Meet the Artist: David Rankin, David Rankin Watercolors

David Rankin
The phenomena of nature reflected in watercolor.

By Kelli Comer

Inspired by the light and design that nature provides, local artist David Rankin paints the world as he sees it in visually stunning detail.

“I perceive the world around me through a type of mental watercolor filter,” David explains. “I see a wet reflection on a street or the fractured glint of sunlight on water, on a peacock’s neck or on grasses in a field and I instantly try to visualize how I would recreate that effect on paper with the fewest possible strokes.”

Upon a closer look at David’s work, you will see what appears from a distance as complex detail. On closer inspection, you will see that the details and form are created from unique brushstrokes using the natural impressionistic roughness of the paper’s surface to create the illusion.

Anna's Hummingbird

David fell in love with watercolor in his teenage years, thanks to a book gifted by his mother, and his high school art teacher. “My teacher encouraged me to attend a ‘real art school’ rather than a college with an art program. She entered my paintings in competitions and helped me apply for scholarships.”

As a result, David attended the Cleveland Institute of Art on scholarship and graduated with honors in 1967. He enjoyed a successful career in notable businesses in the Cleveland area in the years that followed, including Marschalk Advertising Agency and American Greetings, as well helping to cofound the Light of Yoga Society in Cleveland.

David has enjoyed traveling frequently, especially to India, where he initiated a focus on the country’s birds and wildlife. David’s watercolors are featured in public and private collections, have been featured in more than 150 museum exhibitions, and are included in North Light’s series, “Splash: The Best of Watercolor” and “Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing.”

David is a distinguished signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, Artists for Conservation and the Ohio Watercolor Society. Additionally, he teaches watercolor workshops around the country, and is a proud member of the teaching team of the Susan K. Black Foundation.

David Rankin

“I’m constantly looking at the world around me and asking myself, ‘How would I paint that?’ notes David. “Watercolor is intensely personal to me. I love the cerebral process I go through as I try to envision how to recreate a visual effect of light and then find ways to replicate that phenomena of nature in watercolor.”

To reach David, call 216-780-5999 or email David’s website,, is currently under construction. Meanwhile, you can find him on Facebook @DavidRankinWatercolors.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment