Carolyn Heryford Watts: Paintings

October 7 – November 13, 2022
Thursday—Monday 12 to 5
Jeanette Best Gallery
701 Water Street, Port Townsend, Washington

Carolyn Heryford Watts: Paintings

Nature up close and personal


With inspiration from the natural world, from the microcosmic to the macrocosmic and everything in between, Carolyn Heryford Watts paints in a scale so large that it provides a kind of environment for viewers. Amoebas, pods, flowers, deserts, the cosmos—all are part of her repertoire of forms, which she monumentalizes so that we can see, up close and personal, the worlds that Carolyn portrays.

Carolyn is donating her portion of the proceeds of sales of her work from this exhibit to two organizations: Port Townsend’s Jumping Mouse Children’s Center (a nonprofit entity providing mental health services to children) and Perma-Atlas (a nonprofit entity working toward sustainable recovery of the Moroccan Atlas Mountain ecosystem.)

Artist Statement


  Before graduating from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1994, I worked twenty-five years as a clinical laboratory scientist behind a microscope. It was this experience that profoundly influenced my art. The reversal of scale and the internal light source of the microscope allowed for the transformation of ordinary and overlooked objects in nature to emerge into the world of abstraction.

An artists’ residency in Spain in the spring of 2004 and the oblique light of Almeria introduced the dimension of shadows into my work. Shadows mirror the object in ways that are precise and abstract depending upon the angle of the light as it hits the object. Psychologically, Jung refers to the shadow as the part of ourselves we would prefer to remain hidden from others and where we remain a mystery to ourselves.

From 2005 to 2019, I spent three to four months a year in Morocco, in Marrakech as well as traveling regularly through and over the High Atlas mountains and into the Sahara desert. The sands of the Sahara brought me back to the beach in front of my house in Port Townsend, and many hours of sketching, drawing, and painting. My work thus embraces both the sand and light of the Sahara and the beaches and mountains of the Pacific Northwest through the prism of reversal of scale and internal light.

My work is evocative because of the unexpected size, and full-bodied sensuality of the surfaces. I paint directly by hand, using gloves and my whole body.My intention is to create works of art that transform the microscopic to the macroscopic, highlighting and expanding on shapes, alternating light and shadow, and making what is not ordinarily seen or noticed--visible.