Fine Artist, Children's Book Illustrator & Author
"Dusk Dawn Dance" by Richard Jesse Watson, 5' x 5' acrylic on canvas
"Watson's exquisite color drawings radiate texture, feeling and mood." Chicago Sun Times
"His work is a process of thinking: an attempt at bringing two oppositions into play, efforts to balance and nod to the extremes on either end of an idea." Bainbridge Island Museum of Art
"He Was Dressed All in Fur" by Richard Jesse Watson
Acrylic on board 12" x 12"
The Night Before Christmas: illustrations from 21st Century Editions of the Poem
Museum of Arts & Sciences Daytona Beach • Florida
December 8th, 2018 thru February 24th, 2019
Come See Paintings from Richard Jesse Watson's edition of The Night Before Christmas in this festive exhibition
"Now Dasher" by Richard Jesse Watson
Acrylic on board 21" x 8"
No other text has been illustrated by picture-book artists as much as A Visit from Saint Nicholas or The Night Before Christmas, attributed to the theologian Clement Clarke Moore.
The poem was one of the first American children's books to be illustrated in color and the verses are some of the most recognized in the English language. It has inspired - and is still inspiring - generations of artists.
So, just in time for the holiday season,MOAS will present fifteen of the most non-traditional and exciting 21st century published versions of the illustrated poem by award-winning artists from abroad and the United States.
These artists work in a variety of media including cut-paper and mechanicals and their illustrations bring fresh ideas for setting, characters, plot details, and composition to this timeless classic.
The exhibition curator is Lyn Lacey, author and co-curator of "Sendak & Co.: Children's Book Illustrations Since Where the Wild Things Are" at the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, FL. Her writings about Night Before Christmas illustrations will be part of her upcoming book on 21st century illustrations.
"And Then in a Twinkling", Richard Jesse Watson
Acrylic on board, 12" x 12"
"He Spoke Not a Word" by Richard Jesse Watson
Acrylic on board 21" x 14.4"
"Sharing Their Journey" Watson's artwork for the 2019 Plant-A-Thon Tree Cards, which raise funds for local schools and promote salmon habitat restoration tree planting projects by local school children in Jefferson County, Washington.
Plant-A-Thon tree cards available for purchase through 2019.
"Have you ever wanted to climb into a picture?
I have. In fact, ever since I was the size of a fire hydrant I drew pictures I could play in. Pictures in which to wander far and wide, to go anywhere and do anything. Pictures were my own rocket ship to planets of unlimited imagination.
I still climb into my pictures when illustrating a book. This portmanteau world of children's literature is the jolliest combination of the written word and the painted picture--the perfect traveling bag for exploring the universe."
Watson first dipped his toe into the world of bookmaking at age five. As a "grown-up" he's been making books for thirty years. Several of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, Kirkus Review and Booklist starred reviews, People Magazine Best Children's Book of the Year, and Golden Kite Award for Best Illustrated Book.
Kirkus Review proclaims Watson's art, "exuberant".
"Richard Jesse Watson's Tom Thumb [paintings] will take your breath away." Connoisseur
Publishers Weekly "Watson's artwork achieves a startling blend of the ancient and the timeless."
"Richard Watson's use of egg tempera echoes the realism of Durer."
Los Angeles Times
"Watson's paintings from Tom Thumb are intricately detailed..."
The New York Times
"Heavenly Aroma" egg tempera with gold leaf on board, 30" x 43"
Published cover art from The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake
Watson's studio is a labrinth of projects and relics.
is like a dog rolling on his back in the grass.
It's about glory in the commonplace." Richard Jesse Watson