle. There are some areas of my canvas where I’ll leave large expanses of color because I know it’s going to create an emotional reaction in viewers.”

Vibrant depictions of florals, people, landscapes, and city streets pepper the artist’s oeuvre, and it’s precisely that diversity that helps keep her work fresh and lively. “I always want every piece I do to be something I’m excited about,” notes Watcher, whose works have appeared in prestigious exhibitions with American Women Artists and the American Impressionist Society. “I never want to be a production artist.”

The Texas native earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of South Carolina, and she studied painting and drawing at the New York Studio School. She put her art career on hold while raising her children, but these days the “empty nester” paints full time from her home studio in North Carolina. Although she occasionally paints en plein air, Watcher views her studio time as an opportunity to play and explore using brushes, brayers, and palette knives. “I develop my own self-study and see where I can take my brush strokes,” she explains. “I’m not a painter who wants to capture everything realistically. I may use one brush stroke to suggest a sail. I want people to look at the way I applied the paint.”

A passionate traveler, Watcher often returns home from her journeys with new ideas for paintings, from a cheerful floral display in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market to a rainy street scene in Florence, Italy, dappled with the pink and blue umbrellas of passersby. “There’s so much out there to capture, and I just try to capture what I can,” she says. —Kim Agricola

representation
Providence Gallery, Charlotte, NC; Cecil Byrne Gallery, Charleston, SC; ArtSource Fine Art, Raleigh, NC; and Lagerquist Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA.

This story was featured in the July 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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