Stephen Zhang Watercolor Portraits: A Brush With Everyday Life

Loose, broad brushstrokes and fresh color add energy and import to Stephen Zhang’s watercolor sketches and watercolor portraits of common men and women in everyday pursuits. He combines transparent washes of vibrant, flowing color and rich, complex glazes. The result? A realistic depiction that retains a fresh, spontaneous quality.

“I’ve always been drawn to human figures for the stories they tell, the personalities they carry and the emotions they express,” Zhang says. “I grew up in China, among large families and social networks, and I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve seen people from all walks of life and in all stages of their lives struggling and persevering. I’ve witnessed the strength of people’s inner spirits and am empathetic to others’ challenges, efforts and triumphs. Aesthetically, I’m fascinated by the distinctive topography of human faces and hands. I believe exteriors reflect interiors.”

Learn more about Zhang and see more of his watercolor portraits in the December 2015 issue of Watercolor Artist, available in print or as a download at, and on newsstands October 20.
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Street Band (watercolor on paper) by Stephen Zhang

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Reflect 2 (watercolor on paper) by Stephen Zhang


Hoboken (watercolor on paper) by Stephen Zhang

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Reflect 3 (watercolor on paper) by Stephen Zhang

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