A native of Nebraska, Watson earned his BFA and MFA from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he drew inspiration from American and European works in the permanent collection of the Sheldon Art Gallery, including such artists as Josef Albers, Fritz Glarner, Tony Smith, and Mark Rothko. He received an Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as the Distinguished Texas Artist Award from the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. His invitations to serve as a guest artist include Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Ohio State University, and Lehman College in New York City.
His work has been presented in eighteen solo exhibitions in Michigan, Texas, Illinois and Florida and in more than one hundred group exhibitions in the U.S.
A dozen public and corporate collections including the Veterans Administration Hospital, Wood (Milwaukee), Wisconsin, Standard Oil, Inc., Chicago, the Geometric and Madi Art Museum, Dallas and the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. hold his work. Watson has published one book and four exhibition catalogues. He has administered two college level art programs and was the founder and Director of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Watson was a consultant to the Art in Public Places program of the National Endowment for the Arts.
He taught college level courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in a variety of studio disciplines including drawing, painting, design and color. He also conducted seminars in art criticism and in professional practice for artists. Watson offered instruction in art criticism at universities in Peru and Mexico as well as in Budapest, Prague and Vienna.
Watson retired from teaching in 2012 to work full-time in his Fort Worth studio.