GUEST ARTIST: “About Gouache, Watercolor, Paper, and Experimenting” by Ayna Paisley

1 Pimlico. 2020. Gouache. 30x42 cm

My name is Ayna Paisley and I’m a self-taught, London-based artist. I divide my time creating commissioned works, teaching and sharing my art practice through my social media channels. My body of work consists of peculiar contemporary pieces created with gouache, acrylic, encaustic medium, and oil paint, juxtaposed with paper collages and vintage imagery. I’ve exhibited my work in London, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.⁠⁠

2 Ayna painting

Early Life in Africa and Russia

I was born in Russia in 1989 to my artistic parents Magomed Magomedov and Elmira Magomedova. I left Moscow when I was just two years old and spent the majority of the first decade of my life with my grandparents in Nefta, Tunisia, North Africa. I lived in Tunisia until I was 7 years old and it is there that I discovered my natural inclination to making art.

3 Nefta Tunisia

A traditional intricately brick-decorated structure along a cobbled and narrow street inside the medina in Nefta, Tunisia.

I moved back to Moscow in 1997 after spending years in a totally different country. I still remember how I had some difficulty fitting in that I would often prefer to be alone in my own company. Later, I was transferred to an art-centric primary school where I heartily made friends and finally felt home.

4 Berries Ayna Paisley 2019

I’ve been drawing and painting as early as I can remember until I was 15. I stopped painting after failing my final exams in my art school. My confidence took a bad hit prompting me to eventually drop out and pursue a different career. Going against the usual early life stories of other artists, my parents urged me to take up an arts-related degree, however, because I hadn’t yet developed my confidence to pursue art at that time, I took up Journalism instead.

5 Peony 2019

I got back into painting as a form of therapy just five years ago in 2016 when I left my job as an editor in Glamour Russia Magazine. I was reminded of how good it feels to create art and couldn’t stop anymore. Consequently, I decided to finally pursue a career as an artist. This career began blooming online through social media when I started sharing my art practice and journey with others.

As engagement with my content increased, slowly but steadily, my audience grew as well. This opened up various opportunities for me. I received requests for commissions, invitations to exhibit, and the chance to teach art presented itself to me.

6 Daisies Daily Bouquet 2019 Ayna Paisley

The Shift to London

In early 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to move from Moscow to London. It was very difficult to relocate in the middle of a global crisis and start a new chapter of my life in another big city, far away from the comforts of the familiarities of Moscow. However, London, by far, has been a great decision. After a year, I began feeling the subtle positive shifts in my career. I started reaching a broader audience coming from different countries, and was invited to exhibit in several big art galleries around the city.

7 Bywater Street London 2021 Ayna Paisley

Teaching art is another thing that I truly enjoy. Through different online platforms like YouTube and Skillshare, I was able to continue instructing my students from all over the world. On top of my classes and art creation activities, I also run a subscription-based blog where I share my experiences and art practice in a more detailed yet laid-back format.

8 Kew Gardens Pagoda Ayna Paisley 2021

Art Experiments, Every Day

Growing up in Moscow with parents who are both creatives, I can say that I had an artful childhood. Since both of them are professional artists, I started my art journey with a very traditional approach to art. However, I enjoyed playing, mixing, and layering different mediums that I ultimately decided to set aside traditional techniques for a more spontaneous approach.

9 Baby Brocolli Ayna Paisley 2019

Hence, I experimented with fresh ideas and explored the possibilities of mixed media. I developed my art practice by continuously working with a varied range of mediums from watercolor, gouache, acrylics, oil, pastels, pencils, crayons, and even paper. Eventually, I got to a point where I began forming a distinguishable visual style. My process almost always starts with a watercolor or gouache study which I later expand using other mediums to form a finished artwork.

10 ZenART Turner Collection Boats in Bodrum 2019 Ayna Paisley

I am proud to mention that I am an ambassador and friend of ZenART Supplies. For water media paintings, I recommend the Turner Collection, a 14-pc brush set designed for all skill levels.

Finally, remember to just be the real you. Share your art practice, entertain questions and be kind. I wouldn’t be where I am without the supportive community that inspired and backed me up amidst rough and uncertain times. For a full read about my art and life, you can check out my feature at ZenART’s blog and you can always drop by to say hello through my social media channels. Happy World Watercolor Month and happy painting!

Ayna Paisley

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    Your art is amazing, Ayna-so fresh! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Hi Sandra! Thank you so much, so glad to have the opportunity to share my story 🙂

  2. writerleenda 1 year ago

    Ayna Paisley, Art schools have one way of doing things: their way. Better to learn on your own and come up with your own little tricks and methods, like Jean Haines says. Your work is beautiful!! I definitely will check out your website.

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Thank you! Indeed, I think going to school is actually better when you already made your own path and just lacking knowledge in some specific fields.

  3. Mary Roff 1 year ago

    Wonderful art!!! Thank you for sharing!

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Thank you Mary!

  4. Marisela Delgado 1 year ago

    Wow! You’re self-taught? Holy moley! You rock, girlfriend! 💜 Warm hugs from San Antonio, Texas.

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Thank you Marisela! I did spend a lot of time learning, but I don’t have a degree. So I’m always confused if the word self-taught is actually right, but I think in general this is what people usually mean 🙂

  5. Linda Davis 1 year ago

    Not only are you a fabulous artist, but you are also a wonderful writer! Thank you for sharing your journey. I love the few pieces of art in this article and will definitely be looking for more online. I have been doing art my whole life, but have little experience painting. Now at 73 I have my studio set up and my supplies well-stocked and I am ready to begin my adventure! You have inspired me. Thank you!

    • writerleenda 1 year ago

      Anna, you go girl!!! I love it when we retirees refuse to sit in the window like our uplines did, actually their uplines, our grandparents.

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Thank you Linda! So happy to hear someone gets inspired by me, it’s a true motivational boost haha All the luck to you on this very exciting path of becoming an artist!

  6. Sharon Haschalk 1 year ago

    Ayna you are an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing your story and wonderful art.

    • Ayna 1 year ago

      Thank you so much Sharon, really happy to share!

  7. Fabrianne Morales 1 year ago

    I really love your visual style, Ayna! There’s a pleasing materiality to them. 🙂

  8. Wei-LI 1 year ago

    LOVE your unique style! Very inspiring!

  9. vgrehe 1 year ago

    Your art is amazing,

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