GUEST ARTIST: “Artist In Progress” by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

Hello fellow artists. My name is Carole Hunnes-Nielsen. I am a watercolor and watercolor batik artist. My home state of Michigan is where I find my inspiration. The changing seasons each have their own beauty and the great lakes have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Nature and color are the most important elements in my work.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

I grew up in a family where education was very important. The question was never if I would attend college. The question was only where. I had always wanted to be a teacher. In high school, I decided that I wanted to share my love of art with others and become an art teacher. I have had a life-long love for art. I attended Western Michigan University and earned a BS degree in Art Education. My area of concentration was in ceramics. I continued my studies and earned a MA degree in Education.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

I spent thirty years teaching high school art. I was the only art teacher at the high school so I taught in all mediums. I loved the variety of work I did but as a busy teacher and mom, I did not have the time to devote to my own artwork.

I retired in 2010 and now have time to grow and learn as an artist. As a teacher, I developed a love of working with color and watercolor in particular. I began my watercolor journey by studying color theory. I thought that if I spent one year studying color that I would know it all. I have since learned that it will be a lifelong study. I also am continually working on my drawing skills. I enjoy trying new techniques, ideas, and materials.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

Since retirement, I have been in many juried and solo exhibitions. I have won awards for my watercolors and watercolor batiks. I belong to several artist organizations and I also enjoy teaching watercolor batik workshops.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

I use Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith watercolors. My paper is Arches 140lb. cold press. When I am doing batiks, I use rice paper. I have also been experimenting with a variety of mulberry papers, colored papers, and papers with various fibers and textures. My favorite go to brushes are DaVinci petit gris pur brushes in a size 6 and 3.

A few years ago, I was asked to judge a watercolor show. They had several watercolor batiks. I thought this looked like a new challenge for me. I couldn’t find much information on this technique so I learned through much trial and error. I think teaching myself watercolor batik helped me to work without any preconceived ideas and allowed me to truly explore the process. I have had a blast learning this! The technique has helped me develop my process and style of painting and improved my traditional watercolor paintings.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

My process involves much planning. Because watercolor batik is a resist method of applying melted wax on paper, the painting must be planned as there is no going back after the wax is applied. I have since applied this planning process to all of my paintings.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - DoodlewashMy first step in planning a painting is to find inspiration. Most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings and my own photographs. I also paint from my imagination. I make many practice drawings to study the subject.

I feel that if I know my subject I am able to be looser in my drawing and painting. I try several compositions both vertical and horizontal. I plan the focal point and eye movement. After my composition is planned, I create a value plan using Payne’s gray.

When I am satisfied with the value plan, I do several color studies. I first make swatches of colors to see what happens when those colors mingle on the paper. I then do a small sample painting so I can plan out the steps in my process. This helps me to make sure I am getting the values correct and allows me to see what kind of a feeling my colors will create. I do all this planning in my sketchbook.

My sketchbook has become a record of all my studies and paintings. When a painting is complete, I go back to my sketchbook to record the date I finished the painting, the title, the size, what kind of paper it is painted on, and the colors I used. I usually let a painting sit for a while before I have decided it is done. Recording this information, allows me to come back to tweak the painting knowing what colors I used.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - DoodlewashWhen I am finally ready to begin the painting, I then proceed to make a light sketch on the paper in graphite. I paint in layers. Since I have a value plan, I know where my whites are. I paint the entire paper my first value, saving the whites by painting around them. I like to paint wet and let colors mingle.

I then paint my next value saving the whites and some of the first value. I layer the paints as I feel this gives my painting more depth and creates luminous color. I continue to paint around the values I want to save, painting light to dark, large areas to small, starting with big brushes and working to gradually small. The area of greatest value contrast and detail is my focal point.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - DoodlewashI use this same process for creating a watercolor batik. The difference between watercolor and watercolor batik is that the batik is on rice paper and each value is saved by painting melted wax to create a resist. The wax is removed in the final step.

I will often paint the same subject more than once, trying different color schemes. I will also try a painting in traditional watercolor and then create it again in a watercolor batik. I love bright colors and I love working large. Working large frees me up to paint loose and not focus on small details. When working with batik, I love to splash on wax in unexpected areas to create surprise results at the end.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - Doodlewash

I love that I now have the time to be a part of the art community in my area and online. I have learned so much from others and sincerely appreciate everyone’s generosity to share. I will always be striving to improve to be a better artist. There is so much to learn. I will always feel challenged. I am an artist in progress, always learning.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Carole Hunnes-Nielsen - DoodlewashPlease follow me on Facebook and have a look at my website. Thanks Charlie at Doodlewash for allowing me to share my love of art with others. Thank you to my friends and family for all of the support you have given me. It gives me so much joy to see my work hanging in your homes. A very special thank you to my husband for all of your continued support, being my chauffeur and never complaining about all of the mess I create in our home.

Carole Hunnes-Nielsen

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, contact me!

Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Rod Fletcher 1 week ago

    The vibrant colours and combinations are wonderful

  2. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    Your paintings are beautiful and an inspiration!

  3. Meenakshi Goel 1 week ago

    Absolutely beautiful ❤

  4. Hania 1 week ago

    Beautiful 🙂! Some of your paintings look like oils or acrylics, such a wonderfully unique look for watercolours!

  5. Fantine Ponter 1 week ago

    Beautiful paintings! Thank you for explaining your process. I need to try to follow your methodical approach!

  6. June Hadaway 1 week ago

    Beautiful colors

  7. Jean Marmo 1 week ago

    Another fantastic read. I enjoy reading about your teaching and your work. I live in Michigan too!

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 week ago

    Carole, your art is absolutely some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Your inventiveness shines in every painting. I love the way you experiment with batik watercolors, allowing the paper to carry part of the image. Your colors are vibrant and everything seems to breathe. Wonderful to see your work. I’m glad you retired so you could do THIS.

  9. jessica chaves 1 week ago

    I really like your work–bold color statements, but with a softness.

  10. Lori Franks 1 week ago

    My favorite is the gladiolas! Beautiful!

  11. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    Carole, your colors explode! Just looking at your work makes me feel happy.

  12. Susan Cuss 1 week ago

    Love your bold, beautiful colours: they sing! The batik paintings-well, I want to touch them!

  13. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    I love your watercolor batiks. I didn’t know WC could achieve batik effects.

  14. Nay Aung 1 week ago

    Your Batiks are wonderful!!!
    I admired your planning process.It teaches us how to make a proper plan to loosen our watercolour.

  15. Carol Hartmann 1 week ago

    An beautiful, vibrant fusion of Batik and watercolor!

  16. Paula Spagnuolo 1 week ago

    Gorgeous work and the Batik is wonderful. Totally new to me! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Marrianne Wadley 1 week ago

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your process. I love your beach scenes, the crashing waves are amazing and the colour in your last picture of the leaves makes my heart jump!

  18. Jennifer McLean 1 week ago

    my gosh, what a beautiful flower.

  19. Ellie 1 week ago

    Your work is gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your process. And watercolor batik!! I had never heard of it but it is fantastic.

  20. Jennifer McLean 1 week ago

    you really do create absolutely stunningly beautiful work. I can see the attraction to batik, I used to make pysanka, Ukranian eggs and working with color and wax is a joy.

  21. Beautiful and vibrant paintings! Thank you for sharing and inspiring us!

  22. Aswin S 6 days ago

    These are gorgeous. I thoroughly enjoyed your take on land/seascapes.

  23. Janneke Booister 5 days ago

    And the other things I’d like to say are already said above.

  24. Jill Gustavis 5 days ago

    Beautiful pieces! I especially love the forest scene towards the bottom of the post. 🙂

  25. Yvonne Reeder 4 days ago

    Thank you for such a fascinating guest blog, Carole! Your work is so full of rich colour and texture – it’s glorious! I agree with your thoughts on Michigan – I’m originally from there too. 🙂

  26. Agnes Peterse 3 days ago

    Awesome art Carole!!! As always…. I love to see it!

  27. pealout65 2 days ago

    Michigan is perfect for an artist’s inspiration!

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