upcoming workshops

Joanna is available to teach workshops locally and nationally. Please e-mail her at joanna@joannabarnum.com if your organization or institution would like to host a workshop. Topics include fundamental portrait technique, experimental and conceptual portrait technique, plein air, and general fundamental watercolor approaches.

Joanna Barnum is a Harford County, Maryland based fine artist and illustrator working in watercolor. Her approach to watercolor embraces the fluidity and expressive potential of the medium while emphasizing careful observation of color, light, and form. As an instructor, she believes in fostering the unique voice of each student, teaching concepts and techniques that may be personalized to each individual’s interests and needs. She encourages students to banish fear and reticence with fluid media and to appreciate its unpredictable qualities. Joanna is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society, and serves on the boards of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association.


Watercolor Class at Chesapeake Fine Art Studio
May 14, 21, 28, 2018 (3 weeks)/additional summer dates tba.
mondays 1-4pm
Chesapeake Fine Art Studio
609 Thompson Creek Rd, Stevensville, MD
$130/3 weeks  (one day registrations also permitted)

During May, students are encouraged to come prepared to focus on a personal project of any subject or approach in watercolor (such as portrait, animal, landscape, still life, abstract/experimental, illustrative, etc). Bring reference photos as needed, or work from life with still life objects or the plein air landscape. Students are also welcome to bring in finished work for critique and discussion about areas of improvement and personal direction. All levels welcome, intermediate through advanced students will receive personalized critique and assistance, while beginners will be introduced to fundamental concepts. Sign up for three weeks or drop in for individual days.  

E-mail joanna@joannabarnum.com if you have questions about suggested supplies, or need guidance on beginner materials.

  Tyke, 2017,  private commission

Tyke, 2017, private commission


Introduction to Travel Sketchbooks, Presentation at Elkridge Library
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. Free and open to the public.


Portraits in Watercolor at columbia art center
may 20, 2018
6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia, MD 21045
$65 Columbia Association Members/$75 non-members

Learn how to build layers of warm and cool washes over a preliminary drawing to create naturalistic skin tones and build the illusion of a three-dimensional form, creating lively and expressive portrait paintings in watercolor. This workshop includes step-by-step demonstrations and the opportunity to work on personally directed pieces with assistance and critique. Students will work from personal photo references. Supply list will be provided at the time of registration. Bring your own lunch; beverages and dessert will be provided. Recommended for students with some drawing and watercolor experience.

Students will need to bring at least two different portrait photos, two copies of each image- 8.5” x 11” or larger color prints/copies to use as reference- non-flash photos printed from a high resolution source recommended, but home prints on plain printer paper are fine- need not be expensive glossy reproductions. One can be printed at slightly higher quality, and one can be a draft copy or even black and white photocopy (for transfer). Full supply list here.

If you are not a Columbia Association member, please call 410-730-0075 to register. If you are a Columbia Association member, you may use the link below to register online:

  Naiad (detail), 2016

Naiad (detail), 2016


Luminous Portraits & Simultaneous Realities at millsboro art league
June 25-27, 2018, 9:30am-4:00pm each day
203 Main Street
Millsboro, DE 19966
$175 members, $200 non-members

Join Joanna Barnum, NWS, BWS for a three day exploration of the portrait in watercolor.

Learn a fundamental approach to the portrait by building layers of warm and cool washes over a preliminary drawing to create naturalistic skin tones and build the illusion of three dimensional form. Then, explore how to integrate personal experimentation and storytelling into the portrait, moving beyond simply painting directly from photo reference. Joanna will introduce her technique for splicing together multiple views using masking fluid, and other approaches to creating tension and balance between areas of realism and abstraction.

This workshop will include several step by step demonstrations and the opportunity to work on personally directed pieces with assistance and critique. Students will work from personal photo reference. Recommended for students with basic watercolor and drawing skills.

A limited number of host houses may be available to out of town artists wishing to travel to the DE shore for this multi-day workshop.

  Aurelia, 2017

Aurelia, 2017