The Watercolors of Chris Weiermiller

The Watercolors of Chris Weiermiller


My earliest memories are of family trips to Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods, and Point Reyes National Seashore. It was in these Northern California sanctuaries that I was first inspired to create, paint, and appreciate the natural beauty around me through an artistic lens. I pursued my passion at Albion College, in Michigan, where I began with oil painting and then broadened my interests to printmaking and sculpture. After graduation, I returned to Northern California, the site of my childhood inspiration, to further my artistic studies. I trained under working professionals and fellow artists at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and I received a Master of Fine Arts Illustration in 2006.

I prefer to work in ink and watercolor because both mediums contain a certain immediacy that excites and challenges me. Putting ink to paper is a freeing and fluid experience. I find joy in not knowing where certain lines and splashes of color will take me. Using the brush allows me to get the right result for the right emotion. The brush can be declarative for scenes of intense emotion, or it can be fluid and airy for lighter moments. In terms of process, I often start by drawing a light sketch on watercolor paper to construct the painting. From there, I apply a waterproof ink. In this stage, I can manipulate the ink in a way that best serves each individual piece. After letting the ink settle, I use traditional watercolor techniques to finish the piece. The color is applied in several layers to achieve as dark and rich a pigment as I can for watercolor. After the painting has dried, I apply a gloss that makes the painting shine.
Stylistically, my art is a healthy combination of the clean look of M.C. Escher blended with Comic Art and Japanese Woodcuts. The moody ink washes of Francisco Goya are so powerful and intense that they opened my eyes to how limitless a brush and pen can be. On the other end of the spectrum, I am heavily influenced by the paintings of the Fauvists. I was taken aback by the blinding, rich tones in Matisse's Red Room. The almost decorative style has heavily influenced how I paint.

The paintings I have included here predominantly display the incredible range of natural wonders found in Northern California, with a few exceptions. The geography of the region varies widely, from the rugged foothills of Kings Canyon to the majestic Redwood Trees of Muir Woods. The rocks of Yosemite and the gnarled Ghost Trees of Monterrey are perfectly suited for the rough, masculine feel black ink can provide. When painting these majestic scenes, or the animals that inhabit them, I feel like I am an active part of nature, rather than a disconnected observer.

Returning to Michigan, I have found new places of natural beauty that challenge and astound me, forcing me to look at the world differently and evolve as an artist. The varied landscapes of Michigan, like those of Northern California, serve as perfect inspiration. In the words of John Muir, nature’s sources never fail—in them, unity and creativity are alive and familiar.

Watercolors of Yosemite

The Wonders of Nature

Chris' Birds and Other Wildlife