Watercolor expert, North Carolina native, and former free-lance travel photographer, Ryan Fox transforms his years spent behind a camera into color-radiating works of art. Better than any post card you’ll ever receive (or send), his work sprinkles a sort of magical dust over landmarks well-known and non from around the world. His multi-step process and manipulation of the tricky liquid that is watercolor paint leaves us with works evoking a feeling well-known to avid travelers — wonder. Meet this week’s Artist You Need to Know.
Why do you do what you do?
R: Each painting is a challenge- a puzzle. What elements do I have to include to make it a successful painting? Which colors will make this a good painting? As an artist, I enjoy the limitless options you are presented with to create a good painting. This inspires me to create art every day. I always want to make a better painting- the perfect painting.
Luckily, this will never happen. But I can hope. 🙂
How long have you been creating art and what was your path to becoming an artist like?
R: I have always been an artist. I received a BFA in art. I always took drawing classes. However, I was a photographer for a decade and did not paint. I returned to painting in 2011. I always dealt with composition as a photographer. I could draw. Learning to paint became my new focus. It took nearly two years of reading and studying other artists’ works before I began to paint.
R: I love watercolor because of the difficulty and surprises. With watercolor, you are always on the verge of ruining a painting. I enjoy the ying-yang of being in control/out of control.
R: Yes. I was a freelance travel photographer for a decade.
We know your work is layered. Walk us through what goes into creating a single piece?
Composition is the most important element. Once I select my photographic reference I add/manipulate/modify the image until I have a good composition. The next steps depend on technique. With pouring and batik watercolors, you have to preserve your values as you slowly build up your darks. When I create poured or batik watercolors, I often use as little as 5 layers, or as much as 20. Some paintings take a day. Others take a week.
Watch the Process Unfold
R: Art is work. It is labor- especially on those days when you create rubbish. However, I love to do it.
R: The difficulty is not creating the painting. Selling the painting is the difficult part. Every painting has a buyer. Finding the right buyer for the painting is the challenge- one that is remarkably easier with the internet. Instead of traditional galleries where only a few hundred people might see a painting, sites like Vango allow thousands to view artwork at a touch of a button.
R: This will surprise you- either spanish rock n’ roll or German punk rock. I understand spanish. I don’t understand German (but I can pretend). I like listening to songs I do not hear on the radio.
What are you working on now?
R: I have several upcoming watercolor workshops in September. There is nothing worse than embarrassing yourself in front of an audience. I usually paint 3-4 paintings in the same technique I teach prior to the workshop. This month I am working on more poured & mouth atomized watercolor paintings.
R: Being a painter is easier than being a photographer. I do not have to sit in the rain for an hour hoping the sun will appear for a few moments. I can take a boring photograph and use it as the reference for a (hopefully) amazing painting.
Want too see more from Ryan? See his full portfolio of worldwide watercolors here.
Stay in touch and see Ryan’s new work first😎