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 illustrates 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.


Book and comic cover illustration, including personal works available to license. View the full collection.


A personal series of macabre illustrations in a limited palette. View the full collection.


Illustrations for the role playing game book series from Renegade Game Studios. 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

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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," I’ve also just completed the cover and interiors for the upcoming “Ivory Mausoleum” adventure. More information.

“Gaze,” 15” x 22” watercolor currently available through Rehs Contemporary Gallery as part of “I Observe.”  More information.

“Gaze,” 15” x 22” watercolor currently available through Rehs Contemporary Gallery as part of “I Observe.” 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: 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.

Group Exhibition: National Watercolor Society Member Exhibition
April 4-June 24, 2019
NWS Gallery
San Pedro, CA

My painting “Anguish” was selected for this annual juried exhibition for members of the National Watercolor Society. More information.

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

More information. 

Group Exhibition: Southern Watercolor Society 42nd Juried Exhibition
May 23-July 26, 2019
Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, Kerrville, TX

My painting “Memento Mori” was selected for inclusion in this juried group exhibition. More information.

Group Exhibition: Watercolor USA
June 8-September 1, 2019
Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, MO

My painting “Blaze” is included in this upcoming museum exhibition. 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.