Joanna Barnum NWS is a painter exploring the expressive potential of watercolor with a particular focus on the portrait. Based in Maryland, she exhibits and teaches around the country and creates projects for publication.


  Gaze, 2017- Currently included in "H2OMG, Watercolor Gone Wild" at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA.

Gaze, 2017- Currently included in "H2OMG, Watercolor Gone Wild" at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton, CA.


Joanna Barnum uses watercolor to express universal emotional states and the unique spirits of her portrait subjects, balancing experimental, abstract use of the media with sensitive realism and symbolism. View the full collection.


Landscapes painted directly from life, including works from juried paint out competitions. View the full collection.


In 2016, Joanna was selected to participate in NASA's James Webb Space Telescope artist project, invited to observe the new telescope in person and create works inspired by it for exhibits at NASA Goddard, Art.Science.Gallery, and the Texas Museum of Science and Technology during 2017 and 2018. View the full collection.


group exhibition: “H2OMG! Watercolor Gone Wild”
February 1-April 8, 2018
Muckenthaler Cultural Center
1201 W. Malvern Ave, Fullerton, CA

I will have several experimental portrait paintings included in this group invitational exhibition featuring Signature members of the National Watercolor Society.  More information.

solo exhibition: “Simultaneous Realities”
March 8-April 1, 2018
Opening: March 11, 2-4pm
Columbia Art Center
6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045

Please join me for my solo exhibition in the “Window Gallery” at Columbia Art Center. “Simultaneous Realities” explores the expressive potential of watercolor as medium and the portrait as subject. Realistic imagery interweaves with chaotic fields of color and texture. More information.

Class: Four week Session in Watercolor
April 2, 9, 16, 30 (no class April 23) 2018
Chesapeake Fine Art Studio
609 Thompson Creek Rd, Stevensville, MD

Learn to balance fundamental skills and observation with expressiveness and experimentation in watercolor. Follow the weekly themed assignment, or bring in your independent project. Classes include demonstration, plenty of hands on work, and critique and assistance.  All levels welcome, intermediate through advanced students will learn new approaches and take their work to the next level, while beginners will be introduced to fundamental concepts.  April topics- April 2 Still life from observation, April 9 Animals from personal photos, April 16 Portraits from personal photos, April 30 Experimentation with masking fluid and resists. More information.

convention/exhibition: Baltimore faerie faire
April 7, 2018, 11am-6pm
Church of the Guardian Angel
335 w 27th st, baltimore, md 21211

I will be the featured guest artist at this urban celebration of all things fairy and fantasy! Promoting creativity in costume, crafts, music, dance, art and attitude, Baltimore Faerie Faire seeks to create a welcoming space for young and old, dreamers and doers, artists and patrons of the arts. More information.

kickstarter: tiny dragons art project
Online, through april 12, 2018

Do you love dragons? Back this Kickstarter project (already fully funded!) to order a set of tiny art books featuring dragon artwork from many talented artists. One of my "Jabberwocky" illustrations is included in this project. More information.

plein air event/group exhibition: wayne plein air festival
may 6-13, 2018
wayne art center, wayne, pa
more information

workshop/lecture: Introduction to Travel Sketchbooks
May 9, 2-3:30pm
Howard County Public Library, Elkridge Branch
6540 Washington Blvd, Elkridge, MD 21075

Joanna Barnum, an award winning watercolor painter and Illustrator, discusses her travel sketchbooks and explains how artists of any skill level can start their own book. Learn about the supplies that she uses to document scenes in her sketchbooks while on the road and see examples.

Workshop: Portraits in Watercolor
may 20, 2018
Columbia Art Center, Columbia, MD
More information.

plein air event/group exhibition: Paint Annapolis
June 3-10, 2018
Maryland federation of art, annapolis, md

workshop: Luminous Portraits & Simultaneous Realities
June 25-27, 2018
Millsboro Art League, Millsboro, DE
More information.

convention/exhibition: Illuxcon
october 19 & 20, 2018
goggleworks center for the arts, reading, pa

I will be exhibiting my work in the Friday and Saturday evening open "Showcase" event at the adjoining DoubleTree Hotel location, in conjunction with this exhibition and convention of Imaginative Realism that runs October 17-21. The Showcase is free and open to the public. The main convention is ticketed.