Featured Artist Elaine Nunnally

Elaine Nunnally’s impressionistic watercolors elevate images of roads and highways into dynamic, colorful scenes. Enjoy more of her paintings by visiting her website.


“S Curve in Purple” Image of an S curve on a highway in shades of purple, watercolor painting by Elaine Nunnally

“S Curve in Purple” Watercolor, 30” x 22”


Art feeds my soul. I’ve been painting and creating artwork for as long as I can remember.


“Ghost Rider” Behind the wheel highway scene in light blues with motorcyclist, watercolor painting by Elaine Nunnally

“Ghost Rider” Watercolor, 22” x 30”


Watercolor is now my primary medium, but I used to be an oil painter. Once I took a watercolor workshop, I was hooked and haven’t looked back. That was over thirty years ago and I still find the diversity, spontaneity and luminosity of watercolors to be intoxicating! I had a forty-year career teaching high school art, which I loved. I am now able to devote my time to painting, which is my first love.


“Driving Through Tysons” Highway at night while driving through Tysons Corner from behind the wheel, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Driving Through Tysons” Watercolor, 22” x 15”


Although I learned traditional methods of transparent watercolor in the beginning, I have been inspired by the many non-traditional methods being used by today’s great watercolorists.


“Comin’ Around the Mountain in Orange” Behind the wheel view of a beautiful curving highway and hills, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Comin’ Around the Mountain in Orange” Watercolor, 22” x 15”


I paint with heavy applications of pigment on paper and I blend pigments together using a stiff brush. It hearkens back to my acrylic and oil painting days, and I often throw in some gouache and acrylic for texture and opacity. I can change my mind at any time and wipe off an area with a wet sponge.


“Barreling Down the Wet Pavement” Behind the wheel view of driving in rush hour on a highway lined with work zone barrels, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Barreling Down the Wet Pavement” Watercolor, 22” x 15”


I never know exactly what my paintings will look like until I’m done, or actually, until the painting tells me that I’m done! It’s a constant dance between the painting and me. The creative energy I feel when I am painting is almost magic.


“Driving Into the City” Behind the wheel view of driving on a highway into a large city, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Driving Into the City” Watercolor, 22” x 15”


For the past twelve years, I have been working on a series that depicts highways and interstates. Sometimes I refer to these as Odes to Eisenhower, since it was President Eisenhower who established the interstate highway system in the United States.


“Wide Load in the Mist” Behind the wheel view of coming up on a semi with a wide load on a misty, wet highway, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Wide Load in the Mist” Watercolor, 30” x 22”


I was originally inspired by the long trips I took on Interstate 81 every day to attend a watercolor workshop. It was required of each participant that they develop a theme to use for the week. The views that we see behind the wheel of our cars began to appear to me as great designs for artistic creations.


“Long Road Home” Behind the wheel view of driving home at night, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Long Road Home” Watercolor, 15” x 22”


All the design elements and principles are there—curving and straight lines, colors, textures, positive and negative shapes, direction and movement, vanishing points, etc.


“Orange Highway” Behind the wheel view of driving on sunset reflected wet pavement, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“Orange Highway” Watercolor, 15” x 22”


“Orange Highway” is representative of the impressionism and abstraction that I’m trying to achieve in my work. I’ve become obsessed with highways and am constantly on the lookout for different landscapes, times of the day, or different weather conditions that impact our view from behind the wheel. We are all familiar with driving along a highway and seeing flashes of colors and shapes whiz by at 65 miles an hour!


“The Reds Have It” Abstract behind the wheel view of a blue highway with blurred red vehicles, watercolor by Elaine Nunnally

“The Reds Have It” Watercolor, 30” x 22”


I’ve been fortunate enough to have my paintings juried into many national and international watercolor exhibitions. I am a signature member of several watercolor societies including the American Watercolor Society.


Artist Elaine Nunnally invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


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  1. james Harris says

    i have a painting by carrie nunnally jacksonville texas curious to see if your related

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