Commissioned work

My first two commissioned pieces were paintings I did for my German friends married in Switzerland at the Hospiz Grimsel (paintings below).

Watercolor painting of Swiss Alps rising above architecture of Grimsel Hospiz at Grimsel Pass- Switzerland, Europe

Watercolor painting of Hospiz Grimsel surrounded by Swiss alps in the country of Switzerland

These full sheet watercolors (22×30″) were based on photographs I shot in Switzerland.

While I wasn’t paid for these images (they were their wedding gifts), the idea was the same as a commission- I knew what they wanted, we talked composition & colors, and the final watercolor paintings were based on their specifications.

Recently, I was hired by Betsy Bardi of Bardi Designs to create a smaller replica of the Raleigh Skyline batik available on my Etsy storefront:

Watercolor batik of Raleigh skyline(Original watercolor batik of Raleigh downtown skyline)

This was a little more difficult to execute because the original painting is 20×32″.  Betsy’s clients were looking for a 12×15″, which usually isn’t an issue.  Except when you dealing with hot, dripping wax…


My first attempt at recreating the painting produced the painting above.  I needed to get smaller brushes for the wax.  My second attempt turned out much better:


It is more difficult to match the details of the original when working smaller.  Wax has a tendency to spread on rice paper because there is no sizing.  You need to apply the wax  1/8″ from the line you want to preserve.

I managed to complete these pieces over the holidays- even with the in-laws in town.

Currently, I am working on another painting for Bardi Designs.  My commissioned work will not be sold as giclees on my online storefronts.   These are original and unique watercolors.

Please contact me if you are interested in an original painting for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or any occasion.


Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

Etsy Storefront– fine art giclees

Fine Art America– watercolor, canvas, and metallic prints

Waverly Arts Group- gallery in Cary, NC

Last month I was approached by Gary Bradley, the owner of Waverly Arts Group in Cary, NC.  Gary had several openings in the studio and asked me if I was interested in joining the gallery and displaying my watercolors.

So I thought for half-a-second:

“Hum, this is the gallery where Dan Nelson (the guy who paints with two hands), Rocky Alexander, Sonia Kane,Gary,  David Stickel, and other great RTP artists are represented.”

It was a no-brainer.

I am  now a member of the Waverly Arts Group.

Watercolor painting of ballerinaWatercolor painting of Chapel at Duke University- Chapel Hill, NCPaintings_gallery_WAG(My sister-in-law standing below her portrait)

Stop by the gallery to view a selection of my latest watercolor paintings: from subjects such as ballerinas, Mayan ruins of Tikal, Bodie Island lighthouse, etc..  My watercolors are painted on traditional watercolor paper and YUPO synthetic paper, which is a nice way to say PLASTIC (but it looks cool!)

Join us for Final Fridays at the art gallery.  Great art, conversation, and wine.


Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

(919) 645-8345





Watercolor demonstration- Big Ben painted on YUPO synthetic paper

Months ago I began a series of watercolor paintings on YUPO synthetic paper.  “Synthetic” meaning plastic.

Painting on a plastic surface with watercolor is tough.  The surface takes a long time to dry.  You can layer but with difficulty.  Oil from finger prints creates a resist for paint (run a cloth with a light application of rubbing alcohol over the surface to remove the oil).  However, you can remove the surface paint at any time and get back to the original white of the “paper”.

I began the watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on a “rainbow” surface I prepared months ago.

When I create my YUPO abstract surfaces, I put 3-5 pieces on my kitchen floor, wet the tops of the suface, and proceed to walk around the kitchen throwing paint onto the paper randomly.  Spattering colors into the puddles encourages color mixing.

I mop up puddles that collect too much water with a squirrel mop watercolor brush.  Additionally, I throw salt onto the surface when it has partially dried to develop texture, as well as rubbing alcohol spritzed with a sprayer.  Rubbing alcohol repels the watercolor.

This was the abstract image I began with:

Watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on YUPO synthetic paper

My next step and the most difficult part of painting in this manner is finding the “right” image for the paper.  Once dried, I view the paper from different angles until something comes to mind.

In this case- after many months, I saw a silhouette of Big Ben in London.

I drew the image onto the paper and began painting.

The finished result:

Watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on YUPO synthetic paper

Layering YUPO is difficult because you cannot run your brush over a dried layer more than once.  If you do, you will watch the underlying layer lift off the surface and blend with the colors being painted.

I painted the silhouettes of the background buildings & bridge quickly- lots of water and dark colors.

Big Ben, however, I spent several hours painting.  I tried to introduce the colors of the sky into the iconic tower.

I need to re-photograph the image since all the darks reflect light.  I’ll post the final when I photograph it properly and remove the light reflections.

Happy holidays and email if you have any questions/comments/donations.


Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

R. Fox Watercolors on

Fine Art America– canvas, metallic, and fine art prints

World of Art Showcase (WOAS 2013)- Raleigh, NC

Next weekend the World of Art Showcase will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center.  The VIP premier opening is October 31st from 5-10pm and the show opens to public November 1-3rd.  Admission is $15 if purchased online or $30 at the door.

Watercolor painting of North Carolina lighthouse on YUPO synthetic paper.

Or if you attend on Raleigh First Friday, admission is free November 1st from 7-10pm.

With over 80 international artists, the show also features Raleigh artists such as Carol Joy ShannonSharon and Joseph DiGiulio, and others.

Luckily, I will be one of the OTHERS.  Visual Arts Exchange has several booths and is letting the four forum groups affiliated with VAE display work.  I have been the facilitator for the Traditional Painters’ Forum for almost two years, and am delighted that 6 members and I will be displaying our paintings and drawings.  Sonia Kane, Bibi Bowman, Julie Holmes, Vicki Rees, Alexandra Bloch, and Claudia Jackson will all have paintings and drawings for sale at the VAE booth.

Watercolor painting of Tower Bridge- London, England

It will be a great weekend.  Stop by the VAE booth and support some amazing local artists.


Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts

R. Fox Etsy- Giclee prints and originals

(919) 645-8345




Link reciprocity- Watercolor Society of North Carolina

In the latest issue of The Palette Dispatch I wrote a brief article concerning linking to the Watercolor Society of North Carolina website from your artist website.

Why would you want to do this?

Though the search engine algorithm’s are top secret, the consensus among SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts are several things will increase the relevance of your website thus leading to higher search engine rankings.

These include:

1. Links on your website & reciprocal links with similar content. You do not need to go overboard linking to everyone involved in watercolor.  This can hurt you if you have too many links to other sites with no reciprocal links.  Reciprocal links tell the search engines that your site is relevant. WSNC has many, many links to artists’ websites.  Linking your site to WSNC increases the importance of the WSNC site and yours too.

If you have not added your website to the WSNC site, please do. Let’s stay connected and help each other.

To add a link to WSNC- add this code to your site in the appropriate page and place:

<a href=””><strong>Watercolor Society of North Carolina</strong></a>

This is what will appear:

Watercolor Society of North Carolina

2. Site description. These include the title, keyword, and description tags.  Many, many sites I have seen from WSNC  members do not have this information.

What happens if you do not have TITLE, KEYWORD, or DESCRIPTION tags?

What the search engines will see is:



Not sure what you have on your website? Does all this sound like I am speaking Greek?

Let’s find out what is on your site.  Go to your webpage and right-click on the page. Select VIEW PAGE SOURCE and view the results in the new window. This is the code for your site. This is what the search engine sees.

If your code does not have enough text, let’s fix it.

At the top of the code view of your page, you should something that says TITLE. Usually it is below the HEAD tag.



<title>My watercolor painting page</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”Write a detailed description of your site and art.  Use specific phrases but avoid stuffing too many words into the sentences & avoid sounding like Elmer Fudd” />

<meta name=”keywords” content=”shorter phrases but be specific.  If you add WATERCOLOR as a stand alone word- remember watercolor has over 42 million results when searched on google” />

The code above is what you want to add to the top of the page.

Write a brief title- usually 50-60 letters.

I added my notes between the TITLE tags and “”s. Please change these. Or else someone is going to find your site when searching for Elmer Fudd. 🙂

More later


(919) 645-8345

Watercolor painting of Duomo- Florence, Italy

Watercolor painting of Duomo and architecture of Florence, Italy as viewed from Piazzale Michaelangelo