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Andrea Merican: Sharing the color, line and shape of life

Shea Stanfield~ 10/15/2014

SCOTTSDALE – The love and passion of a lifetime for drawing and painting began with, “Look mommy, it’s a duck!” as proclaimed by 3-year-old Andrea in 1979.  A chalkboard and a box of colored chalks set Phoenix born artist Andrea Merican off on a creative journey that has defines a lifelong passion for line and bold color design.

Attending Shadow Mountain High School proved to be a turning point in Andrea’s realization of what it meant to “be an artist.” She met her mentor Tonja Sell, an amazing artist in the local community. Andrea discovered the drawing and painting she had done as a child transformed into the sophisticated world of sweeping lines, bold color, and dancing compositions of oil painting and design.  Andrea earned a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and moved to Denver, Colo. after graduation. 

Not long after completing her studies in Colorado, Andrea returned to Scottsdale to continue her training at the Scottsdale Artist’s School. It was here, in 2011, while attending a watercolor class by Yvonne Joyner, that Andrea had an “ah-ha” moment.

Andrea remembers, “She taught us to allow watercolor to take on a life of its own…let it flow and transform.  At that moment I was hooked! I didn’t know watercolor could do THAT! I always thought of watercolor as so pale and passive.”  Andrea decided, at that point to devote a full year to only painting with watercolor. Using her determination, passion, and natural sense of color and design, Andrea has moved light-years ahead in developing her technique and signature style. Since Andrea’s initial class, she has been fortunate enough to study with Kim Johnson, Ted Nuttall, and Jeannie McGuire, each shaping her skills with their individual techniques and skillful guidance.

Andrea works from her home studio in the area of Old Town Scottsdale. Here, she shares her space with husband Paul and their dog Sammy.  She loves to travel and while doing so makes good use of photography to capture the subjects she wishes to bring home to paint. Her most-loved subjects are desert botanicals for their complexity, animals for their noble spirits, and people for the essence of their individual styles.

According to Andrea, “Each and every subject is a chance to play, express feelings and share the vivid color, line and shape of life around us.”  Her approach is not traditional and that’s what she loves about it…she calls it Loose Realism.

Watercolor is a fast, decisive medium, much like Andrea’s personality and goal oriented work ethic.  She participates in a number of shows and events throughout the year. See her work on Oct. 16 in the AZ Watercolor Association Fall Show in Peoria; Nov. 1 at the opening night of the Hidden in the Hills Showcase, Desert Foothills Library; and Nov.21-23 and 28-30 during the Hidden In The Hills Studio Tour. 

Andrea accepts commissions for portraits locally, nationally, and internationally.  She enjoys working with her clients to transform a simple snapshot of a beloved person, pet, object, or place into a work of art that captures their memory forever.  To see an expanded selection of her watercolors and to contact Andrea Merican, visit her Web site at or

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield, at