December 30, 2020
Designer Details

Austin Artist Kelly Colchin Talks Watercolor, Technique & Inspiration

Inspired by nature and all things vintage, Austin-based artist Kelly Colchin first learned the art of watercolor from her painter grandparents, and her passion grew from there. A former art director in the field of advertising, she considers her work semi-autobiographical, with each piece reflecting past and present life experiences as if filtering her memories through the medium of art. Read on to learn more about the talented Texas artist and her creative process.

Austin Artist Kelly Colchin


Four Hands: What do you consider to be the main sources of inspiration driving your art?

Kelly Colchin: I am inspired by nature and the simple details of daily life. To me, nature is the ultimate artistic guide. The perfect pigment, line and curve, the most primitive shape and the most intricate pattern, it’s all there if you can tune in to it. 


Art by Kelly Colchin


FH: Can you speak to your watercolor technique? Is there something you always tackle first, for example? 

KC: Every piece is different, but when I am approaching a larger, more involved watercolor painting I usually do some light pencil sketching until I get the basic shapes down. Then, I mix my colors and start painting. I also love the experience of putting brush right to paper and being a little bit looser and quicker with the process… There can be lots of happy accidents if you just go for it! 


Kelly Colchin Painting Watercolor in Studio


FH: What attracted you to watercolor as your main technique?

KC: I learned how to watercolor from my maternal grandmother who was also an artist. Watercolor is so beautiful and spontaneous. I like experimenting with other mediums as well, but watercolor will always be my first love.


FH: You refer to your pieces as being semi-autobiographical. How so?

KC: I love to travel, and I think of my paintings as personal postcards from the past. I try to capture a memory not as it was, but for how it made me feel. The open road, the color of the light, the feeling of the sand, the sound of my kids playing… With the [COVID-19] pandemic, I obviously haven’t been traveling as much as I’d like to, so meanwhile, these paintings hanging in my house make me happy and do a good job of transporting me to another place.

I also do a lot of graphic, illustrative, commissioned work in my regular life. But in my dreams, I am a landscape painter. There’s nothing more beautiful to me.

Follow along with Kelly at and @kellycolchin.

Photos by Mackenzie Smith Kelley & Megan Ambrose


Kelly Colchin in Watercolor Studio


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