Paintings by Watkins – Newfane, New York

Jeff Watkins, Artist

“In my opinion, art is human expression that communicates sincere emotion between people…”

When Jeff Watkins met, his now wife, Chris, at a Christian Camp, where they were employed, in the 70’s, the Art world gained two remarkable contributors. Both, essentially self-taught Artisans, Chris, a potter, stemming from her college days, and Jeff, formerly a freehand “pre-digital” sign painter. Both passionate about their work, and both very accomplished! “I’ve always been an artist, primarily working in oils…” Jeff cobbled his journey to becoming a popular sought-after WNY artist, by first simultaneously working for various sign painting companies beginning around 1971. His expertise in that arena prompted him to operate his own successful business in 1986, where he won particular acclaim for his freehand and tedious goldleaf signage.

Goldleaf under Glass


While Jeff has many watercolor pieces in his studio collection, he predominantly uses oils these days, particularly painting Plein-air. Quite literally painting outside. He describes Plein-air, or French for “open air”, as a once very popular form of impressionist period style painting, dating back to the mid 1800’s (although some plein-air work is actually recorded to have been done by a few artists in the 1700s). But it was the advent of oil paint in metal tubes in the 1800s that was the key to the growth of plein-air. “As contemporary artists moved into private studio spaces, Plein-air took a back seat until the 1980’s” when, says Jeff, “saw a resurgence again out West”. Today, it has once again regained popularity with a respectable membership in the Plein-air Painters of America.

Jeff’s love for the outdoors is vividly reflected in all his paintings. Since the late 80’s, he would pack up his easel, paints, watercolor paper, brushes, and devote hours capturing a unique perspective of a scene that inspired him. His transition from watercolor to oils was influenced, in part, by the ease in which oils have become more “user friendly” applying wet on wet. With the arrival of paint “dryers” and optional water-based oil paints, the intensity of his colors remain true and vibrant.

Jeff’s work can just as easily jump off the easel and appear on community murals, in Newfane and the Ulrich Development Building in Lockport. He has exhibited in the Birchfield-Penney Art Museum, Buffalo, as well as the Kenan Center, Lockport, to name a few.

Both Jeff, and wife Chris, enjoy their own studio space, in their Ridge Road home, to pursue their passions.

Jeff continues to share his talents, giving demonstrations at numerous art associations, most recently the West Seneca Art Association and the Williamsville Art Society. He will be participating in Wilson-on-the-Lake Plein-Air Festival in late Summer – details to follow on Lake Ontario Living.

While no set studio hours, Jeff can be best contacted through his Facebook page, under Paintings by Watkins.

Paintings by Watkins