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.



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.


Recently published projects for games and book covers, and other illustrative works. 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.


Illustration for Overlight, Renegade Game Studios

Join me on Patreon

I’m now publishing works in progress, articles, and insight into my process for subscribers on Patreon. Learn more.

Illustration: Overlight
Available Now

I recently had the opportunity to create illustrations for the supplemental materials for Overlight, a new RPG created by Paul Alexander Butler and George Holland, published by Renegade Game Studios. My work can be found as the interiors for the sourcebook "The Skyborn Order and Its Enemies," More information.

Group Exhibition: Abend Gallery, 28th Annual Holiday Miniatures Show
Abend Gallery, Denver, CO

Although this exhibit has concluded, the work from the exhibit is still available to view and purchase through Abend’s website. I had five small works included in this show. More information.

“Piercing the Veil (Blue),” 8” x 8” watercolor available now through Abend Gallery’s    Holiday Miniatures Show

“Piercing the Veil (Blue),” 8” x 8” watercolor available now through Abend Gallery’s Holiday Miniatures Show

Online Event: Every Day Original

I recently joining the roster of the fantasy and figurative artists on Every Day Original as part of “Newbie November.” My piece “Justice” is currently available for sale through EDO, and my piece “Out of My Skull II” will be available on January 30: More information.

Online Event: Month of Love 2019
February 2019

I was invited to be one of the official artists for this year’s Month of Love project. Every February, artists respond to a set of unique prompts, publishing new work online throughout the month. All are invited to participate in the project, sharing their work under the #monthoflove hashtag, alongside the official artists. Start watching the work appear on February 1 on both the official Month of Love Tumblr account as well as across all social media platforms under #monthoflove ! More information.

Juror: Idaho Falls National Exhibition
Entries due January 16, 2019
March 14-June 6, 2019
Idaho Falls Arts Council, Idaho Falls, ID

I was very pleased to be invited to serve as this year’s guest juror of selections and awards for this national exhibition open to artists working in all media. More information.

Group Exhibition: Signature American Watermedia Exhibition
February 10-April 21, 2019
Fallbrook Art Center, Fallbrook, CA

I’m honored to have my painting “Generations” selected for inclusion in this juried museum exhibition. More information.

Group Exhibition: Visionary Women
March 8-31, 2019
Opening Reception: March 8, 6-8pm
Columbia Art Center
Columbia, MD

I will have two paintings in this group exhibit of Maryland artists in honor of National Women’s History Month. More information.

Group Exhibition: I Observe
March 9-March 29, 2019
Opening Reception: March 9, 1-6pm
Rehs Contemporary
New York, NY

I am thrilled to be included in this group exhibit at Rehs Contemporary in New York, in conjunction with PoetsArtists. More information.

Workshop: Watercolor Portraits, Fundamentals and Exploration
April 25 & 26, 2019
York Fine Arts
Bridgewater, NJ

More information.

Workshop: Watercolor Portraits, Fundamentals and Exploration
May 13-15, 2019
Art League of Ocean City
Ocean City, MD

More information. 

Convention: Gen Con
August 1-4, 2019
Indianapolis, Indiana

I will be an exhibiting artist in the Gen Con Art Show, and will also be doing signings with Renegade Game Studios as part of the Overlight team. More information.

Two Artist Exhibition: Save the Date!
September 29-October 25, 2019
Opening reception: October 4
The Palette & The Page
Elkton, MD

I am looking forward to this two artist show with Jenny Davies-Reazor! Save the date for the opening reception on Friday evening, October 4, and stay tuned for more details.

Convention: Illuxcon
October 25 & 26, 2019
Reading, PA

I look forward to returning to Illuxcon, the convention of imaginative realist art, as part of the Friday and Saturday evening Showcase event. The Showcase at the Doubletree Hotel in Reading is free and open to the public. The Main Show and convention programming at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts is ticketed. More information.