GUEST ARTIST: “Flowing Like Water, Dancing With Colours” by Ainara Martin

Train Tracks Watercolor Painting By Ainara Martin

My name is Ainara Martín, I was born and brought up in Barcelona. I have always been attracted to artistic activities, especially dancing, drawing and painting. When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time dancing. I started practicing rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 5. I trained after school and participated in school competitions.

I was passionate about it and, even at home, I was always moving and practicing the exercises. My parents became a bit crazy with me because we had not much space for me to move around all day long playing with the ribbon and hoop. As I was quite busy with this hobby during my childhood, I never paid much attention to paint, apart from some painting I did in school and random drawings at home.

At the age of 16, I had to give up gymnastics because of back problems. It was a hard time for me because I really loved gymnastics and I was forced to leave it. I tried to look for something “softer”. It was then that I started contemporary dance, which was very respectful with my body necessities. At the same time, I started to train kids in rhythmic gymnastics.

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

After high school, I studied for a degree to become a physical education teacher. I was not very convinced about these studies (as I didn’t enjoy all sports, my interest was around gymnastics, dance…), but I felt like I had to choose something and that is what I did. By this time, I was dancing in a Music Hall show in Barcelona.

Once I finished university, I started to work as a teacher in a primary school of my town. I was 21 years old and I felt like I was too young and wanted to do and learn a lot of things before accepting a full time job. However, I started to work in this school.

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

Years were passing very quickly and, after a career of 11 years teaching, I started to feel like something was missing inside of me. There came a stage where I felt constantly sad and demotivated in my day-to-day life. I did not know how to manage the situation and I was completely lost. One thing I was sure about was that I had to change something. I followed my instinct and quit my job. That gave me a great opportunity to listen to myself. It was not easy at all because I had to overcome my fears but I knew it was the right decision.

How I Started To Paint

My grandfather was passionate about painting. He was self-taught and loved to paint his birthplace and beloved Cordoba with oil paint. Sometimes when I went to his house, he gave me some charcoal so I could practice at home. When he passed away, my grandmother gave me some of his brushes and canvas which I keep with especial love.

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

Before leaving the school, an art teacher who was already retired gave me a plastic box and told me “I have to move and I cannot keep them anymore so I think you can take advantage of it”. It was a box with plenty of watercolour tubes! WOW, it was like a treasure for me, but I had no idea how to use them!

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

In some way, the universe was putting in my hands whatever I needed to start painting, so I could not ignore it! I enrolled in the art school of my town and there the teacher helped me to prepare my colour palette and gave my some tips about how to use the watercolour. I fell in love with this medium ever since I first tried it! I could notice little by little how my vital energy was growing and the idea of painting made me jump out of bed! It’s amazing the effect that painting has on me.

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

At first I only shared my paintings with my family and closer friends, but I thought it could be encouraging watching other people work and getting some feedback. That was why I opened an Instagram account. I think it is a good place to share your hobby with others, learn about techniques, materials, find motivation and interesting challenges like the ones on Doodlewash.

Painting Supplies

I am still in a material research process, trying to find out what works for me. So far, I have been using Van Gogh watercolours and some Schmincke colour tubes.

I also experiment with black ink to add some final details to my paintings.

I have tried different watercolour paper brands like Arches, Fabriano or Canson all of them of 300g.

For brushes, I prefer synthetic ones. I have different numbers of Escoda and Da Vinci.

Why Do I Enjoy Painting?

I find inspiration in dance, animals, landscapes, colourful city spots… I like variety!

Whenever I paint a dancer, I can feel the joy of the movement I am representing as If I were moving too. There is always music when I am painting and that gives me a perfect atmosphere to dive into the creative dance.

I have a cat and I love to observe it and see his movements which I find very elegant. It seems like he likes to observe me as well because he is always around me when I am painting and sometimes gets his paws into the paint and spreads it all around.

I have tried to paint some portraits but they are not my strength. I find them very difficult and I suffer a bit trying to get the features. However, I would love to practice more and be able to do it. I do not want to limit myself!

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

Nowadays, I am studying for a Masters degree in Dance Movement Therapy which occupies the major part of my time during the week. However, I try to save time every day for practicing my painting and drawing skills, even if it’s for 5 minutes to scribble.

I mostly paint in my house using a photograph as a reference, although I have recently bought a sketchbook and a portable paint brush to use them outdoors whenever I have the chance.

For me, painting is a new opportunity to express myself with which I have rediscovered myself. Since I paint regularly I pay more attention to details of daily things, like shapes, colours, lights. Whenever I walk along the street, I imagine how I would paint that tree, building or the sky, and this makes me see life with a different glasses.

The painting process for me is a meditation itself. While I am painting, I do not think of anything else. I am focused on my work, observing how the colours dance with water, how they mix with each other. Time flies when I am painting and I always find it hard to stop doing it.

Watercolor Painting by Ainara Martin

Now I can say I am a watercolour enthusiast willing to keep learning, sharing and enjoying from this art.

I will always be grateful to my family and friends who cheered me on when I needed it and encouraged me to do what makes me happy!

Ainara Martin
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23 Comments
  1. Gaeyle Gerrie-Boss 7 months ago

    Beautiful, happy and inspiring story and style!

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      Thank you Gaeyle!

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 7 months ago

    Ainara, your artwork bursts with energy. I love your use of colors, the way you play with watercolor paints, and that you incorporate what you love into your paintings. Such a creative approach.

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      So happy to read this Sharon! Thank you so much.

  3. Purnima manjunath 7 months ago

    Hi Ainara! I loved your write up,and i too feel exactly same about art and watercolor.

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      I’m glad you liked it Purnima.It’s nice to meet people who understand art in similar way as I do! Thank you

  4. Sandra Strait 7 months ago

    Ainara, your work is so beautiful. They are infused with rhythm and joy! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      Thank you Sandra! It’s a pleasure!

  5. cdumaine1 7 months ago

    Beautiful paintings, especially the pots on the walls above the stairs-wow! And the people carrying bowls on their heads. What wonderful work! Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      Thank you for reading it and for your feedback! The stairs are from the lovely Morocco!

  6. Mireya 7 months ago

    Where do I begin! I love your color and the ballerinas….you totally have me at how the colors dance with color. I’m going to say that our best happens when we simply pick up the brush and paint.

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      Thank you Mireya for your kind comment! I agree with you. The power of painting!

  7. Sharon Nolfi 7 months ago

    I love your work, especially the stunning use of color in the sunset (or sunrise) over the train tracks.

    • Ainara 7 months ago

      Thank you Sharon! Sun light is always lovely!

  8. Mary Roff 7 months ago

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

    • Ainara 6 months ago

      Thank you for reading it 🙂

  9. June Hadaway 7 months ago

    These are all very beautiful paintings Ainara. I admire your persistance and doing what you enjoy most. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Ainara 6 months ago

      Thank you June! I think persisting is the only way to get those thing you want to achieve!

  10. Frances 7 months ago

    What beautiful, vivid, alive colors you create, Ainara. I loved looking at them all–twice! I The body’s ability to bend as in your ballet paintings was exquisite. I took yoga for years and could never come close to that. I loved how you were able to hold yourself back from adding more color, rather wait and see if adding more color could perfect your paintings. You’re an inspiration to me, as I use entirely too much paint. Your pieces are fresh, brimming with ripeness. Very very stunning.

  11. Frances 7 months ago

    PS: Ainara, I especially was touched at your kitty, and her sweet face, so full of emotion. I have a kitty too, and his face is just as sweet. You have a perpetual admirer!

    • Ainara 6 months ago

      🙂 They are little lions!!! His eyes are so intense!

  12. Janneke Booister 6 months ago

    Your work is beautiful and your love for dance and movement is clearly visible 🙂

    • Ainara 6 months ago

      Thank you Janneke!! Yes..I can’t deny dance is my passion!

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