Artist Resources
Watercolor Painting Lesson

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Here are some of my favorites!

by Jennifer Branch

Artists don't learn in an isolated bubble. We learn from all the great artists who created before us. Then we make our own art.

Artist Resources Watercolor Painting Lesson

Look everywhere for art inspiration. You can find ideas in the most unexpected places.

Great art is a good place to begin, but inspiration can happen anywhere.

Painting Lesson Level


Skill Building

Art Supplies

Disclaimer: Jennifer Branch Gallery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to I receive a small rebate for your entire order (starting at 4%) if you choose to purchase through Amazon. Most items can be bought multiple places and I highly recommend local art stores if you have one! Any other recommendation links I receive no compensation for.
These referrals help me support this website, and I thank you for any purchase you make through them. I will never recommend a product I have not used frequently and believe is the best tool for the purpose!

Recommended Art Books and Classes

Sargent Abroad: Figures and Landscapes

The best and most comprehensive book I've ever read on the greatest watercolorist of all time! This book actually has Sargent's watercolors as the focus, not as an aside.

An amazing book.

Leonardo's Notebooks: Writing and Art of the Great Master (Notebook Series)

I saw Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks at a wonderful exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art several years ago. Amazing! This book puts you into the mind of the greatest sketcher of all time. Read it, copy it, be inspired!

Figure Anatomy for the Artist, with Roberto Osti

Comprehensive class (I mean absolutely everything outside of what just surgeons need to know) on human anatomy for the artist. I may be just a bit of a nerd, but I love seeing the different muscles and tendons and how everything fits together. If you know what's beneath the skin, you become a better portrait artist.

Excellent class.

Companion Book

The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression

If you want to paint portraits, you need this book. It's an excellent book on drawing people.

Drawing Facial Features with Gary Faigin

A wonderful Craftsy class by Gary Faigin that shows portrait drawing basics clearly. Get this on a rainy afternoon and it will improve your portrait drawing skills.

I particularly enjoyed his Drawing Facial Features

Since my kids are very active, drawing with a model and a teacher was fun and relaxing!

Gary Faigin is not the best artist, but he is the best teacher for learning to draw basic features on anyone's face and learning to analyze facial expressions. For instance, you can always tell a fake smile by the eyes after a class or reading his book. Since so many models make that fake smile automatically, you can correct their expression or adjust for it in your painting.

Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor by Mary Whyte

A nice view into the studio and method of a very good modern portrait artist. A lot of the paintings are from Working South. In this book she explains more of her painting techniques.

Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte

Pure inspirational portraits. Lovely paintings about the manual laborers of the South. From milliners to fishermen, all the disappearing skilled trades are disappearing, but Mary Whyte has captured them in a wonderful way. I personally prefer the sketches at the back to the finished paintings!

Painting More Than the Eye Can See

One of the world's master watercolor teachers.

Art Supplies

M. Graham & Co.
Beautiful pigments mixed with honey. My favorite pigments by far!

But I can't use ALL the colors!

Twinrocker Paper

I use primarily Twinrocker paper in heavy art or art and 0 on their white scale.
It's a gorgeous handmade paper that has just enough texture but shows pigments beautifully. I'm very impressed with it!
Note: Twinrocker paper sometimes behaves badly with masking fluid, so avoid masking fluid, use white gouache or clear wax.

Art Stores I use in alphabetical order

So many art supply stores offer the same items, so choose yours based on convenience and price.

Cheap Joe's Art Supplies

Reasonably priced, not cheap, art supplies. I absolutely love their white artist's tape!

Daniel Smith, Fine Artists' Materials

Gorgeous watercolor paints under their own name, very good quality. If M. Graham doesn't carry a pigment color, this is my next stop. Their Van Dyke Brown is lovely.

Dick Blick

I've been buying more and more supplies here. Probably because it has a good stock of artist quality materials and there is a store 30 minutes away.

I love going to art stores and playing with the different supplies. There aren't many art forms I haven't tried, and quite a few I've done professionally. The perfect way to spend an evening or rainy afternoon is in an art store - if you're not painting!

Dick Blick is almost the only art store left in Atlanta.

How sad is it that a major city - with two art colleges - has hardly any art stores?

I won't even talk about the lack of good art museums. There are a few, but not enough for a city this size.

Jerry's Artarama

Good, well-priced art supply store. They've featured me in their email newsletter.

I hope this gives you some ideas for inspirational artists and ways to stoke the inspirational fire.

Related Art Lessons

Happy Painting! Jennifer Branch

Artist Resources painting lesson by Jennifer Branch
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