Golden resident Janet Nunn was five years old when she realized what she wanted to do for a living. She wanted to paint with watercolors.
“My grandmother was an art teacher, and all summer long we did art projects,” says Nunn.
“The first time I did watercolor was with one of those coloring books that you took a wet brush to, with the red dots. The water would activate the paint on the dots. I knew, I knew right then, I loved that and knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Photo: Watercolorist Janet Nunn painting Clear Creek in Golden
“In college, I wanted to try everything. My dad thought I should study architecture,” says Nunn. “Back then, architecture was drawing plates all day.” Which she did and had done in high school but was not getting to the place she wanted to go, so opted to move to the art department. “I couldn’t believe that you could take a class in drawing or painting and get a grade for it. This was like the easiest thing I had ever done!”
Nunn took business classes too, “I gotta learn how to make money,” says Nunn, so got her degree in business.
After college, Nunn started working for United Banks of Colorado in Denver to pay the bills, but continued taking art classes. And when she couldn’t find classes, she invited United Bank employees to her house on Wednesday nights to paint.
Nunn later went to work with husband Tip, who she met at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley (Tip Nunn’s Events, Inc.) but continued to do her artwork. She was with the business from 1985-2000. They sold their business in 2000. “I told Tip I get to do artwork all the time now,” says Nunn.
“Watercolor is fast and it’s efficient,” says Nunn. “When I paint, I can smell what the flowers smelled like. I can remember the coolness of the rocks.”
It was at that time she was asked to teach a painting class for a local community. So she continued her art and began her new career of teaching watercolor. She then moved to teaching watercolor classes at Foothills Art Center. During COVID, she figured out how to teach and explain things virtually on Zoom. People from all over the country, as well as New Zealand, logged in to take her classes.
Nunn recalls a student who had had major brain surgery who was really struggling. “One day, she just got it, she got the drawing, she got the painting, yes, she did it! That was very satisfying.”
Nunn is known for her watercolors of flowers and outdoor landscapes. “Being a painter always allows you to see differently,” says Nunn. “I love to look at the way the light hits something, the shadows that it creates, the textures. Then I ask myself, how can I paint that?”