"In 2007, we had the privilege of filming a series of videos with Jeffrey Watts in his studio in Southern California. This is the first of the programs, and it represents the great power and talent this young artist brings to the contemporary art scene. Watts is a painting hurricane, approaching the canvas with a bombastic energy that explodes into what seems at first to be chaotic brushwork. Not since the late, great Nicolai Fechin have we seen a paint surface like the ones Jeffrey creates. He is admittedly influenced by the late Fechin's work, and we believe he is the torch bearer for this generation of painters who wish to follow in the steps of that early 20th century master.
Jeff has carved a permanent place for himself in the California educational art scene by creating and operating an art school, Watts Atelier of the Arts, near San Diego, and now passes on his drawing and painting knowledge to a new generation of artists in an ongoing curriculum of classical drawing and painting semester classes. His own work is receiving national recognition as one of the most powerful portrait and figurative painters of this generation, winning awards from the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and being invited to participate in such exclusive events as the Prix de West competition.
As with all our programs in the "In the Studio With..." series, you are gifted with the rare opportunity to see a master artist at work on a major, gallery-bound piece and have the privilege of seeing virtually every brushstroke required to bring this painting from bare canvas to finished masterpiece. Watts is a verbal, energetic instructor who will talk you though every phase of the painting's development.
Being present at the filming, I was surprised when I watched the late stages of the painting and compared it to the live model Jeff was painting from. The painting actually looked more alive than the model, and that is no disrespect to the model. The painting actually had a living quality about it with the rich, vibrant colors, along with the full value range from white to black on the canvas. You will have to watch the video to see this for yourself, but I know you will agree with me that the painting has a power well beyond the model, and that power comes from the artist who created it.
If you strive to achieve an impressionist, expressionistic look to your own work, you can't find a better artist to demostrate how this is accomplished. As an artist myself, I have been on the lookout many years for a contemporary painter who had solved the mystery of Nicholai Fechin's technique, and I found that artist in Jeffrey Watts. His performance was a painting feast for the eyes, and you won't be disappointed by either the execution or the education that this video offers to the painter wanting to understand more about the legacy of those great painters who preceded us.
This video is a must for the library of the serious student of painting, and I can't recommend it highly enough."
- Johnnie Liliedahl, artist