Hi there, fellow sketchbook & watercolor lovers! Such an honor & treat to be hosted here by Charlie! I’m Volta Voloshin-Smith, the artist behind Color Snack, and I come from a tiny country called Moldova in Eastern Europe (follow me on Instagram and Facebook!). I immigrated to the states in 2002 and currently reside in Dallas, Texas with my husband and rambunctious cat.
While I never pursued art professionally, it has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as a young kid, I was into drawing and making some sort of art, from drawing the Sailor Moon character to the Powerpuff Girls to gluing shiny cutouts from magazines into my brightly colored notebooks.
I would repurpose into sketchbooks whatever I could find around the house, including my father’s old PhD dissertation, works that had text on one side and were invitingly blank on the other (nicely bound works of genius math theorems that just begged to be turned into sketchbooks for my art).
It’s funny how impressionable we are as kids growing up, and where (art) teachers can have such an impact on whether or not we pursue a creative endeavor. My first encounter with watercolors was through an art project in high school where we had to draw a landscape in a 1-tone color. I was so utterly bored and frustrated that I proclaimed to the world that I’ll never use this terrible medium ever again!
Fast forward to about 7 or so years later, and I picked up a set of watercolors on a whim (at a TJ Maxx of all places) and started painting on 3 by 5 index cards (I had those laying around conveniently as I was using them to study for the GMAT to get into an MBA program). I had a whole thing going of using the watercolors more like an acrylic medium (less water, more pigment) so that they would look decent on the index cards (my project even had its own site and name – NoteCard Poetry).
Because I did get into business school, I had to briefly abandon my artistic endeavors and focus on adulting. However, I soon discovered the amazing community on Instagram and re-started my journey into watercolor once more, but with a more serious focus on really exploring what the medium has to offer.
By far, my most favorite thing about watercolors is how calming it is to paint with it. Water has such a nice calming quality to it and by just doing a simple watercolor wash and watching the colors work their way is just so peaceful to me. I like to bring my watercolors to various work places (corporate & agencies) where I have watercolor lunches with my co-workers. It is such a nice way to break up the work day and relax away from the computer screen. And, of course, it gives me utter excitement to be able to share this wonderful medium with people in hopes they rediscover the joy for art they once had as children. After all, watercolors are just so good for the heart and soul.
I think index cards are a wonderful (no-excuses) way of jumping into the medium, but I do agree that paper also matters to truly see what watercolors can do. I love researching sketchbooks (current favorites include Leuchturm1917 and Stillman & Birn Alpha) and trying out different types of watercolor palettes. I have an uncontrollable obsession with finding beautiful containers which I can then fill with my own watercolor pans. Despite me having a dedicated studio space, you can find my art supplies all over the house (guilty as charged).
And while there can be another explanation for this, I stand by the fact that seeing my watercolor palettes out in the open I am more likely to stick to my habit of constantly sketching and creating. And besides, art is supposed to be messy (and adulting is so boring). My all-time favorite tools to use are a Lamy Safari fountain pen (extra fine nib is better for detailing) with waterproof ink and a watercolor palette that I can easily fit in my pocket (usually self assembled with Sennelier or Mijello Mission Gold watercolors or an already made one like the Prima Marketing Watercolors).
I love sketching veggies and fruits (and donuts and tacos since I’m in Texas) because they are delicious and can be so colorful! Flowers are beautiful too and I’ve often made purchasing decisions based on what I would like to sketch. I also like including positive messages and so lettering is becoming a prominent part of my art.
I constantly aim to get more people addicted to watercolors and so to help with that I started a weekly 1-minute process and tutorial video of different objects (#ColorSnackSunday). I call them little color snacks for your brain that are easy to jump into no matter how busy your day can get. I mostly hang out on Instagram, but you can also find me at the other links below.