Native Austinite Avery Price captures the beauty of local spots in her watercolor paintings.
By Landry Allred, Photos of Avery Price by Courtney Cope, Watercolor pictures by Avery Price
From beloved coffee shops to local landmarks to lesser-known areas of Austin, Avery Price has considered painting scenes of nearly every corner of the city.
Price, an Austin native, has dreamed of being an artist since she was 3 years old. With an artsy mother who handcrafted Bible covers and painted birdhouses, she was consistently exposed to the art world.
“Growing up, I focused on the beauty of everything, always blown away by art,” Price remembers. “I just wanted to be in this world of creating and depict that beauty in my own work.”
After attending Texas Tech University to concentrate on oil painting, she married her high-school sweetheart and had her first baby. When the couple returned to Austin, she enrolled in the college of liberal arts at the University of Texas, hoping to transfer into the art school. But by the time she could transfer, she would have already been a senior, so she dropped out to pursue art on her own.
Now, Price paints freely. Each week, she peruses her list of Austin spots, choosing three to visit with a friend or her children. She looks for artistic potential, identifying “composition…corners, depth, placement of food or the mess of colors,” as well as good customer service. After caring for her kids in the mornings, Price paints in her home studio, producing multiple pieces each day based on the pictures she takes in person. Last year, she finished more than 150 paintings.
Coloring Austin, formerly known as Flea Market Funky, became her business’ official name in 2019, after she pivoted from painting a variety of subjects to focus on local spots. When someone wanted to buy her Hank’s Austin painting, she realized there was a market for it.
“I was able to shift my perspective from, ‘I need to paint stuff to sell,’ to, ‘I’m going to paint awesome places, so I don’t have to keep thinking up new things,’” Price says. “I saw a dramatic change in my enjoyment toward my paintings and how much fun I’m having.”
Through her work, she has become more involved in the community and can support small businesses. But Price says the element she cherishes most is meeting new people and hearing their stories.
“I did a hotel, and somebody bought it [saying,] ‘That’s where we’re staying on our wedding night,’” Price says. “People [are] adding their own stories to these places, and I love hearing that.”
Price never fully felt confident in her painting, though, until she painted the restaurant June’s All Day last summer as a commission piece. It became a career milestone.
“With artists, we feel imposter syndrome. I never want to introduce myself as a watercolor artist,” Price says. “But [after]that painting, I became more confident in what I do and how I am as an artist.”
In the future, Price hopes to expand her art to other cities, possibly creating a Coloring San Antonio or Coloring Dallas. With each piece, she’s able to find common ground between what brings her joy to paint and what customers will buy.
“Everybody loves to love Austin,” Price says. “It’s fun to get excited with people about certain places.”