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Check out John Dougan’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Dougan.

John, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Like many artists, I was creative at an early age, and while I drew most of my life, my access to formal training throughout my formative years was extremely limited. I found a lot of great information in Walter Foster books on drawing and even planned on one day being a commercial artist. Ultimately, however, life took me in other directions and it was not until the late eighties that I found myself in a watercolor workshop with the late Don O’Neil in Riverside, California. From that moment on, I was hooked and began taking “vacation” workshops from professional artists at Scottsdale Artist School and other venues.

Many of my favorite artists, whether painters in watercolor or other mediums have also written wonderful books that provide a wealth of education. I won’t go into the long list of artists here, but I am grateful for every skill they shared in those brief workshops and between the pages of those art books. They all taught me something and continue to do so. Now as a full-time artist and member of PAAR (formerly Plein Air Artists of Riverside, but now open to plein air and studio artists), I find each day a growth experience as I paint alongside other skilled artists and friends, study the fleeting light, and lay down watercolor washes that strive to capture that special moment.

Looking back at the erratic way I came about being an artist, it is a wonder that I succeeded. Certainly, I never imagined having paintings in homes worldwide, or being purchased to hang in Riverside City Hall, but it is an awesome feeling whenever someone is moved enough by my art to purchase it for a private or corporate collection.

We’d love to hear more about your art.
Probably the easiest way to describe my art is by using the broad term “representational.” I primarily work in watercolor, whether in the studio or en Plein air and find the world and its people and landscapes too wonderful to limit myself to any particular subject matter when painting. I love painting landscapes or elements of the landscape, wild and domestic animals (okay, maybe animals are my favorite subject), people and even occasional western scenes, the latter a result of growing up on westerns and some childhood years living in and around Tombstone, Arizona. And while I love creating work that will end up for sale in shows or on my website, I am equally as happy capturing a scene in a sketchbook. Maybe I am happier since the sketchbook is spontaneous and may or may not be seen by anyone. There is no pressure for perfection in the sketchbook.

My art is strongly influenced by years of travel and unforgettable adventures, and while I am taking life a little slower now, I still enjoy visiting new places, meeting people, and observing different scenery and wildlife. I like to think my art, in any format, captures “moments in time, place and experience,” and hope that others feel that moment or remember some special time in their lives as the painting stirs an emotion. I know there are some who tell me they are unable to travel and instead visit locations through my art and me. Whether a painting sells or not, I am humbled and honored to share in another person’s journey.

What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
I know there are many who make a living with their art and are even recognized around the world, which would certainly hold up to the term successful. Personally, I did not become a full-time artist until I was retired from a different career. That said, I painted and sold watercolors for more than twenty-five years before that retirement. I felt successful in that strangers, friends and peers alike found something in my work that moved them, whether they bought something or not. I also find personal satisfaction in effectively capturing a moment on watercolor paper or in one of the sketchbooks. Most of us do like to sell our art though and ultimately there is a lot of work required in continuing to develop skills, market work effectively and maintain communications with collectors and others interested in our art. If skills and motivation are in line, it will come together.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I am in the Members Exhibit at the Riverside Art Museum annually, and I have works hanging at the monthly Riverside Community Arts Association (RCAA) exhibits on Lemon Street. As an artist, I also like to share what is going on in my art world. I currently offer thoughts on painting, sketchbooks and materials on my Facebook artist site, and I encourage other artists and even collectors to “Like” and “Follow” me there at collectors, originals of my artwork are available on my website at www.jjdougan.comMy artwork is also available as prints, coffee cups and in other cool formats at
Email me at

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ann Dougan

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1 Comment

  1. Patricia A. Kearney

    October 1, 2019 at 16:38

    You are an amazing artist and I am so proud to call you cousin. God bless you in all your endeavors – am anxiously awaiting one of the bear cubs playing in the water. Love you, Patsy

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