Award-winning watercolorist paints emotional scenes of life

Armendariz’s work can be seen at Blue Moon Gallery in Grayslake

"Pushcart Man" by Tony Armendariz

GRAYSLAKE – Though Tony Armendariz was surrounded by artists throughout his childhood, it wasn’t until high school that he began experimenting in the arts.

He was raised in a graphic arts family and always knew his future might head in that direction, but he also always kept his eyes open to new artistic opportunities and possibilities along the way. His eagerness to learn everything about the arts and find new challenges is what eventually led him to watercolor painting.

Armendariz, who lives and works in Palatine, graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where he studied under renowned watercolor instructor Irving Shapiro. From there, he started his corporate career as a graphic artist, doing everything from illustrating to web designing, but it was watercolor painting that would become his creative passion.

Armendariz’s inspiration comes from everyday scenes of human life. His compositions feature highly detailed faces, street scenes, home-life and architecture.

“Capturing the internal and external soul or authentic self of my subject matter is the best part about being an artist,” Armendariz said.

Meeting people from all over the world, especially Cuba, learning more and more about art history, experiencing new ways of life, and even just observing everyday people provides Armendariz with the fuel to create an extensive variety of subject matter with breathtaking detail.

“I want people to understand the stories that I paint and to find more and more enjoyment in the painting as they continue to look. Since I paint scenes of life, I am hoping the viewer can empathize with my subject matter and feel for their situation,” Armendariz said.

Armendariz is a signature member of many national artistic societies and served as the director of the Illinois Watercolor Society for 10 years. His award-winning work has been published in Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector and Watercolor Artists magazines. He has received national recognition for his paintings.

Some of Armendariz’s awards include the Best of Show/Purchase/People’s Choice at the 2021 VMRC 18th annual National Juried Art Exhibition, first place at the 2019 40th annual International Juried Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Best of Show at the 2018 42nd annual International Exhibition of the Northeast Watercolor Society and Outstanding Watercolor at the 2013 FASO Boldbrush Online Competition.

Armendariz is represented by the Blue Moon Gallery in Grayslake, 18620 Belvidere Road, where he shows his work at monthly exhibitions. The gallery is open to the public on weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. and during artist receptions on the fourth Saturday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m.

The next artist reception is Aug. 27. It also will feature live music and a food truck. Patrons can meet Armendariz and other artists represented by the gallery.

Armendariz’s work also can be seen at

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