​   Not many places can claim the amazing variety of landscape choices

within 50 miles of Flagstaff, Arizona. I can choose to paint the aspen

forests of the San Francisco Peaks at 9,000’ to the floor of the Colorado Plateau and its ancient ruins at 5,000’. In between are the sunflower meadows of my town, mountain lakes and the red rock canyons

of Sedona. My watercolor landscapes have a bold style that reflects

this variety.

   I am an avid plein-air painter. Some of those paintings can stand

alone; others are material for studio work. Doing a painting on site

engages all the senses so that place becomes unforgettable to the

artist. I’m trying to convey that sense of time and place to the viewer.  I’m particularly fond of snow scenes – something we have plenty of in Flagstaff. Watercolors tend to freeze up, so these are not plein-air

pieces. Florals and still lifes offer a nice change of pace.

   My first career was as a Los Angeles area art director. I often

designed ads to use watercolor or pastel illustration and thought to

give fine art a try someday. That day arrived after we moved our

young family to Flagstaff. Ad design proved helpful in approaching

painting with an eye for composition and color. I was able to use layout

marker illustration skills (there were no computers then) for value


   I chose this challenging medium because of its spontaneity and

breadth of application. Great things often happen in a painting when

you let the paint be a partner in the process. There’s no shortage of

things to learn about watercolor so I attend professional workshops,

study magazines and on-line sources, participate in a critque

group and teach a beginner class.

Background and Affiliations

  • Former Los Angeles ad agency art director

  • Competitive plein-air artist

  • Award winning professional artist

  • Flagstaff resident since 1994

  • BFA from Northern Arizona University

  • Juried member Northern Arizona Watercolor Society

  • and its past president

  • Signature member Arizona Watercolor Association

  • Member Arizona Plein-Air Painters

  • Member Plein-Air Artists of Colorado

  • Member Plein-Air Painters of Northern Arizona

  • Member Artist Coalition of Flagstaff

Artists' Statement and Background

Recent & Past Accomplishments

• Boulder 2018 Invitational Plein -Air Festival

"Broken Rail Fence" won the 2nd place award in a very competitive field

Two of my paintings were accepted into this show. The work had to be from Arizona.

• Northern Arizona Watercolor Society

2018 Exhibition
    I am proud to announce that juror Sterling Edwards chose 2 of my paintings. "An Alley with Heart" got a special challenge category award.

• Northern Arizona Watercolor Society 2016 Members Spring Exhibition

I had 3 pieces accepted with one "South Fork Morning" receiving the Memorial Award.  Juror:  Mike Bailey


• Great experience at Victor Celebrates The Arts Plein-Air competition in Colorado. I sold 4 of 5 paintings displayed and won the Brush Rush event.

• Arizona Plein-Air Painters 2015 Annual Juried Show

Honorable Mention for "Mountain Foothills In Summer"

• Escalante 2014 Plein-Air Competition

Merit Award for "A Wash In Morning Light"

• Victor Celebrates The Arts 2014 Plein-Air Competition

2nd Place Professional Category for "Strong & Stormy" and the Poster Award for "Victor High Rise"


watercolor paintings

by Marsha S. Owen

"Snow Melt Cascade" 17" x 38" studio watercolor

Painting buddy in Southern Arizona

Paintings start with a value sketch design

   I'm taking the photo here of my friends setting up to paint one morning in Zion in early May. We caught a variety of weather and came home with some nice paintings

Painting in February at The Grand Canyon

Plein-air painting in Monument Valley


The 25th Annual Northern Arizona Watermedia Exhibition

March 1 - 18th,  10a.m. - 5 p.m.

Reception: March 14th, 5 - 8pm

location: The Sedona Arts Center Special Exhibition Gallery  - 15 Art Barn Rd. Sedona

I sumbmitted one piece and had it selected by juror Ken Hosmer.