GUEST ARTIST: “Disney Meets Dali” by Jessica Wesolek

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Jessica Wesolek - Patience - #doodlewash

My name is Jessica Wesolek and I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My watercolors are often described as “Disney meets Dali” because I apply a whimsical style to surreal subjects. This style is very non-traditional. It emerged early on, and I can’t change it if I try.

I first was told I was an artist in the second grade when my teacher and my father decided my sawdust bas-relief sculptures of animals were something special. My father was an architect who spent a lot of time on building sites, and had access to lots of sawdust to donate, and my teacher thought it fine that I create art in the back of the room while the rest of the class learned more mundane things like arithmetic. I still can’t balance a checkbook well!

Many years and many media later. I met watercolor, and there was a satisfying click heard out there in the Universe somewhere.

I own a gallery in Santa Fe and sell my paintings and kiln-fired glass work there, but my favorite thing is to “doodlewash” in my art journals – just for the fun of it. Since these books or their pages can never be sold, I sell prints and some greeting cards of those as well. Gotta eat – right?

My favorite subjects are houses and botanicals, but I will paint from imagination too. That’s where the surrealism comes in. I don’t always see things as they are.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Jessica Wesolek - Tee Shirt - #doodlewash

I paint in my garden or in my greenhouse. The light is best and the company of quiet living things is inspirational. My dogs (Siberian Huskies), join me there but they know to be quiet and peaceful too. I have at least two fountains going all the time and some wind chimes with deep, haunting tones. it doesn’t get much better than that.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Jessica Wesolek - Studio - #doodlewash

I try every art supply I hear about, and have very strong favorites. Here are some of them . . .

I searched for many years for the perfect journal for my watercolors, and found it finally when Stillman & Birn created the Beta Sketchbook. The paper is heaven and takes anything I throw at it with no complaint. I use the hardcover Beta for daily art journaling, and LOVE the softcover Beta for random sketching (the stuff that is not about my daily life).

I believe in being able to correct mistakes – so I can love my books when I return to peruse them again and again. Since watercolor doesn’t really forgive mistakes, I get it right with a pencil and eraser first – a 3H pencil for light, easily erased lines, and a soft white eraser.

Custom Glass Watercolor Palette by Jessica Wesolek

My favorite watercolors are M. Graham because the color intensity and the flow knocked my socks off when I first tried them. They rewet instantly and a little goes a long way.

I squeeze them into the wells of glass watercolor palettes that I make myself. People would really like me to make those for sale, and maybe I will one of these days.

A couple of years ago, because of some international argument, good red sable brushes became impossible to get. I had never used anything else, hated synthetic brushes, and was at a loss.

Then Escoda, my favorite brush company, came to the rescue with a brand new type of synthetic brush that behaved exactly like a high-end red sable (and cost like one too!). The name is Versatil (ver-sa-teal), and they are my forever favorite paintbrush.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Jessica Wesolek - chocolate chip cookie - #doodlewash

So, with all those favorite supplies at hand, I spend hours in a state of joy and peace, watching my watercolor do its own thing while I try to have some input!

Jessica Wesolek
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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!
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24 Comments
  1. Sandee Setliff 4 months ago

    I really enjoyed reading your post and found some similarities between us as I too paint in a journal and then use those to make cards which I sell. I am intrigued by the glass palette and would buy them if you decide to make them for retail. I also prefer the quiet of nature to paint by if you can call Red Shouldered Hawks screeching, and crows cawing quiet. But I prefer their sounds to the sounds of city, and people. Thank you for sharing your work and a little bit about you today.

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      Hi, Sandee – I define quiet as you do – it includes the screeching of Ravens and constant conversation of Quail and Doves. SO much better than traffic through!

  2. Catnip Blog 4 months ago

    Love the whimsey, bright colors and your humor! Are you still using sawdust?!!

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      HA! – No sawdust anymore, but I did go through a phase in my early 20’s of making bas-relief sculptures out of baker’s clay on wooden plaques. Sold them on the streets of San Francisco as – street artists were a big thing then. It was many years after that I first connected that the source of those was the sawdust.

  3. Lydia Fiedler 4 months ago

    Oh my gosh Jessica! I’m totally going to walk down to your gallery today!!

  4. Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

    Hi Lydia – if you are walking, I hope you are in Santa Fe! It’s called WOW! and it’s by the o’Keeffe on Palace and Grant.

  5. scribblersdip 4 months ago

    Absolutely gorgeous – stunning post and wonderful images! I love your style and the boldness of it – truly a bright spark in the world 😀

  6. nkvorka 4 months ago

    Great to see you here Jessica! I was excited when I saw your name in the email from Doodlewash this morning. Great examples of your work, I especially like “The Gift”. Nancy Kvorka

  7. Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

    Scribblersdip – you have me blushing – truly!

  8. Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

    So good to see YOU here, Nancy. I remember you showing me after class one day, that Watercolor Book you found and loved. (I ran out and bought it too.) Your photography is great and I am so glad you are into watercolor as well. This site is so fun. Charlie must be a magic guy.

    • nkvorka 4 months ago

      Jessica, thank you for that memory. I still have that book. I will never forget the time I spent at that retreat with you and Sandy. One of the best times of my life. I really enjoy watercolors and have recently got back into watercolor pencils which I first learned about at your retreat. Someday I hope to come back. I love Santa Fe.

  9. Suzo 4 months ago

    Hi Jessica, glad to see your work on Doodlewash. Love your art style, and have been a big fan of your glass palette since you did a blog post about it awhile ago.

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      Thanks, Suzo. I really love those palettes and hope I can find the time to make some for my watercolor buddies out there.

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    Your watercolor does its own thing and you try to have some fun – what a wonderful attitude, Jessica. Your art is so full of whimsy and vigor, it’s a joy to see. Best wishes as you continue. And thanks for the input about supplies.

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      Thank you for your very sweet comment, Sharon. Getting geared up for World Watercolor Month – lots of painting to be done!

  11. M. L. Kappa 4 months ago

    Lovely post, Jessica! I’ve been to Santa Fe once and absolutely loved it – I’ll be sure to look you up if I make it there again! 🌺

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      Oh, once is never enough for an artist to visit Santa Fe! Do come visit again.

  12. […] GUEST ARTIST: “Disney Meets Dali” by Jessica Wesolek […]

  13. nana2jackson 4 months ago

    Wow..I struggle with reality and perfection and you have fun and make people smile. I love your paintings that make people happy. My journal pages are whimsical and fun so maybe there’s a message there for me.

    • Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

      Nana2 – I decided back in the sawdust days that art should be fun and have stuck with that. Embrace you art journals as a world where fun is the thing to perfect.

  14. Bets 4 months ago

    So great to see your artwork. I’m wanting to purchase a piece or two… I love your style!

  15. jmnowak 4 months ago

    Please, don’t ever change your style, Jessica! 💖

  16. Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

    Thank you for that!!

  17. photoscientist 4 months ago

    excellente

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