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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Going with the Flow

Watercolor is an alchemical medium; colors join with water, expand, and move with it, creating new life where none had been before. It moves on the paper like performance art. Phoenix-born artist Andrea Merican began her creative journey at three, defined by a passion for line and bold color, with a box of colored chalk and a blackboard. Through the years, she gradually learned to dance with watercolor as a medium with graceful fluidity. Inspired by introspection, Andrea keeps her creative spirit open to new and ever-expanding means of expression.

Art classes at Shadow Mountain High School proved to be a turning point in Andrea's realization of what it meant to "be an artist.” She met her mentor, Tonja Sell, an amazing artist in the local community. Throughout her school years, Andrea’s goal was to be an artist. She earned a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design after graduating high school. She said, "I relocated to Denver, Colorado, after graduation, excited to be around other like-minded students pursuing their dreams in the arts.” However, life takes many twists and turns, and Andrea was unable to complete her art education in Denver. She returned home to Scottsdale and continued her training with local community colleges and Arizona State University (ASU). Even while working full-time to make ends meet, art was her continual focus and driving passion.

Eventually, Andrea began classes with professional artists at the Scottsdale Artists School. It was there she discovered her love of watercolor. Since Andrea’s initial class with Yvonne Joyner, she has been fortunate to study with Kim Johnson, Ted Nuttall, and Jeannie McGuire, each shaping her skills with individual techniques and skillful guidance. In 2011, Andrea decided to dedicate an entire year to learning the discipline of watercolor. During this period, she applied her determination, passion, and natural sense of color and design to develop her unique technique and signature style. Andrea’s commitment to her work grew into a 10-year non-stop pursuit of creating watercolor paintings and making art an essential part of her career. This commitment involved selling her pieces in different art shows, fairs, festivals, and galleries.

“Every subject is a chance to explore, express feelings, and share the vivid color, line, and shape of life around us."

During the past several years, Andrea revisited one of her first mediums, oil painting. She has expanded her work to include abstract paintings using oil paint and cold wax on wood panels. The new pieces have expanded her horizons, allowing Andrea to create contemporary art that is profoundly intuitive and meaningful. Andrea reflects on her creative path and states, "I have always been an entrepreneur and have discovered I am a multi-passionate business owner; along with being an artist, I am a real estate broker and a business coach." These pursuits may sound disconnected; however, they are intertwined. The common element holding the three together is Andrea's consideration of herself as a natural problem solver. "I love to come up with creative solutions regardless of the challenge."

Andrea works from her home studio in the area of Old Town Scottsdale. She and her husband, Paul, love to travel, and while doing so, she uses photography to capture the subjects she wishes to bring home to paint. Her most loved subjects are the human figure and desert botanicals, as well as abstract and non-representational artwork.

Andrea says, “Every subject is a chance to explore, express feelings, and share the vivid color, line, and shape of life around us."Her approach is not traditional, and that's what she loves about it; she calls her style 'Loose Realism.' Like Andrea's personality and goal-oriented work ethic, watercolor is a fast, decisive medium. She is a member of the Arizona Watercolor Association and participates in many shows and events throughout the year. In Andrea's world, becoming is not about arriving. It is about forward motion, evolving, refining, and continually moving toward a better version of self. A journey that doesn't end."

Photo Credit: Stephanie Ringleb

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