Liquid Peonies: The Watercolor Paintings of William Suran

Demon-20,-2016_©_William_Suran Demon 20, 2016 | 18" x 24" | Watercolor | © William Suran

William Suran was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Currently working in watercolor, William specializes in hyper detailed paintings of photographs he takes of peony flowers under harsh lighting conditions. The paintings attempt to transcend botanical illustration and often take on the psychology of portraiture or the pathos of a last judgement painting.


Previously I worked on large format, multi year oil paintings until life’s circumstances no longer afforded me a large studio


Demon 15, 2015 | 12″ x 12″ | Watercolor | © William Suran


These paintings were multi figural, had many layers, and would often incorporate flowers in them

Demon 19, 2016 | 18″ x 18″ | Watercolor | © William Suran


Scaling down the size of my workspace to my home meant trying out a less toxic medium and a working on something in more of a wall appropriate size


Demon 18, 2015 | 16″ x 12″| Watercolor | © William Suran


That is what has led me to focus on working in watercolor and searching for all the complexities and various states of one subject, the peony flower


Demon 24, 2017 | 22″ x 30″ | Watercolor | © William Suran


In May and June I shoot a lot of photos of peonies (about 7,000 – 10,000 per year)


Demon 23, 2017 | 12″ x 16″ | Watercolor | © William Suran


The photo setups have become more and more dramatic with harsh lighting in a near dark room and over the years the addition of macro lenses, which capture great detail, have made my source material very rich

Demon 22, 2017 | 16″ x 12″  |  Watercolor | © William Suran


When starting a new painting I access this library of images and play with them in photoshop until I’m satisfied and begin painting


Demon 10, 2013 | 12″ x 16″  |  Watercolor | © William Suran


I’ll spend about a month working on a smaller painting, whereas the largest of them was about an eight month affair


Demon 9, 2013 | 16″ x 12″  |  Watercolor | © William Suran


This, for me, is much faster in achieving the gratification of a finished work as the large oil paintings would often take five to seven years