Featured Artist Joy Makon

Joy Makon’s beautifully detailed watercolors are filled with light and color with a focus on compositional elements. To see more of her paintings, visit her website.


Polka Dots in the Sky

“Polka Dots in the Sky” Watercolor, 14” x 21”


As a dedicated observer of my surroundings, I’m always on the lookout for a subject to paint. When something stops me in my tracks, such as a jungle of antennas on a rooftop at sunset, I’ll document it carefully with several photographs and then explore it back in the studio as a watercolor. Even while composing the image in the camera’s viewfinder, I consider how shapes and color will translate onto the heavy Arches paper that I favor using.


Coney Island Mondays: The Sky Reflects

“Coney Island Mondays: The Sky Reflects” Watercolor, 21” x 16”


I’m selective about what I chose to paint. Not everything I shoot gets turned into a painting unless there’s some emotional connection to remind me of where I was, what I saw, how I felt.


Travelogue: Santorini 106

“Travelogue: Santorini 106” Watercolor, 14” x 21”


Shape-defining light, distinct shadows, beautiful color and strong compositional elements all appeal to me. Strategically placing a figure within a landscape or seascape adds interest. Most importantly, there’s always the sky. It’s often the deal breaker when it comes to settling on a particular subject.


Half Frozen

“Half Frozen” Watercolor and graphite, 21” x 10”


Since earning a BFA in 1976 from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art, I’ve enjoyed a successful career as a magazine art director and graphic designer. Craving new inspiration a few summers ago, I took a watercolor workshop at Pratt to learn something “hard” that was outside of my comfort zone. Little did I know how much I would fall in love with the medium. Additional classes and workshops confirmed this. In 2014, I scaled back the design practice to devote my time to making art.


Wave Hill South by Southwest

“Wave Hill South by Southwest” Watercolor and graphite, 14” x 21”


I only have myself to please now so I experiment more with composition and color. I strive to create nuanced painterly work that’s seen for its light-filled color and unique imagery.


Travelogue: The View from My Roof in Rome

“Travelogue: The View from My Roof in Rome” Watercolor, 18” x 18”


Before I begin painting, I will spend time—often several days—drawing minimal, yet accurate pencil guides on the paper, and then turn to the watercolor to explore its magic. Paintings can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to complete.


Après la Tempête de Neige

“Après la Tempête de Neige” Watercolor, 21” x 14”


With watercolor, I can paint the light I see by starting out with the paper as the brightest tone in the painting. I love to explore ambiguity in an image by using wide brushstrokes that have just enough shape and color to give the illusion of space and details. I prefer to work large and use a lot of water and pigment to create granulating oceans and skies and snow and grass—the beautifully textured paper never complains that it is too wet!


Toward Dog Beach

“Toward Dog Beach” Watercolor, 21” x 14”


To be immersed in painting and sharing it with others has stirred up a lot of creative juices for sure. Watercolor is neither hard to learn nor easy to use, but the work is rewarding and fun.


Moira's House

“Moira’s House” Watercolor, 18” x 18”


My challenge is to discover how to use this medium to create artwork that is emotionally moving and speaks of a memorable time and place.


Joy Makon invites you to follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.



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  1. Kemp Minifie says

    Joy, your watercolors are outstanding and so beautiful! I am very, very impressed.


  2. Wow – I loved it when you said, “The sky is the deal breaker!”
    Absolutely beautiful!

    • Hello Teri, thank you for your fun, encouraging take on the sky comment. I’ve been collecting sky images all summer and think I’ll do something with them at some point–maybe when it’s cold and grey and snowy.
      Best, Joy

  3. I’ll be showing work at two events:
    * October 17 and 18, Gowanus Open Studios @ Brooklyn Colony, 274 Fourth Avenue, Park Slope Brooklyn. More information at https://parkslopewindsorterraceartists.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/pswt-participates-in-gowanus-open-studios-2015/
    * November 7 and 8, my studio will be open as part of the Park Slope Windsor Terrace Artists Open Studio tour. Information at: https://parkslopewindsorterraceopenstudio2015.wordpress.com/
    and also, please check my website for updates: http://joymakon.wordpress.com

  4. Hope you will join me and visit my studio on November 7 and November 8 as part of the Open Studio Weekend in Brownstone Brooklyn’s Park Slope and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods. This free event has over 30 artists participating, and we are all located within walking distance of each other. A downloadable map, full listing of all artists and their open hours, is on our group website at: http://bit.ly/1LHZaNE

    Hope to see you if you’re in the NYC area on Saturday Nov. 7 or Sunday Nov. 8.

  5. My work will be on display at 440 Gallery in Brooklyn, NY http://440gallery.com/new-events/2016/2/18/new-members-show February 18–March 20. Opening Thursday, February 18, 6pm-9pm. Several of the featured paintings from Artsy Shark, plus others will be on display. Hope to see you if you’re in the NYC area!

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