My name is Anna Galea and I’m from Malta (follow me on Facebook and visit my website!). I’ve been painting for over thirty years, using charcoal, pastels, oils and acrylics – but my preferred medium is watercolour.

I have always been fascinated with watercolour. It has certain magical qualities no other painting medium can offer – nothing beats its translucency and immediacy. It offers an exciting, precarious balance between accidental and carefully-planned art.  The trick is to learn to ‘listen’ to the painting and react.  I find that when I accentuate and exaggerate what strikes me in what I’m painting – that’s when the magic takes over.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of white flower
“Watercolour painting is like a chess game – often you need to anticipate the next move.”

Basics first

As a student, I was advised not to take up art as a main subject because in those days it was hardly possible to work as a full-time artist – something I’ve always regretted. And I ended up working in an office.

Even so, I was always drawing and painting at every opportunity and eventually, I am glad I made the life-changing decision to take up painting seriously. I was fortunate enough to have the full backing of my husband and children.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of flowers and plants

I attended Art School as well as various painting workshops and the more I painted, the more I realized how important it was to keep on polishing my painting skills to be able to let go and ‘create’ my own art. I supplemented this with a Bachelors Degree in History of Art and Archaeology and a Masters Degree in Creativity and Innovation.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of men fishing - "Great Expectations"
“Great Expectations”

Breathing Spirit into my art

I find that another key factor in creating good art, is knowing the subject you are painting well, through and through: If you are painting a figure/portrait – get to know the person; if you are painting a flower – get to feel it, smell it, know more about it; if you are painting a landscape – walk around a bit and get the feel of the place… and so on.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of leaves

After many years perfecting watercolour skills, I have now developed a special relationship with the watercolour medium. I have learned to react to what it tells me and subconsciously exploit its translucency to create a type of art that no other medium can produce. I am now producing strong watercolour art as large as 150cm x 130cm (59in x  51in), figurative as well as abstracted. I feel this need to immerse myself into larger artwork – which is very unusual in watercolour – so the viewer is even more drawn into my world.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of water

I strongly believe in establishing a philosophical dialogue between my paintings and the viewer. I am an optimist. My art is a form of escape – from the violence and sadness constantly reported in the news, into the harmonious realm of vibrant transparent paintings of colour and light.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of flowers and leaves

I feel that an artist cannot remain static – we have to experiment, create and push boundaries. My art now harnesses the exciting powers of the watercolour medium to create translucent large abstractions. These compositions are derived from nature, challenged by my painting experiences in mountains, forests, deserts, gardens and the sea.

Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup Watercolor by Anna Galea of leaf

Exhibiting, Workshops and Events

I’ve had several solo exhibitions in my home country Malta, and I’ve also exhibited my works in Paris, Rome, Fabriano, Brussels, Tunis, Adelaide, Melbourne, and more recently in Dubai where I have been residing for the last three years or so.

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In Malta, I have a large studio/gallery and in Dubai, I am also conducting art workshops in Alserkal Avenue – the art hub in Dubai.

Doodlewash - Studio of Anna Galea
My Studio in Malta

Doodlewash - Portrait of Anna GaleaMy next major event is heading a painting holiday with ARTISTours in Croatia.

So, all in all, my art is not just an intimate means for personal expression – my art also creates opportunities for me to visit other countries, meet artist colleagues, make new friends, and absorb new experiences!

Anna Galea
The Joy of Plein-Air Workshop

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

25 replies on “GUEST DOODLEWASH: Breathing Spirit Into Your Art

  1. Who would think you could be stopped in your tracks by a painting of vegetables? I really love your painting of artichokes and bok choy (maybe it’s kohlrabi?). I’m not sure of the names but the beautiful deep tones got my attention.

    Also I appreciate your advice about accentuating and exaggerating what strikes you in a work — that is good advice to apply to craft work too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Textileranger! It’s kohlrabi, which is quite a common vegetable in Malta. The deep tones I achieve by laying several washes of pigment with a soft brush over the dried area (otherwise the underlying paint comes off and you end up with a muddy result)… it’s all about applying the right amount of pigment with the right amount of water at the right time. This might sound daunting but don’t be discouraged – comes easy with practice!
      About accentuating what strikes me…… before I start painting my subject, I study it, think about it, sketch it (even just one or two tiny 3-minute rough sketches) and then decide and reflect on what strikes me most. I then exaggerate what I relate to – sometimes by lighting it up, or by eliminating other irrelevant details, by making the dark shades darker, etc. I try to “un-think” conventional ways of interpreting a subject, free myself from the usual inhibitions, and take the plunge into making a composition of my own

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you do a fantastic job, and I appreciate you being so open and sharing about the techniques that make your work sing!
        And I have eaten kohlrabi, but when we get it here the leaves are all chopped off and only the bulb is sold, so I wasn’t sure. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to repeat the previous poster – your creations stopped me in my tracks. If I didn’t know I was looking at watercolor paintings, some of them would have me questioning if they were photographs. Your work is stunning and I look forward to seeing more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great watercolors and very intersting to read, Anna. I believe it must be pure magic to see your works in full size – the pictures shown here probably can only give a vague idea of it. Thanks for sharing here… I did already visit your website and found it very inspiring. Your ´abstractions ´ are my personal favorites there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anna, your art is stunning. I caught my breath at the painting of that first rose, and then each subsequent image gave me pause. I l love the way you use such vibrant colors and mix abstract and detailed images. Your story is wonderful. You’re quite an adventurer, both in art and in travel.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much Anna for sharing your beautiful Art and creativity! Your work is lovely and very inspiring! Is nice to know and see on your website your large scale watercolor paintings I am fascinated and I would love someday to try. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful beyond words. Your art work is very poetic. I am about to switch my 13 year career and take up art, which has always been my cherished dream. Your paintings are inspirational. Thank you for the information you have shared here on your painting technique and medium.

    Liked by 1 person

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