Hi! My name is Ellie Moniz and I am a watercolor artist in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Follow me on Facebook and visit my website!). My love for the medium began twenty years ago, when I took my first (and only) watercolor class in college. Out of all of the fine art media I was exploring at that time as part of my degree, I chose to focus on watercolor out of necessity. It fit into my budget and I didn’t need a lot of space to paint – a small corner of my dorm room was just fine.
Over the years, ‘necessity’ turned into an absolute love affair with watercolor. To this day, I continue to learn new techniques with every painting.
One of the characteristics that excites me the most about watercolor is never being 100% certain how and where the paint will settle on the paper. I find the interaction between the water and the paint mesmerizing. It’s a medium that has a mind of its own.
With a lot of practice, I’ve learned to control my tools to an extent, but the end result of a painting is always a surprise. The unplanned ‘blooms’ that appear when painting wet-in-wet are so much fun to look at when they dry.
I’ve experimented with many brands of paints, synthetic and natural brushes, and just about every watercolor paper surface. My current favorite brand of paint is M. Graham. They are made with honey, which makes them smooth and easy to control and they have the most color concentration of any other paints I’ve used. I like painting with a lot of detail, so the brushes I most often use are: round, sizes 0 & 1. With that small size, Winsor Newton Series 7 (kolinsky sable) brushes are still affordable, and in my opinion the best to work with. I almost always use Arches 140lb. hot press paper.
Drawing and painting have always been a big part of my life. It’s how I make sense of the world around me. When I am feeling happy and grateful, I paint. When I am feeling unsure of the future, I paint. When I’m sad, I paint.
There is a story to each of my paintings, even if it’s a house portrait for a customer I don’t know – then I make up a story in my mind about their lives and who might look in and out of each of the windows I’m painting.
The story I am trying to make sense of now is my recent breast cancer diagnosis (at 39). I am about to start 4 months of chemotherapy and I am truly scared about how this will affect my life. I look forward to the days where this experience will be a distant memory, another moment in time – one in which I will be able to gather inspiration from being an artist, a wife and a mother.
For now, I am accepting that this is my story and I am so thankful that I have my art (and an amazing husband, kids, family, and friends!) to carry me through.