My name is Claudia Polena, I’ve lived in Grapevine, Texas, for almost 10 years. I always admired paintings, and I was amazed to see how realistic and beautiful they were. It was a mystery to me to understand how the artist was able to reproduce such a beautiful scene with so much detail. The colors and effects were magical to me and sometimes I spent my lunch break in museums and art galleries just looking at and admiring all the beauty of the paintings. I never tried to paint or draw, because life is busy and I worked hard and I had no time for anything else.
A few years ago, I was already retired and with my daughter being an adult, I started to feel that I could fulfill my creative side. I bought a set of watercolors and put it in my drawer and I did not have the courage to pick it up and try to paint because I was afraid to fail and it stayed there for 2 years. I heard people say that watercolor was difficult and it scared me even more.
Over time, with no activity that I liked, or made me happy, I began to feel really empty and sad. On my morning walks, at the park, I asked God to give me some inspiration and I kept praying every day for something that would fire up my heart and give me direction.
One day, during my walk, a guy stopped me and asked me if I had any request for God, and I said “yes”, we prayed that God would bring me something that would give me joy and fill my heart. A few days later, my daughter brought to me a coloring book and I took some colored pencils and started painting and it was so good that it made me feel inspired to try to paint. Since then I’ve never stopped, I have painted almost every day.
This all happened two years ago, and I didn’t try my watercolors until last year when I finally felt ready to try. I immediately fell in love with watercolors. It’s an incredible media. The effects and beauty of watercolors are unique and watercolors have become my favorite media.
Two months ago, I started my website and my Youtube channel with painting tutorials, product reviews, online store, painting classes and art workshops. I have an upcoming Watercolor Workshop scheduled for December in Arlington, Tx (more details on my website).
All of this is a gift from God… my hero. He saved me again. He answer my prayers. Painting makes me feel complete and happy in a way I’ve never felt before. My days are no longer empty and I feel that I am capable of accomplishing something even if it is a small piece of art. Of course, at the beginning, my art wasn’t the best, but, in 6 months, I was already doing things that I could be proud of.
I work with Holbein watercolors. It is a set of 18 colors, usually on a cold press watercolor paper because I like the texture of it but, sometimes, and depending on the piece I work on, I can use hot press as well. My favorite paper is a cold press Fabriano Artistico Extra White.
I like to make small paintings like 5×7, which allows me to finish fast and have time to make more paintings so I can try new techniques and it helps to improve my skills. I usually do sketches every day for 15 minutes to 1 hour using water-soluble graphite. My love for animals and nature inspires me to paint and it is very gratifying for me to be able to reproduce all the beauty of nature on a piece of paper.
What I want to say is, first, trust God, because He has plans for you, plans of good. Second, believe in yourself and don’t let others influence you negatively. Don’t let your fear discourage you from trying, everyone has a different experience and what others like may not be the same thing you like.
Do what motivates you and don’t let anyone put you down. Be persistent, be diligent and practice every day because, like everything else in this world, painting also requires practice.
I hope I can inspire other people to start painting. Remember to believe, be persistent and never give up.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!