NC Artist Ann Watcher does not consider herself a painter of people, places, or things, but rather someone who uses art to capture color, expression, light, and texture. And she does. Her work is vibrant, textural, and saturated. She captures still life, flowers, landscapes, and the essence of people enjoying a day at the beach.
The Charlotte-based oil painter has made a name for herself here in the Queen City and the nation beyond. Her work has been juried in three consecutive national exhibits in Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society.
Watcher’s interest in art began holistically and naturally. As a child, the midnight sky blanketed by stars inspired her. “The universe reached out to me and inspired me with a vastness of promise and possibility that follows me today,” Watcher explained.
After earning a BFA in Studio Art from the University of South Carolina, NC artist Ann Watcher spent an internship semester at the Corcoran Gallery in the Department of Prints and Drawings in Washington, DC. Following that she spent a summer at the New York Studio School where she studied drawing and figure painting.
After marrying and having children, she spent a few years away from the art world. Now Ann is back and has been making a splash since. We sat down with her to discuss her process, her inspirations, and the future of her art.
What does your artistic process look like from the start to finish of a piece?
The scale of a piece often determines my process as I may apply as many as seven layers of paint to large paintings to build up the textures in some areas and glazes in others. On smaller paintings, I may tone the support lightly, paint wet into wet and perhaps finish in one sitting depending on the subject matter, or continue to work over a period of sessions. I like to work on many paintings at once and will go back and forth. I enjoy the energy and immediacy of painting from life, but I also use my own photo references. Sometimes, I will just catch something on my camera phone in the blink of an eye.
How would you describe your style and how has your style changed over time?
I feel like I am an abstract expressionist at the beginning of my paintings, especially the large ones, in which I get shapes and color notes down and broad, gestural strokes. The groundwork of the expressionism is then worked into a more sculptural type of impressionism in which I want to include more detail in an area that may need emphasis while leaving other areas with less detail but with the intent of imbuing emotion throughout the painting as a whole. Brush and paint can create magic. I am known for bold color choices, and I don’t think that will ever change. I love color!
Who or what most inspires you?
The way the world is filled with art inspires me, from the embrace and magic of nature to all of the arts, music, dance, visual, literature. My love for all of these brings me to my canvas. I paint in a world of music (that’s why I can’t share a studio with anyone lol).
What are your most treasured highlights in your career so far?
In 2017, the U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, William V. Roebuck, invited me to participate in Art in Embassies. Ambassador Roebuck’s wife, Ann, wanted to put together an art exhibit featuring women artists of the South. The exhibit featured five of my paintings. In addition, I taught several workshops throughout the week to young children who were a total pleasure. It was a lot of fun to be embraced by another culture.
What do you find most challenging about life as an artist and the most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect is capturing the essence or soul of the painting. The most rewarding aspect is capturing the essence or soul of the painting.
You can find her art at the following galleries: Providence Art Gallery in Charlotte, NC; Reinert Fine Art in Charleston, SC; The Lucy Clark Gallery; and Studio in Brevard, NC.