Jennie Martin Tomlin: Fluidity in Watercolor

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Watercolor Paintings

When it comes to artwork, there isn’t a medium that North Carolina-based Jennie Martin Tomlin can resist! Whether it’s watercolor, pastel, mixed media, graphite or her new love—alcohol inks—she brings more than fifty years of experience and passion into her work, and loves every minute of it.

Jennie incorporates an impressionistic style, abstract design and distinct realism into her pieces, which are quite varied; including commissioned portraits of homes and animals, local and regional historic buildings, and even florals and landscapes.

So let’s take a look. . . and to start off, what better use for watercolors is there than capturing the liquidity of a pond swarming with Koi?

koi! koi! koi!

In Koi! Koi! Koi! the background is awash with murky blues, greens and browns that soak into the paper and each other. It reminds me of when you look across a body of water and seeing a complete rainbow of shimmering colors flickering among each ripple and wave.

I actually feel like I’m sitting at the edge of the water, almost in a contemplative trance, as the fish swim between waving streams of seaweed below.

A limited palette in Ocracoke Lighthouse brings forth a more sophisticated simplicity and balanced harmony within the painting. . . and I absolutely love the movement that the composition creates.

ocracoke lighthouse

The lighthouse in the distance beckons to be explored, and the painting tells a story of the journey to the lighthouse and its awaiting adventure—after a quick hop of the fence, of course!

Unlike the first painting, where the colors were allowed to blend together, the layers in this painting were deliberately placed atop one another after each one was dry. This creates a kind of hazy, foggy impression, as if the scene was captured at dusk, right as the sun was setting.

Last but not least, the cascading floral arrangement below is pure elegance and fragility. . . soft-spoken, yet each flower begs for my attention. Every silky petal has the texture of a moth’s powdery wings, and I wish I could trail a finger across one just to confirm my musings.


What I love most about this piece is that Jennie experimented with a textured background pattern, adding a little something extra to the painting, along with the complementary colors.

To me, this painting exudes the season of autumn; and, like a cool breeze, reminds me that it’s almost upon us.

To see more of Jennie’s soft, naturalistic paintings, head over to her website. And for those of you who are aspiring artists in her area, check out her upcoming classes and workshops, too.


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