GUEST ARTIST: “Making People Smile” by Kari Hegdahl

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Kari Hegdahl - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor by Kari Hegdahl - Doodlewash

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!

Couch Artist

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.

Social Media

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 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!

Kari Hegdahl

Recommended12 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, contact me!

  1. Jean Marmo 10 months ago

    These are just fabulous!! They do make me smile!

  2. Pamela Smith 10 months ago

    I love your art,the dots and circles and the the checker thing,it’s a unique style that I find appealing and it always makes me smile..thank you for sharing…

  3. Sandra Strait 10 months ago

    Kari, I’ve been enjoying the art you post here at Doodlewash, and it is so nice to learn more about you. You have a wonderful talent, and a unique way of seeing the world.

  4. Ellie 10 months ago

    Such wonderful, wonderful paintings! Those expressions are just awesome!! Thanks for making me smile.

  5. Anthony Billings 10 months ago

    Nice work.

  6. Sharon Nolfi 10 months ago

    I love your work! The lines are very organic and lovely.

  7. Mary Roff 10 months ago

    Your aren’t definitely produces smiles and lots of them. Love your work and thanks for sharing your story!!

    • Mary Roff 10 months ago

      That would be your art…not your aren’t…sorry about the typo.

  8. ann christina 10 months ago

    Wonderful, so unique! 😍

  9. mfearing 10 months ago

    Love the birds especially!

  10. Teri Casper 10 months ago

    I smiled the entire time I read your article. It’s just delightful to hear the joy in your voice and see your awesome paintings.

    • Kari Hegdahl 10 months ago

      I’m smiling too, as I read these comments! Thank you SO much! 😊

  11. Jennifer McLean 10 months ago

    I love your style1 your animals are gorgeous and I so love the transparent colors you use. Wonderfully bright.

  12. Kati Brooke 10 months ago

    I love your art! 😀 It did make me smile, especially the sheep wearing the helmet.

  13. Trudy Jones 10 months ago

    Love the personality you give each animal. They make you feel!

  14. Leonie 10 months ago

    Fabulous Kari! 😊

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 10 months ago

    Kari, your paintings of animals are loaded with happy, inquisitive personalities. They are definitely fun to see.

  16. Very positive, light and bright illustrations that could make everyone smile 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your art, Kari! It is beautiful indeed!

  17. MMcBuck 10 months ago

    Kari, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful watercolors and your fun background! Loved the post and the images!!

    • Kari Hegdahl 10 months ago

      Thank YOU for liking and commenting! I feel so happy, getting all these lovely comments! Happy, privileged and Inspired!!! 😘

  18. Jill Gustavis 10 months ago

    Haha, I really like them! They’re great! 🙂

    • Kari Hegdahl 10 months ago

      Thanks, Jill! I appreciate the Haha!! Mission accomplished! 😂

  19. Janneke Booister 10 months ago

    A very big smile here too! Your art is great and your story is inspiring.

  20. Catnip Blog 10 months ago

    You succeeded again – I’m still smiling!

  21. Delores Azary 10 months ago

    I love your animal paintings!

  22. Beverly Wong-Kleinjan 10 months ago

    Your paintings sure made me smile! They’re lovely and lively. Awesome unique work!

  23. Lynn Juel 10 months ago

    What a wonderful article Kari! I love your style. You succeeded in making me smile and even laugh out loud sometimes. What a gift you have. Thank you for sharing it.

  24. Kerry C. Mitchell 10 months ago

    I love your work! It made me smile!

  25. Free Spirit Meg 8 months ago

    Very unique and creative! Beatiful work!

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