By Bonnie Gangelhoff
Jeffrey Watts was a mere 22 years old when he founded an art school in San Diego, CA, in 1992. Today, what began with a handful of students and a dream has evolved into the thriving Watts Atelier of the Arts, a traditionally based art program that boasts 200 students, 70 classes, and accreditation as one of a select group of 45 ateliers worldwide. As if that isn’t a big enough feat for such a young man, Watts also is chalking up awards for his figurative, landscape, and still-life works at prestigious shows such as the 2003 Oil Painters of America show. “I like painting everything. I have a lot of energy,” he explains. No joke—in addition to painting “everything,” Watts teaches seven classes a week at his atelier. When it comes to inspiration, Watts turns to Nicolai Fechin as his guiding light. “I love how he communicated controlled chaos, but on closer observation you can see his underlying expertise in drafting. His work is elegant, almost poetic,” Watts says.
In the future he wants to continue to design his life around painting. “I just want to be true to myself and pursue an honest relationship with art without compromising,” he explains. And he also wants to find a piece of coastal property so he can expand his atelier, which continues to grow. Watts is a member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association and the California Art Club. For information about his work, visit www.wattsatelier.com.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” February 2004