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Angela Emsen-West: Richly Painted Watercolor Still Lifes

Sometimes what you see is not exactly what you get. Angela Emsen-West’s images create that double-take. They seem like richly colored oil paintings, but in fact are actually created with watercolor.

Angela lives in Ireland, has been painting full-time for over ten years, and has exhibited her work across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe. Focusing on “regular things about the home,” Angela enjoys rekindling the beauty that we begin to ignore in our busy lives.

The rich colors of her paintings is achieved through constant glazing and delicate transparencies of watercolor and watercolor pencils. Sometimes she’ll even use polychromous pencils for more depth. As Angela puts it, she strives to achieve “dreamy aspects of light, shade and atmosphere.”

The painting below shows all of those elements. Clear plastic captures light beautifully as it crinkles under its own weight. The lettuce inside is rich in color and shines through with its own sparkle, enhanced by the dark pink label as its complement.


Angela also insists there is nothing deeply conceptual about her work—it is simply about what she sees, and she attempts to represent it as realistically as possible.

These may be everyday things, but Angela has a knack for choosing objects with lovely detail and color, then positioning them in engaging compositions. For example, an intricate plate, sitting on a gingham tablecloth, highlights contrasting patterns in an intriguing way. Here, the blue patterns become a playful background to the contrasting color of the toast.


This final image demonstrates Angela’s skill in creating an intriguing composition filled with exquisite patterns.

The dark background accentuates each pitcher marching across this wrinkled tablecloth while three delicately placed orange flowers pop with contrasting colors.


I invite you to experience more of Angela’s still life paintings, plus her collection of watercolors portraits and landscapes, at her website: www.artmayo.net.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Vermont artist, Susan Abbott has a knack for creating bright, highly detailed, watercolor paintings. With degrees in painting and printmaking, Susan has been a professional artist since college and held exhibitions in galleries across the country.

Susan's extraordinary landscapes are what initially attracted me to her work. . . the painting. . . read more

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