Hi, my name is Reham Moniem Ali and I’m from Egypt (follow me on my Instagram!). I’ve been painting since I was a little kid. My mom has played a very vital role. I loved art so she used to buy me all the art supplies I wanted, even the pricey ones. Let me say, I was very spoiled in that matter and everyone in my family knew I was obsessed with art. So from the very beginning, I knew what I wanted to be and what kind of school or college I wanted to join.
I’m very lucky (and blessed) to have a supportive family and friends who encouraged me from a very young age. Now, I’m teaching interior architecture at the university so painting, drawing and many forms of art play a large part in my work. It gave me an amazing opportunity to try a lot of media such as gouache, acrylic, charcoal, etc. Ironically, I tried everything BUT watercolor until 2015. It was the first time I took this media seriously!
When in doubt sketch your tools…
When I sketch my art supplies it’s not just for breaking the block, it’s like a mini diary of what I used during this time and what I added to improve my technique.
So, why watercolor at this time? First, I wanted a fast medium that suits journaling and sketching. Second, I found it matches my style. I really love to mix between loose splashes of colors and a certain amount of details. Especially when I sketch cities or active places.
My first set of watercolors and my first baby. Nothing compared to this one in my heart, except professional watercolors, of course.
One of my early sketches trying to catch the reflection of light and the transparency of the leaves.
Between 2007 and 2015, I nearly stopped doing any form of art except my work. So when I started drawing again, I used my sketchbook to paint or draw literally ANYTHING. I thought, “all I wanna do is find a way back into ART.” Then, I begin to use sketches as a creative way to prepare my lectures in my journal.
Next, I added urban sketching as a new-found passion. That’s why you find a lot of architecture and still life in my watercolor sketches. Trying to mix ink and watercolor in a wet-on-wet technique in a way that gives an expressive touch to my work .
The sketches above are very dear to me as they are places in my home town of Alexandria. As you can see in this city, you can find all architectural styles from European to Islamic to modernism. This richness inspires me a lot and is reflected in my work.
Now I sketch almost everyday. And every time I finish a sketchbook, I feel very excited to start the next. And each time I enter an art supply store, I still feel the same thrill and happiness of the little girl whose mum took her to Toys R Us. Sometimes in art, all you need is to enjoy what you do.
Reham Moniem Ali