Expressive Watercolor Paintings Are Candid Snapshots of People Living in the Moment

Ineffable in-between moments are immortalized in the graceful paintings of Stephen Zhang. The Texas-based artist uses washes of delicate colors and swift brushstrokes to capture a variety of different people in the midst of living their lives. From serving food to dancing to giving haircuts, these intimate portrayals emphasize smaller occasions that are oft-forgotten.

Originally from China, Zhang relocated to the U.S. to complete an MFA in Communication Design at the University of North Texas, where he currently works as part of the faculty. While he is versed in a variety of mediums, he prefers watercolor as his material of choice. “I have a special connection with watercolor since it bridges Eastern and Western artistic traditions,” Zhang tells My Modern Met. “When I paint, I take advantage of contradictions inherent in the medium—between complexity and simplicity, controlling and letting go, external and internal, and permanent and temporary. My painting always starts with something that moves me, and then it begins to take on its own path.”

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