Happyart! My name is Kari Hegdahl. I am a Norwegian newborn watercolor artist. For many years, I worked as an Arts & Crafts teacher. Which I loved! I’ve always been creative, working with different materials. Fabrics, yarn, wood, acrylics and oil. I could never choose, and kept searching for my own expression.
Four years ago, I stopped teaching, and had time to explore even more materials. And three years ago, I got watercolors for Christmas, and I started painting. Something I hadn’t done in years.
Fortunately, my boyfriend did all the house work, while I practised and practised and searched and searched for my own personal expression. For a month, I painted 12 hours a day! And suddenly I found it! It turned out I needed something beside the watercolors. The Marvy Uchida Black Ink Drawing pens were the perfect match for my watercolor washes!
Besides, I found out what I needed and liked to paint were animals. And birds. And preferably with weird expressions!
I always bring my camera in search of reference photos. But I also find photos on the Internet. I start by sketching with a pencil, very lightly. Then I paint very roughly what I want to bring to the couch for drawing. My favorite watercolor paper is Fabriano, cold press 300g/140 lbs, and the watercolors I use are Van Gogh tubes.
As for the brushes, I don’t have any favorites. So, comfortably installed on the couch, I draw. I try to personalize the animal, kind of giving it a human expression. I like to name them, and make a little story around each of them.
I find inspiration everywhere. Being fortunate not having to go to a real job, I have plenty of time to do the things I like. Going for long walks with our dog, observing everything around me, and studying other people’s art.
I always find inspiration, and I try to paint every day. Traveling a lot around Europe in our camper van, watercolors are the perfect thing to bring along! Many of my painted animals are animals I met in France or Spain or Italy.
After a while, my daughter persuaded me to make a Facebook page where I could post my paintings. I finally did that, and to my surprise and delight, people liked them! Because of my Facebook page, which is called “ Karistreker”, I was invited to an exhibition in 2016, and all my paintings were sold!
I continued to Instagram, posted the paintings there, and found a lot of fellow watercolor artists who I now call my friends. It’s such an inspiration to see what other people do, and to get feedback from people who do what you do! This fall I had my first solo exhibition in the town where I live. I was so proud and grateful!
Only recently, I discovered Doodlewash.com. Another great place to be! Getting feedback from fellow artists means just a little more. These days I’m busy with the January Happy Things Art Challenge. I find it fun and interesting having to paint other stuff, not just the animals!
What I want with my art? I want to make people smile! Whenever someone tells me that one of my paintings made them smile, I’m happy!