Joanna is available to teach workshops locally and nationally. Please e-mail her at if your organization or institution would like to host a workshop.


Luminous Portraits

Learn how to build layers of warm and cool washes over a preliminary drawing to create naturalistic skin tones and build the illusion of three dimensional form, creating lively and expressive portrait paintings in watercolor. This workshop will include step by step demonstrations and the opportunity to work on personally directed pieces with assistance and critique. Students will work from personal photo reference. Suitable for all levels, basic watercolor and drawing skills recommended.

Longer versions or variations of this workshop may include:

-Working from a live model

-Integrating experimental techniques into portrait painting, creating tension and balance between areas of realism and abstraction.

From one 5-6 hour day to four days. 1-3 hour portrait painting demonstration also available.

 Drawing the Belly Dancer

Learn and practice fundamental life drawing skills while working with a costumed belly dance model. The grace of the dancer and the varied textures of flowing and sparkling costume will add an additional dimension to a variety of quick exercises and sustained observation. You will also enjoy a short dance performance from the professional dancer model and a brief education in the history and culture of belly dance. Suitable for all levels. May also integrate watercolor life painting technique for students comfortable with life drawing fundamentals.

3 hours. Limited to MD/DC/PA/DE region, may be dependent on model availability.

 Plein Air in Watercolor

1-3 hour demonstration and Q&A of Joanna’s approach to plein air painting in watercolor.

A Crash Course in Watercolor

For artists new to the media of watercolor, this workshop is a brief overview of fundamental techniques and philosophy, at an exciting speed!

From one 5-6 hour day to four days.


Joanna Barnum is a Harford County, Maryland based fine artist and illustrator working in watercolor. Her approach to watercolor embraces the fluidity and expressive potential of the medium while emphasizing careful observation of color, light, and form. As an instructor, she believes in fostering the unique voice of each student, teaching concepts and techniques that may be personalized to each individual’s interests and needs. She encourages students to banish fear and reticence with fluid media and to appreciate its unpredictable qualities. She has taught programs and classes for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Carroll Community College, Towson Arts Collective, and the Baltimore Watercolor Society.

Joanna has painted hundreds of portraits for clients around the world, and her illustration work has received recognition from American Illustration and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. She is a Signature Member and Newsletter Editor of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, is an accredited member of the Maryland Society of Portrait Painters, and holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has competed and placed in juried plein air painting competitions and exhibitions, including Harford Plein Air, Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association’s “Cityscape”, Easels in Frederick, Paint Annapolis, Mountain Maryland, and Paint It! Ellicott City. She was recently selected as part of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Artist Project and was the May 2016 artist in residence at Catoctin Mountain National park.