I had the pleasure of speaking with Annette McGuire about the captivatingly unique medium called “watercolour batik”. Annette told me that “I think it’s new to Europe in general so it’s exciting to see where it goes”.

Annette’s work is incredible and so detailed and this medium is something she has focused on over the years. Annette firstly told me how she became an artist, “I remember in first grade, we had to paint a cat for Halloween and after I painted it everyone gathered round my table and the light kind of went on and I knew this is what I’m good at. I grew up with sisters who took art and my mum was a writer and I was the youngest so it always seemed like there was not enough room for another artist in the family. I had my own family at a young age, so because I stayed home with my children, I did interior decorating and art projects.” When they moved as a family, she said that was a real turning point for her and she decided “I’m an artist and I am going to start being an artist. When you know that’s your passion, it always comes back. It creeps in no matter what you do”.

Annette McGuire has always been an explorer of art and creativity. As the youngest growing up in Lincoln Nebraska, in a family of writers, poets, artists and photographers, Annette has enjoyed living 35 plus years in the State of Colorado. Annette first visited Portugal in 2019 but in April of this year, they officially moved to Tavira which she told me is “very beautiful and I love the quaintness of the town and that there is plenty to do”, she also said that “I don’t like winter, which they got plenty of in Colorado so the Algarve was perfect for us.”

Annette McGuire - Watercolour Batik works

Currently Annette is using watercolour batik, capturing bold colourful images of the extraordinary found in the ordinary. Contrast and intense colours pop from gardens and people she encounters. I asked her how she got into “watercolour batik” and she told me that “I am not a trained artist so I took a watercolour class in Colorado as I tend to be very precise and I wanted to loosen up a bit so I did watercolour batik and I took off from there.”

“It’s hard to do people with this medium, the nature of it makes it look a little cartoonish and if you look at other pieces of work, what sets me apart in this medium is being able control it and make it detailed. The paper is so absorbent, you have to just allow it and every time I do it, you get layers of wax over your painting and you can’t tell what you’ve got and I think it’s not going to work and iron off all the wax and it’s a surprise! It is an enjoyable process, I think that’s the addiction to it, and it is much less controlled which is good for me.” In terms of who she is influenced by she told me that “Vincent Van Gogh is the love of my art life so he is definitely the biggest inspiration. I have that one chair painting, which I dedicated to him.” Annette paints for herself and what she enjoys and she told me she enjoys “things with lots of colours, flowers, people, fish, still life.” “I take photos everywhere I go and if something strikes me I will develop it at home.”

Annette worked for a company in Colorado that helped adults with developmental disabilities, they did employment and general skills, she ran the art room there and taught them how to make paper out of recycled paper and made and sold greeting cards. Additionally, Annette has done numerous exhibitions in Colorado. “I really enjoy them, we had national and international watercolour societies which would have watercolour competitions and you would be juried into the shows and it is an honour to be chosen as it is open to anyone. You pay an entry fee per painting and there is a pool of jurors who are famous for their watercolours. Typically the juror will hold a workshop and teach their technique and judge the show and hand out awards.” “I am always over the moon to be included in those and it is quite an honour and a surprise when I get awards.” Although she has only moved over recently, Annette is keen to explore the art scene here and would love to sell her paintings and to do exhibitions here in Portugal.

If you would like to buy any of Annette McGuire’s art work or if you are able to provide any information as to where she can obtain remnant rolls, I know it would most appreciated so please kindly get in touch via email annettemcguire@gmail.com


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes