in partnership
(Image courtesy of Noelle Curtis).

Artist of the Week: Noelle Curtis

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
I have been creating ever since I was little, but I began my current watercolor painting journey about six years ago. Once I immersed myself into watercolor, I branched out to acrylics, gouache, and occasionally colored pencils. Before this, I enjoyed drawing on and off and spent most of my creative time crocheting or needle felting. I like how watercolor is quick, convenient, produces less waste than other mediums, and has a mind of its own! Ninety percent of my art now is in watercolor, and the other ten percent is primarily gouache, a medium often described as a hybrid between watercolor and acrylics.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
Before I begin painting, I have to decide on the subject of my piece. Most of the time, I'll choose a reference image from my camera, or the internet, that inspires me. If I create my own composition, I'll compile several photos to roughly use as a reference and sketch out some thumbnails until I make one I like. My watercolor paintings begin with a minimal pencil sketch, and my paint is layered on from light to dark because watercolor is a transparent medium. The first layers of my watercolor paintings are going to be the lightest values, representing the highlights and the lightest colors in a shape, and it is important to plan this ahead of time. The final layers will be the darkest values, representing shadows.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
Most of the inspiration for my art comes from nature and the places I have been. Even if I haven't personally visited many of the places I paint, I always try to channel a mood or feeling that I've experienced in the past.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc?
I like creating art pieces related to nature since it's my largest source of inspiration, but that doesn't stop me from painting other subjects from time to time as well; it all depends on how I'm feeling!

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I don't believe there is one particular painting that stands out to me. The paintings that mean the most are the ones that were challenging to paint or resemble places I have been.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
My family likes to camp and travel around Washington and other states. From those travels, I feel drawn towards landscapes and nature because it reminds me of fond memories. Right now in my life, I am learning the importance of patience, so my art also reflects on how I want to feel, which is calm, tranquil, and nostalgic.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
A great place to find me is on my Instagram,, or my YouTube channel, Noelle Curtis Art.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I'm hoping to open up an online shop soon so I can start selling prints and share my art with others!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Believe it or not, I do not drink coffee! I'll take some tea or water instead.