The Central Coast Watercolor Society (CCWS) was founded in 1976 for the purpose of furthering interest and appreciation in the watercolor medium.  It is an independent group of artists, collectors, teachers, students and anyone interested in watercolor and water media.  We are located on the beautiful central coast of California in San Luis Obispo County.  CCWS holds a general meeting each month at 6:30pm at the United Methodist Church, 1515 Fredericks Street, San Luis Obispo. All meetings are free and open to the public and routinely host guest artists, demonstrations, and lectures suitable for all levels.

The Social Time will start at 6:30 pm with the presentation to start at 7:00 pm.

The presentation will be by award-winning San Luis Obispo artist Mari O’Brien.   She will present and discuss her use of acrylic inks, India inks, water-soluble pigment powders, and other materials to create dynamic watermedia paintings.

Born and raised in Iowa, O’Brien’s interest in making iconoclastic art dates to her childhood, when at the age of ten she won a city-wide art contest by not following the rules.  However, she spent most of her adult life away from art, learning and teaching French and Comparative Literature, the field in which she holds a Ph.D.  Thirteen years ago she returned to art when the call to do so became impossible for her to resist.  She has been, and continues to be, a voracious reader of art books and a self-directed studier of and experimenter with a variety of techniques, although she credits mentors such as Mark Mehaffey, Christopher Schink, and Robert Burridge for much of her artistic development.

After painting realistically in watercolor for several years, O’Brien began to experiment with acrylic paints, mixed media, and collage, and these have become her preferred media.  The impetus for her paintings is primarily intuitive, adventurous, and experimental, resulting mostly in abstract or non-representational pieces.  She revels in creating paintings with multiple layers, resulting in a rich, complex tapestry, and most often prefers to let the subject emerge on its own from these layers.  For her, a successful painting feels balanced and evokes an emotional or spiritual response on the part of the viewer, even when no identifiable subject is depicted.O’Brien is a signature member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP), the Utah Watercolor Society (UWS), and the Central Coast Watercolor Society (CCWS).  Her work has been published in Merge IV, a publication of the Society of Layerists in Multi-Media and in the upcoming Acrylic Works 5: Bold Values¸ a North Light Books publication due out in May 2018. 

​​The Tuesday, August 29, 2017 meeting will start at 6:30 pm at The United Methodist Church at  1515 Fredericks St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. 

The meeting is not in the main church.


                     Central Coast Watercolor Society

      “Flame Dancer” by Mari O’Brien

 “Dreaming of a Good Drenching”

by Mari O’Brien