JoAnn Raines


I created art in a number of ways over the years, but felt there was a “watercolor painter within” that needed to be developed. I just loved the medium — its transparent luminance, the purity of color, the beauty of paintings I’d see that captured my attention. I’d often heard that watercolor was difficult — some saying, arguably, the most difficult of the painting media. But to me, it was the most beautiful. So watercolor it was.

I began to pick up a beginner’s class here and there — some good, some not so good. After searching out a number of these over a period of years, I eventually identified teachers whose styles and work I admired and from whom I wanted to learn more. I signed up for classes & workshops whenever I could. But it still hadn’t clicked how much I needed to work on my own. I’d take a class and then wonder why I hadn’t gotten better by painting only while in classes. After all, we’re given watercolor sets as children; how hard could it be? I discovered that it is very hard!

Over the years, I only dabbled in it, feeling frustrated, wondering why I even bothered, discouraged by my lack of progress. At last, I concluded that I couldn’t merely dabble if I wanted to improve and get to a point where I might actually want to show someone else what I’d done. I became determined to get better. So I put my nose to the grindstone and painted every. single. day. That was something I hadn’t done before because I thought, why paint alone making the same mistakes over and over again without a teacher’s guidance? But that is what it took to help get me over the blocks I’d encountered. Of course, there is always something new to learn, so I still pursue continuing instruction from new teachers as well as from my mentors who have been integral to my process, continually encouraging and generously sharing their knowledge.

I’m rarely without a camera, using it to collect reference photographs from which to paint back in my studio. I also paint on location, usually in a sketchbook, in order to potentially use those on-site studies to inspire a larger painting in the studio. Rather than painting a detailed replica of a given scene, my goal is a looser, more impressionistic style — that is, simply painting my impression of a location.

Painting from the abundance of beauty, in the variety of landscapes and scenes where I live and travel, is what most inspires me.