A Surprising Path: How Dan Marshall Discovered His Love For Watercolor - Creative Catalyst Productions

A Surprising Path: How Dan Marshall Discovered His Love For Watercolor

February 03, 2020 2 min read

If you see Dan Marshall paint, you may notice something: his tattoos. In fact, this Signature member of the American Watercolor Society began a first career as a successful tattoo artist.

But he began to feel burned out. He realized he needed a change. He turned to watercolor because the portability of the medium appealed to him.

“I became instantly and completely obsessed,” says Dan. “And that obsession has lead me to a second career in painting.”

But looking at Dan’s award-winning paintings, the start wasn’t as easy as you might think.



“Like many people who start painting in watercolor, I thought it was going to be the easiest thing to do,” says Dan. “I thought I could just roll right into the medium, and be able to start no problem.”

Dan, after all, had had a whole career as an artist, and he had invested hundreds (if not thousands) of hours into his drawing ability.


“What I found is that I created paintings that looked like a 5-year-old did them,” says Dan.

He quickly realized the problem: He didn’t have the proper technique.

“There was just a lot more to the medium than I ever would have imagined.”


Dan's love for the medium has only grown. He has experienced first hand the possibilities of a medium fueled by water. He also knows, first hand, that if no one ever shows you how to approach it properly, you’ll experience years of frustration.

“Most of watercolor painting is completely intuitive and there’s a lot of things that happen that are really just kind of common sense,” says Dan. “But if you’re not shown these things it will delay your progress in painting.”


Dan's commitment to watercolor is simple (but not necessarily easy): study hard and paint all the time. For Dan, that means he’s outside painting most days of the year, rain or shine. And there’s a lot of rain.

He encourages students to spend their time indoor improving their fundamental (like the kind he shows in his video workshop) and then get outdoors to learn about color, light, and tone first hand. 

Dan Marshall's video workshopCityscapes in Watercolor: Capturing Mood & Atmsophere is currently available in the CCP shop. Learn more here


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