Today’s wonderful doodlewashes come from the skillful hand of Lindsay Baker in Sydney, Australia. (Be sure to follow him on Instagram and check out his website for more!) He says, “Until my 30’s I didn’t consider myself to have any artistic ability at all – as a computer programmer I’d come from a very ‘maths and sciences’ background and thought that was all I could do.”
One day while flicking around TV channels Lindsay happened across the TV show “Simply Painting with Frank Clarke” where he was showing how easy it was to paint watercolor landscapes. His interest was piqued and he wanted to try it, so he bought the supplies and painted landscapes in Frank’s style for a while, but then moved on to other hobbies.
“I didn’t start painting again until I was 40.” he says. “Since then I’ve painted every kind of subject using every kind of paint, and really enjoy the variety. I don’t have a favourite – I’m easily bored so sticking to one type of paint or subject is never going to happen!”
Having spent the happiest years of his childhood in the country, but now living in a city of 5 million people (Sydney, Australia), he was frustrated by having no opportunity to travel to “beautiful” places that he could paint. Then he discovered the “urban sketching” idea, and realized that “if you’re willing to really look, you can find beautiful, or at least interesting, subjects on just about any street.”
“It has really helped me to learn to like living in the city, and has given me a huge pool of potential paintings to create without having to venture far from home. I usually photograph subjects I’m interested in and then paint from the photos later.”
The other “really enjoyable thing” Lindsay got involved with is the “postcard art group” on Instagram. “It’s just a bunch of artists sending each other handmade (drawn, painted, collaged, etc.) postcards. No deadlines, no minimums, just painting and sharing for the fun of it. I’ve met some really great new friends (pity they’re in other countries!) and have a collection of original art I’d never have accumulated any other way. New members are always welcome, whether you’re on Instagram or not!”
For “doodlewash” type paintings that Lindsay plans to send to people, he takes a full sheet of 450gsm watercolor paper and cuts it up into 25 6×4” postcards, which leaves some offcuts that are good for testing colors on. He says it’s much cheaper to do this than to buy the pre-made watercolor postcards!
Lindsay usually starts by drawing large shapes with light pencil lines, just to establish the composition, then he’ll ink using Copic Multiliner pens (usually the 0.1). “For painting,” he says, “I have a full set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours – even though they’re ‘student’ grade I find them perfectly fine for this sort of work. I usually try to only use 5 or 6 colours in a single painting to keep it harmonious.”
After painting, he’ll often go back in and add more pen work where he feels some extra detail would be helpful. He also sometimes uses a white gel pen if he wants to add a highlight or accentuate an edge.
Once the paintings are finished and fully dry, he gives them a coat of “Matt Spray” which seals in the watercolor and prevents it from running if it gets wet. “I’ve sent these painted postcards all around the world,” he says, “and they travel just fine without needing any further protection. But recently I’ve been sending them in clear plastic sleeves because the post office has an annoying habit of stamping things on the painted side!”
Thanks so much for sharing your awesome doodlewashes, Lindsay, and giving us a glimpse inside your processes! Be sure to take a moment now to follow him on Instagram and check out his website! It’s fun to watch and see where Lindsay will take you next, and if you join the postcard art group, you just might also find a Postcard from Australia in your mailbox!