Laurin McCracken

My palette includes only paints manufactured by DANIEL SMITH. I have chosen to use DS watercolors for a number of specific reasons and they mostly revolve around the consistent quality of the product. When I open a tube of DANIEL SMITH watercolor I know that the color will be true to the last tube I used of that color. This allows me to continue to paint with confidence.

I have come to understand the constant testing and quality controls that go into the manufacturing of DANIEL SMITH watercolors. This means that every time I mix to DS colors together I am going to get a guaranteed, predictable result. As a realist painter this is very important to me.

Magnolia w Silver and Pearswatercolor by Laurin McCracken 16x24
Magnolia w Silver and Pears by Laurin McCracken 16×24

My palette is mostly made of up of the basic colors of the color wheel: yellows, blues, and reds. From these I can mix almost every color I need. However, because DANIEL SMITH makes such a wide range of colors, I can find a color that meets a special need. I paint a lot of older glass and there are specialty colors like Cobalt Turquoise that allow me to capture the color of that glass in a way that I would not be able to do otherwise. I also find a lot of rust in the still life objects I paint. Here, colors like Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Orange and Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet allow me to reproduce a range of rust colors and texture.

DANIEL SMITH watercolors are my paints of choice primarily because they are so rich in pigment. As a realist, I want rich colors that tell the exact story about the objects I am painting. DS watercolors do that better than any other paint on the market anywhere in the world. The comment I hear most often about my paintings are these two; “That looks like a photograph” and “that doesn’t look like watercolor”. Those are the result of attention to detail and being able to use quality paint like DANIEL SMITH watercolors.
Laurin McCracken AWS NWS
Jan 2016

rapes in Wire Bowl with Pears & Silver by Laurin McCracken
Grapes in Wire Bowl with Pears & Silver by Laurin McCracken

About Artist Laurin McCracken

Laurin McCracken is an architect who has put the skills learned over the years in drawing, photographing and observing to use as a watercolorist. He studied with Gwen Bragg at the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia and with Alain Gavin at the Art Institute in Chicago. He has paintings in corporate and private collections, including McGraw-Hill’s Corporate Collection and the Urban Land Institute. He also has photographs in the Graphics Arts Collection, Princeton University.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, he attended Auburn University and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University and a Masters in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University.

McCracken is an award-winning artist whose paintings have been exhibited in juried shows around the world including the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, California Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, Southern Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society.

Laurin Teaching in Chingdao, China
Laurin Teaching in Chingdao, China

His paintings have been included in multiple shows in China; Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolor Biennial Exhibition 2010 & 2012, the Beijing International Art Biennale 2010, 2012 and 2015, the Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial 2013 and 2015 and the Qingdao International Watercolour Salon, 2014.

His paintings have been included in international watercolor juried exhibitions, such as The World Watermedia Exposition, Thailand, Malaysian Watercolour International Exhibition and the Eau en Colours, “Masters of Watercolor” exhibition St. Petersburg, Russia, International Watercolour Biennial, Belgium, International Watercolor in Fabriano Exhibition in Fabriano, Italy.

He had two paintings accepted into the Beijing Biennial 2015, China’s top exhibition for all types of art. This is the third time he had been accepted in this show. There were 7 American artists admitted in 2015: 5 sculptors, one oil painter and once again, he was the only watercolorist. The National Art Museum of China purchased 9 of the 684 pieces of art for their permanent collection, including his painting- Stereopticon.

He is a signature member of more than a dozen watercolor societies including the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Southern Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, and Watercolor USA Honor Society. He is an Elected Member of the Allied Artists of America in their Watermedia Category.

His work has been published in many national and international magazines and books including: Watercolor, Watercolor Artist, Artist’s magazine, Drawing, American Artist, International Artist and Southwest Art. His work has been included in books such as Splash 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and in Strokes of Genius 2 & 3, Secrets of International Watercolor Masters, Volume #1 published in China and Masters of Realistic Imagery published in Germany.

His work is represented by the Greenberg Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM, Southside Gallery, Oxford, MS, and Cassidy Bayou Gallery, Sumner, MS

Laurin McCracken’s articles for DANIEL SMITH
Six Reasons: Nostalgic Realism
 Cherries, Silver & Chinese Porcelain
Travel Sketches with Laurin McCracken


Still Life with Tea by Laurin McCracken 20x26
Still Life with Tea by Laurin McCracken 20×26
Laurin McCracken Workshop
Laurin McCracken Workshop
ruit, Crystal & Chinese Procelain by Laurin McCracken 20 x 26
Fruit, Crystal & Chinese Procelain by Laurin McCracken 20 x 26
Three Magnolias with Silver by Laurin McCracken 20x26
Three Magnolias with Silver by Laurin McCracken 20×26
Bottles on Wooden Box by Laurin McCracken 15 x 10.5
Bottles on Wooden Box by Laurin McCracken 15 x 10.5