Jonalyn's Watercolor Blog

Find the Good, Avoid the Bad Artists

In every place on this earth, we can find the wolves. What makes an artist good and how do you spot the bad artists?

How to Avoid the Wolves

You can spot a bad artist by these tell-tales (not just in art, but in life)

  • copy-cats of the most famous painters (you can easily google “famous watercolor painters” and see the copy-cats). Many popular artists are actually excellent mimics, not creatives. You can read more on the problems with copy-cats and pretenders here. See below for an example from my paintings of influence but not mimicry.
  • exclusive vibe, name-dropping, bravado, lack of humility over their place in the art world
  • secretive and offended when asked about their creating techniques and process.
  • charming but an inability to answer your questions about their work or background.
  • disrespectful of their collectors. If you hear they’re bragging that their paintings only take 30 min to paint, but are selling for $15,000.00, don’t buy what they’re selling
  • relying on shock or offensiveness rather than creativity (I define creativity as connecting two seemingly disconnected ideas).
  • painting lockstep with political or art trends. So right now that would be pieces that orbit the left’s concerns: climate change, equity, LGBTQ awareness, globalism, you know, the headlines.
  • admired for biz savvy or strategy, impressive salesmanship, but not for their dedication to the discipline of creativity.
  • there are many more. I welcome you to add more in the comments.

How to Find the Good Artists

I’ve taken the last 13 years to treasure hunt the good artists, for my own growth. These amazing folks have guided me thorough workshops, mentoring, their books and their friendship. Look for these signs before you purchase art.

  • a daily practice of painting, studying, growing themselves. Ask them about it!
  • regularly create new pieces that show development and change in their artistic journey. Look for the date range at their shop.
  • admire good artists, and can name the artists they admire. At least one should be an artist unfamiliar to you. Ask them!
  • can explain their art in words you can access and understand. Ask them to explain your fav piece and see how well they can explain their inspiration and composition.
  • agonize over and carefully increase their prices. Their prices will increase as their expertise, craft and vision crystallize. If you follow any artist over time, you can figure this out.
  • earn the respect of other artists who admire their work (not just their biz savvy).  Who comments on their work or purchases their pieces?
  • destroy or give away their art rather than sell an inferior piece.

New Paintings

As you are my friends, collectors and followers, I always give you the first look at new paintings. And it’s my pleasure to share the process, growth and discoveries I’m having as an artist and painter. Each painting has a story and specific purpose, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. I love telling the stories behind my art.

You can find more of my work in my freshly organized Shop. I’ve made some changes for you this week!


“Looking Down on Exeter” Exeter, NH, 5.5. x 15″, $500


One of my artistic influences, Skip Lawrence, for his use of color. His washes have always impressed me. See the similarity to “Looking Down on Exeter”. Even though we both have buildings, chimneys, dropped in washes and even a fence, even though Skip Lawrence is a better painter than me, I have many other influences and my own study that protects me from copying.


“Watching the Waves” 6 x 8″, commissioned by the grandmother of this sweet boy. Learn about commissioning .


The grandmother, Diane Dunn, holding her new painting for her daughter-in-law’s birthday present. We were about to talk frames and matting in my home studio, Exeter, NH. Find out more about custom work.


This week I found a photo from Arthur Griffin’s photographic journey through New England and used his composition. I don’t typically paint from other’s photos (unless I’m doing a commission), but this scene reminded me of this week and some fav girlfriend time on walks. So, I changed some colors and created Catching Up”, 10 x 12″, $500.


Three new miniature landscapes, I painted this week. Clockwise from top, “Old Man in Autumn” ($49), “Swasey Park Oak” ($49), and on the left, “Swasey Park Sentinel” ($95). All from New Hampshire, 3 x 4″

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also enjoy...

Painting Outside: Why Do it? a real life plein air story

Every painting has a story, some scarier than others. The Unmarked White Van Warm enough to paint outside, …

Nubble Lighthouse Reflections watercolor painting with white lighthouse, blue water reflecting sky.
A New Adventure Sailing the World

The last five years, from the Rockies to the Atlantic Ocean, our family has inched closer to the …

"Beauty from Prickles" - Cactus with yellow bloom
Who Tells Your Story?

We can all remember certain stories that define us. When you think of your favorites stories growing up, …

Subscribe to Jonalyn’s blog

We respect your privacy.