All the World is a Watercolor Canvas

June 2024
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
courtesy of Victoria Alger

Myrtle Beach artist Victoria Alger shares her evolutionary story in design

“Design theory is design theory, whether you’re painting on a piece of paper or designing plans to be physically implemented on the ground,” says watercolor artist Victoria Alger. “I already had the design background, so it was just about learning how to use the watercolor medium, and I never looked back. That’s basically how I’ve been going forward with it.”

Alger is explaining to me her transition from landscape designer to watercolor artist after 35 years in the landscape industry. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in landscape architecture and, over the next few decades, would work, along with her husband, for landscape architecture firms in Washington, D.C, Atlanta, and Myrtle Beach, where they moved their family in 1996.

One of Alger’s projects of note here at the beach was as a conceptual project designer for the Mr. Joe White Avenue redevelopment streetscape design that spanned from Business 17 to Ocean Boulevard, which was a catalyst for more landscape architects to redesign and improve future projects throughout downtown Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. But then, as we all know, the recession of 2008 overturned the economy and development industry, so Alger decided to refocus her career trajectory.

“With my background as an urban designer, I’ve painted and designed a lot of streetscape downtown spaces, which was very satisfying for many years for me,” she says, “but one of my dear loves has been to pick up a paintbrush and start painting in watercolor. It’s funny because I’ve never wanted to paint in any other medium. Some artists will say, ‘Well, I’m going to try acrylics or I’m going to try oils or pastels,’ but I zeroed in on watercolor.” 

Semi-retired at the time, Alger started taking watercolor classes at the OLLI program at Coastal Carolina University and studying the medium through local connections, which developed her passion for the art. She would go on to flourish in her new interest, participating in shows, workshops, and donating her work to fundraisers, like those for the Friends of Brookgreen Gardens and Myrtle Beach Art Museum Collectors’ Event.

Today, Alger’s artistic repertoire includes painting landscapes “en plein air,” collaborating on large, outdoor murals, or showcasing her handiwork in watercolor paintings of unique subjects from still life scenes to expressive

“There’s nothing really I won’t try,” she says. “I’m diverse in my interests, but I always try to paint things that are in a positive light, with portraits or landscapes filled with light and color. You’ll find that I am in the happy spectrum, put it that way. I have never really expressed sadness with any of my paintings. I feel a great compelling desire to paint things that are bringing out the better parts of life, scenery, and people. That’s very much a part of my life and what I paint.”

Earlier in the afternoon of our phone interview, Alger had dropped off her watercolor, Refuge at Hobcaw, which was selected to be a 2024 Competition Artist entry at the annual ArtFields, a major art competition in Lake City, South Carolina, that features 400-plus artists throughout the Southeast. Her first time making it into the field of competition at ArtFields was in 2015 for her watercolor, Ship Boats & Steel, a diptych of the Georgetown waterfront. 

Her watercolors have been sold regionally and internationally, and juried into additional exhibitions, such as the Waccamaw Arts & Crafts Guild, Georgetown County Watercolor Society, Alabama Watercolor Society, Louisiana Watercolor Society, and South Carolina Watercolor Society (SCWS), for which she now serves as the 2024 president, winning a number of awards along the way.

“I started submitting to the South Carolina Watercolor Society, and got in once,” says Alger. “You have to get in three times in order to become a signature member, which I did in 2016 and served as a committee member.”

That was the last year the annual SCWS exhibition was hosted by the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, and it was back in Alger’s stomping grounds in Myrtle Beach in April 2024. As part of Alger’s reign, she connects with watercolor societies statewide. In 2027, the SCWS, renowned nationwide, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Following each annual SCWS exhibition, about 30 works of watercolor art are selected to participate in the South Carolina Traveling Exhibition.

“Since 2027 will be a big year of celebration for our society, we will be planning more events during the year to help spread the word about the organization, giving members more opportunities to participate in events like paint-outs, mini workshops, plein air events and more,” says Alger. 

When she does not have a paintbrush in hand, Alger loves traveling to visit her children and grandchildren, boating, swimming, and volunteering. 

“Our family has always been involved with our coastal environment, and we love to be in the water,” she says. “I can’t think of any place we would rather be to retire.”

For more information and updates on the South Carolina Watercolor Society, visit