GUEST ARTIST: “A Gift From God” by Claudia Polena

Watercolor Otter Painting by Claudia Polena - Doodlewash

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.

Watercolor Toucan Painting by Claudia Polena - Doodlewash

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.

Watercolor Dog Portrait Painting by Claudia Polena - Doodlewash

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.

Watercolor Bird Painting by Claudia Polena - Doodlewash

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.

Claudia Polena
Website
YouTube
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram

Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!

28 Comments
  1. Walt. F Pierluissi 4 weeks ago

    Very nice.. I like it a lot… Perfect balance between drawing and colors, light and shadows…. Beautiful.

  2. Pflederer Kevin 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It has inspired me to keep trying and who knows maybe someday I can paint beautiful pictures like you. The little girl looks so precious.

    • Claudia Polena 4 weeks ago

      I’m very happy that I was able to inspire you. I’m sure you will make wonderful painting, just keep practicing and you will get there. Thank you so much.

  3. Kris Hoffer 4 weeks ago

    I feel so inspired by your story! Thanks for sharing. Your art is trully a blessing.

  4. Leslie Grindey 4 weeks ago

    lovely web site lovely art work like your birds . the horse its beautiful

    • Claudia Polena 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much. I always post new tutorials 🙂 I hope you keep connected :))

  5. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Claudia, your story is inspiring and your art is amazing! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us!

    • Claudia Polena 4 weeks ago

      Thank you very much. I love to share my experiences as artist and help people to develop their skills 🙂

  6. Kelly 4 weeks ago

    Claudia, I rarely read a post all the way through but yours really grabbed me. Well done you, and thank you for your inspiration.

    • Claudia Polena 4 weeks ago

      I feel really happy that my story inspire people and make a difference in people’s life. Thank you for the support 🙂

  7. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Love the colors in your work.

  8. smzang 4 weeks ago

    I love the textures you have created that makes everything so touchable..
    The dog has the look of loyalty in his eyes; the horse is gorgeous and yet
    I sense a wildness beneath that beautiful mane. The little girl is awesome.
    The tilted foot (feet) is the perfect touch and adds that little je ne sais quoi
    that makes magic.. Treasures all…each and every one.

    • Claudia Polena 4 weeks ago

      Thank you so much. I try to capture the essence of the subject so you can look to the painting and use your imagination about their story, What they are thinking?, Where they are looking? 🙂

  9. Claire McArthur 4 weeks ago

    Your post encourages me as I head to my retirement and hope to have more time to be creative. Your paintings are beautiful and inspiring.

    • Claudia Polena 2 weeks ago

      Thank you. It is always time to create. I hope to see your paintings soon 🙂

  10. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    So inspiring! Your work is amazing for being fairly new to it. I agree that everyday practice is the key. Some day………

    • Claudia Polena 2 weeks ago

      Thank you :). That is true, practice is really important. Keep painting and you will get there 🙂

    • Claudia Polena 2 weeks ago

      Thank you. Keep painting and you will get there :))

  11. Eve 4 weeks ago

    Our story’s have some similarity but I don’t have your talent! Your dog is almost talking. I will check out your site’s and tutorials as I also try to paint daily.

    • Claudia Polena 2 weeks ago

      Thank you. If you have some suggestions or questions let me know. I going to put more videos up soon.

  12. Kat 4 weeks ago

    What an inspiration you are for people who have no formal art instruction! Your story and your magnificent art encourages me to keep perserveting

    Thanks
    Kat

    • Claudia Polena 2 weeks ago

      Thank you. I believe that we are capable to do everything we want since we dedicate ourself and be persistent. Our big enemy is the fear. Don’t let the fear be bigger than your talent. 🙂

  13. Janneke Booister 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing your story! And your art is great. 🙂

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