The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


May 16, 2012

Using water to paint the world

GREENVILLE — Walt Davis has always felt an affinity with nature and uses that rapport in the creation of his art.

Walt’s favorite medium is watercolor and most recently one of his works, in which three insects are the focal point, was selected to be a part of the American Watercolor Society’s highly competitive 145th annual exhibition in New York April 3-22. at the Salmagundi Club on Fifth Avenue.

More than 1,200 watercolorists from the United States and abroad entered one work each for consideration with 140 making the final cut.

“When I stepped back to look at the painting I chose to enter I thought, ‘Who did that?’” said Davis. “I guess I couldn’t believe I had done that and when I found out it was selected ... what a high!”

Davis’ work depicted four insects — a praying mantis, a katydid, a wasp and a tiger beetle —  in striking detail using watercolors in natural, earthy tones. Davis found these insects around his tree-shrouded property just outside of Commerce and meticulously studied them under a microscope he was gifted by his wife, Isabel.

Davis’ fascination with nature was something he developed early in his youth growing up in the Texas panhandle.

“When I was in grade school, Saturday mornings I would hide a piece of chocolate under my bed with a canteen of water, a pair of binoculars and a bird identification book, and before anyone else was up I was out,” said Davis. “I’ve been looking very closely at nature for a very long time and that’s what fuels my art.”

Davis sketches out his work before applying watercolors to it. He uses a drawing table that has a light inside so that he can see the lines and where the shapes should take place.

“A lot of drawings have been made on my table, both mine and my students,” he said. “It definitely gets a lot of use.”

Davis teaches beginning and intermediate watercolor classes. Classes will begin in September with Beginning Watercolor to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Intermediate Watercolor will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays.

For more information on cost and supplies, along with a synopsis and examples of students’ work visit Davis’ Web site at

“I’ve been teaching here for six years, though everywhere I’ve lived I’ve taught,” said Davis. “I love to teach.”

Davis began his teaching through Eastfield College, followed by Amarillo College, finally ending up teaching out of his own studio adjacent to his home just outside of Commerce.

Davis’ medium is watercolor, so that’s the majority of what he teaches, though sketch work does come into play.

“I told myself years ago I’d learn to do watercolor and then I’d take up something else,” said Davis. “I’m still learning and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Davis has been painting for 30 years with no signs of slowing down.

In addition to his work with watercolors, Davis’ passion for nature led him to the Dallas Museum of Natural History where, for many years, he produced wildlife dioramas and worked closely with muralist Olin Travis and Granville Bruce.

He started as an intern in 1964 and was hired on right out of college, began working there during the summers while still in high school and got hired on permanently right out of college.

Davis attended Tyler Junior College where he earned an associate of arts degree, followed by a bachelor of arts degree with a major in zoology and a minor in geology from the University of Texas. He later went on to earn a master of science degree in wildlife science from Texas A&M University-College Station.

All of this was done while Davis worked in the Dallas Museum of Natural History, now the Museum of Nature and Science.  Davis spent 28 years at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, where he did field work, collected specimens for the collection, designed and built exhibits, and planned and led field trips to many locations in Texas. He was Assistant Director for Long-Range Planning and was instrumental in getting the Ramses the Great exhibit to come to Dallas in 1989, serving as project director for the exhibit. In 1992 he became the Director of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.  He retired in 2004, though he still served as a museum consultant until 2009.

Davis and his wife, Isabel are also members of the Texas Archeological Society and have participated in several digs, called field school which last for one full week, which were hot and messy, but infinitely interesting, according to Davis.

The pair also spent five years traveling the 4,000-mile border of Texas and writing about their experiences in the book they coauthored, “Exploring the Edges of Texas.”

Leaving pavement behind they hiked, canoed, and rafted into some of the most remote, unforgiving and spectacularly beautiful parts of the Lone Star State finally writing about their experiences, with Davis serving as writer and illustrator.

Text Only
  • Vaderrobot.jpg Dallas champions, Robowranglers look forward

    Practicing with the best hones skills and keeps members of Greenville High School Robowranglers on point, according to Director of Robotics Adrienne Emerson.
    The Robowranglers are preparing their robot “Vader” for the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis on April 23-26.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GMSVEX.jpg Gig-A-Bots win multiple trophies at nationals

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Merit.jpg This Lone Oak High School student has merit

     Gaston Luke Gilbert, a senior at Lone Oak High School, is the first student in the school’s history to be a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colt1.jpg Reaching the people of Morocco for Christ

    Most students use their summer break to unwind and relax.
    Others see it as an opportunity to do something more.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troy Dorsey.jpeg Dorsey, boxing greats to headline ‘Boxing With the Stars’

    On March 19, famous figures of the boxing world will all visit Texas A&M University-Commerce as part of the Boxing With the Stars event, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for A&M-Commerce students and local community members to meet and interact with some of the most important figures in boxing, both past, present and future.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3-2-14_Brunch_feature_.jpg Providing a helping hand

    A mailbox decorated with Wisconsin license plates reading “Feases” makes it pretty clear who owns the quaint little one-story house on Kathy Lynn Place in Quinlan.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do A Good Turn Daily

    March 10, 2014

  • Cokes Test 1.jpg Boxing greats to visit A&M-Commerce on March 19

    Curtis Cokes is a genuinely nice guy. Enter his gym in South Dallas, and he’ll greet you with a smile, a firm handshake, and one of his captivating stories, like the time he met Jackie Robinson during the Brooklyn Dodgers spring training camp in 1955.

    March 4, 2014 3 Photos

  • McCowan_Conrad_write_coloring_book.jpg Local coloring book salutes famous African-Americans

    Many of Hunt County’s historical African-Americans are celebrated in a coloring book published this month under the auspices of the Hunt County Historical Commission.

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Titleholders_strike_pose.jpg Taking up residency

    They may not currently live in Hunt County, but the two new titleholders say they want to spend as much time in the county where they will be considered residents.

    February 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads

Who should the Houston Texans take with the first pick of the 2014 National Football League draft?

Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
Central Florida QB Blake Bortles
Auburn OT Greg Robinson
Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack
Clemson WR Sammy Watkins
Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
     View Results
Must Read

See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide