Bold Brush Competition- Favorite Painting

Good news, my entry in the FASO Bold Brush online competition, while not a winner, earned the distinction of placing  atop  the 15% of favorited images.  The image can be viewed online  at the Bold Brush site.  Or below:

(Watercolor painting of Cathedral in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cuenca- Ecuador)

I hate to admit, but I painted this piece in less than two hours.  That is the beauty of watercolor- the less you mess with the paints, the better it looks (usually).

Working from a very detailed line drawing (traces of the drawing can be seen in the upper-right),  I abandoned most of the drawing as I painted, focusing less on the details, and more on the colors and large shapes.  With the canvas sitting at a 45 degree angle, and paint applied to the paper immediately ran down.  I started at the top of the canvas, and let gravity takes it’s course.

Little splotches of windsor red and cerulean blue were applied when the paper was completely covered in paint.  I like using both of these paints since the are opaque and have a reflective quality to them.  I had just read Nita Engle’s book How to Make a Watercolor Paint Itself and I had learned this little bit of knowledge from her.

A little table salt  for texture, and I sprayed off a large portion of the colors on the right hand side since I found   the details of the arches were distracting from the center Cathedral.

It was a lively, and very messy,  hour of painting.

When dried the next day, I applied the darkest darks in the Cathedral area and a few places in the columns.

The original image has sold, but giclee proofs are available at my website:  There you, can see several of the original photographs in the Ecuador gallery (this painting is photo composite of several photos).

The finished painting looks nothing like the original photographs.  I altered the colors and composition.  After all, if I wanted it to look like a photograph, I’d take a picture.

Hope your brushes are busy.


(919) 645-8345


Watercolor styles and methods of painting

I need to pick a style of painting and stick with it.

Watercolor Society of North Carolina

In the past few months I have created these original watercolor paintings:

Watercolor batik- Venice, Italy

This was a watercolor batik on rice paper.  Thank you Kathie George and her article in Watercolor Artist for this amazing painting process to me.

It makes a heck of a mess though.

Watercolor painting of Guanajuato- Mexico

To create this painting of the callejon (alleyway) in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Guanajuato, I used tape to mask off sections and painted the entire piece with a mouth atomizer.

A what?

A mouth atomizer.  Basically, a poor man’s airbrush.  You dip one of the tubes in paint and blow out the other tube, and it sprays the canvas.  And your wall, table, kid’s homework, and floor.

This was a challenging painting because I had to carefully tape off sections as I built my layers.  I only used primary colors.

Thanks to John Salminen for the excellent demonstration of mouth atomizers in his workshop last year for the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s 2012 show.

Mark Mehaffey is another watercolor artist who utilizes the mouth atomizer.  I have seen his work online but have never been fortunate to study with him (are you supposed to say study UNDER him?  Wouldn’t this indicate he is sitting on you?).  🙂


Watercolor painting of Raleigh, North Carolina skyline Watercolor painting of Tower Bridge- London, England

The top two paintings were inspired by gravity.  Actually, the watercolor of Raleigh, NC was done several months ago.  While I did a detailed drawing, I attempted an Alvaro Castagnet inspired piece.   Alvaro is a master a plein air painting.  He paints quickly.  Con passion.

Antonio Masi inspired my painting of Tower Bridge in London, England.  I have seen Masi’s work in books and magazines, and found a youtube video that shows him painting for a few seconds.  A few fleeting seconds.  My attempt at the London Bridge was done with loose washes and loads of Chinese White, a very opaque color.  5-6 layers later, I was happy with the painting.

Watercolor painting of Kathmandu street- Nepal

The painting of the night-street in the Himalayan city of Kathmandu was inspired by Victoria Prishedko.

Victoria is a european artist who paints bright colors very wet.  I have no idea how she controls the wet paint, and I have been unable to find much information on her technique, especially in english.

Anyways, the Kathmandu painting looks nothing like her work.  But it was a great exercise in controlling wet paint and pulling out colors as it dried.

Watercolor painting of Vancouver skyline

This nightime scene of the Vancouver, BC skyline was inspired by no one.  I just painted it.  The skyline is essentially imagined.  I  loosely looked at my original photograph.

Watercolor painting of ligthouse on Mackinaw Island- Michigan

Holiday craft fairs and ideas- schedule and more

The 2017 holidays are looking to be busy.

Fine art watercolor painting of elephant walking across savannah.


Watercolor painting of light rays streaking through window inside of St. Peter’s Basilica- Vatican, Rome (Italy)


Watercolor painting of trees silhouetted in forest during sunset. Watercolor landscape painting. Tree painting. Tree art.


Brooklyn Bridge and skyscrapers of Manhattan at sunset in New York City- New York, USA. Watercolor painting.


If you are looking for some artwork for the house as a holiday, birthday, or when-ever present, I will be selling prints and original paintings at:


201 E. Davie St.

Raleigh, NC 27601

Studio 104

Most days from noon-6pm. 

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Original watercolor painting on YUPO synthetic of Raleigh skyline ($50).


Most days I can be found in my studio at Artspace.  I have tons of originals on the walls as well as lower priced unframed originals from locations around the globe.  In addition, I have a plethora of prints from North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and more.

Around town, I will be participating in several craft fairs:

November 25th- Holiday Shopping Extravaganza in Willow Springs

December 2nd- Holiday Bazaar in Hedingham (SE Raleigh)

December 3rd- Boylan Heights Artwalk

One of the largest art fairs/ craft markets in Raleigh


Check them out.



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$50 original paintings available in Studio 104 at Artspace

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I have been busy creating a bunch of small original watercolors at perfect holiday prices.

Approx 8×8″ originals of Raleigh skylines, downtown scenes, North Carolina lighthouses (Cape Hatteras, Bodie Island, and Cape Lookout) painted on YUPO synthetic.

These paintings have all been sealed with UV archival finish and are available for only $50 plus tax.

Fine art watercolor painting on YUPO synthetic of Cape Lookout lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina- USA


These paintings were started as abstract images on YUPO.  I used a combination of razor blades, sandpaper, scraping with credit cards, and wet paper towels to create textures.  Abstracted images became icons of North Carolina.

I created a set of 50 images last year and only a few remain from the original series.  This new set has already been a big seller- if you want to get one stop by Studio 104 at Artspace for an affordable and unique holiday, birthday, or random gift.

Look forward to seeing you.




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New watercolor class at Sanderson HS. Begins 9/21

I will be teaching a 6 week course beginning September 21st at Sanderson HS. I hope you can join us as I focus on letting watercolor do what it does best- move in water. I have taught a lot of workshops/classes lately on different techniques such as pouring or atomizing. However, this will be a chance to loosen up and let water do it’s thing- move color.

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Snowy barn scene watercolor landscape painting. Watercolor barn scene winter fine art painting

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Tree landscape painting. Watercolor landscape painting of trees in forest. Forest painting watercolor fine art.

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Imagined watercolor painting of landscape with tyrannosaurus rex in background.


To register visit:


Ryan Fox Painting on facebook


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