My name is Carmen Costea. I live in Bucharest, Romania, which is a very beautiful country in Eastern Europe. I’m an electrical engineer now and I work in an electricity distribution company.
As a child, my talent stood out in my primary school drawing class, and my mother was advised by my teacher to enroll me into the local art school. My mother thought that I would die of hunger if I was a painter, so she guided me towards the exact sciences instead. Luckily, I really loved science because it is set in stone, and thus, I could really get to the bottom of it.
I rediscovered the pleasure of drawing almost three years ago, after a tragic incident happened in my life. Drawing became an escape from the real life.
One year later, I became fascinated by a watercolour tutorial on YouTube, and I tried to paint in watercolour myself. At first, I tried to learn by myself, without any help. My paintings from 2 years ago looked like anything but watercolour.
About a year after, I started playing around with watercolour. I met Iuliana Florea Lucan – a wonderful artist and teacher, who was very honest to me and said, “You know nothing about watercolour.” She pulled me to reality, and with her help, I started to learn about the techniques behind painting in watercolour.
The lesson in which I started to understand the meaning of watercolour was the class in which I painted with Indian ink. In that moment, I observed how beautiful the pigment dilutes into water and spreads on the paper. I was fascinated. I learned that colours and water are very hard to control, but at the same time they challenge you to play with them. To obtain a beautiful painting in watercolour you have to let the colour dance with water on the paper, merely suggesting a direction for it to go.
Now, I attend Iuliana’s watercolour classes weekly, improving my skills, and I paint by myself in every spare moment I have. These times are relaxing moments for my soul, an escape to another world – the world of imagination, colours, peace.
Through trials and errors, I learned that it is not enough to know how to paint. You also need quality materials to ensure an awesome piece of work is completed. My favourite tools that I like to use are Canson Moulin du Roy, Arches or Saunders Waterford – 100% cotton paper, and Winsor & Newton, Schmincke, White Nights St. Petersburg or Sonnet watercolours. I also use squirrel, horse or synthetic hair brushes, and I have some from Da Vinci, Raphaël, Tintoretto, ProArte and a few other brands.
My favourite techniques include trying to reproduce the texture of materials such as wood, glass, pearls, lace, embroidery or ceramic, the transparency of water or tea, and thus, I like to paint still life. I like to reproduce aristocratic, vintage, delicate things, but also I like to capture raw facial expressions in my watercolours.
I had a few shy attempts to participate in exhibitions: 3 in my country and one in Alcorcón, Spain, near Madrid, along with other Romanian watercolour painters. So far, I only received diplomas for participation, but I still enjoyed taking part in them.
All of my paintings are for my soul, even though I often offer some of them to my friends, as presents for different occasions. Painting is my pleasure, so I could spend many hours, without noticing them passing, without thoughts, as if I was meditating.
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“Talent is a gift from God to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.”
– Leo Buscaglia