GUEST ARTIST: “The State Of Watercolors” by TanaBelle

#WorldWatercolorMonth - Watercolor by TannaBelle - Kansas Map - #doodlewash

My name is Tana Dowell, but as an artist I go by TanaBelle. I currently live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have been an artist my whole life, dabbling in ink, charcoal, and graphite, but only recently (in the last 2 years) have developed my love for watercolors. I graduated from college in 2002 with a BFA in Graphic Design, but have never found myself to enjoy that kind of work. I prefer to get my hands dirty in the process of creation.

I was first exposed to watercolors during a study abroad trip to Scotland, in the summer of 2000, while I was in college. Since then, I’ve learned that watercolors are a beautiful thing; with a personality, all their own. They challenge me in my need to have complete control. Because, as many of you know, watercolors are fluid, and I must learn to loosen up and let them do their own thing sometimes.

My preferred supply list includes my mix of different brushes, my palette of Daniel Smith watercolor paints (sometimes, I also use a travel palette of LUKAS watercolors), and Arches, hot-pressed, watercolor paper, 140lb. I typically work on an 11” x 14” size, but someday would love to be bold and go bigger!#WorldWatercolorMonth - Watercolor by TannaBelle - Oregon Map - #doodlewash

#WorldWatercolorMonth - Watercolor by TannaBelle - Illinois Map - #doodlewash

My artistic process seems to consist more of thinking and over-analyzing, than painting. I am guilty of spending too much time trying to decide what to paint, rather than just sitting down and painting. I need to work more on the doing part.

But when I finally sit down to paint, I prefer a lot of light (preferably natural), good music, and a “plan” all mapped out in my head. I like to have my supplies scattered out all around me, and tend to misplace a brush at least once or twice throughout the process. I’m typically sitting at the dining room table, since I don’t have studio space yet. Someday, however, I’d like to have a place to leave all my supplies scattered about, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

I have lived in many different states in my lifetime, and would consider myself to be a dreamer. I love the idea of traveling and seeing/experiencing as many things as I can. I love to learn and have a deep thirst for knowledge.

#WorldWatercolorMonth - Watercolor by TannaBelle - Colorado Map - #doodlewashI have been a full-time mom for the last 11 years, and have only now begun to put my paintings out there for others to critique and enjoy. Since I am a full-time mom and my children need stability during this time of their lives, I am not able to travel (for now). So, I travel through my paintings.

I am currently working on a series of the United States, where I am painting each of the 50 states and trying to represent them as I see them. Each state is as individual as you and I. I would love to say that I have traveled to each of these states and painted them on-site, and maybe someday I’ll be able to do so. But in the meantime, I do lots of research (I love documentaries!), and try to talk to as many people as I can, from all over the place. I love to hear where people are from and what their favorite thing is about the place they call home.

#WorldWatercolorMonth - Watercolor by TannaBelle - Washington Map - #doodlewash

After traveling the States, then, I will take on the rest of the world. I have dreams of going back to Scotland with my husband, going to France with my daughters, going to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, China, anywhere really! I want to see it all! Feel free to travel along with me and follow me on Instagram or Facebook. Also, tell me where you’re from and what you love about it!

Tana Dowell
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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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19 Comments
  1. KathyAnne 4 months ago

    LOVE your idea to paint your impression of the states in their shapes! Very cool and creative! You could also add doing them by season –> how would you do HOT for AZ? 😅 (another AZ’r)

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Hi, KathyAnne! Thank you! Arizona is definitely HOT right now and I too, have thought of doing different seasons in each state. There’s unlimited possibilities with the states, which is one of the things I love about them. ❤️

  2. Heide 4 months ago

    What a brilliant and creative idea — and what beautiful work! Thank you for sharing both here. (And thank you also to Charlie for the introduction!)

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Heide. Yes! Thank you, Charlie!

  3. Ellie 4 months ago

    Your states are absolutely wonderful – so creative! As your neighbor to the north in Colorado, I really like the snowy mountains you gave our “sqaure” state. I’m assuming that’s not Wyoming. ( :

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Ha! Yes it is Colorado, and I know it is currently green in your state, but I always think of snow when Colorado comes to mind 😉

  4. Sandee Setliff 4 months ago

    Love the themed paintings, and looking forward to seeing more!

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Thanks, Sandee! I will post them on the Doodlewash community site as I continue. 😊

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    TanaBelle, this is a wonderful idea, beautifully executed. Fun identifying each state by its shape and attributes. The best to you as you continue this wonderful adventure in painting and traveling.

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Thank you, Sharon! I appreciate the kind words and well wishes. 😊

  6. Frida 4 months ago

    Doodlewash has been awarded “One Lovely Blog Award”! https://fridayfrida.com/2017/07/04/one-lovely-blog-award/

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww you’re too sweet, Frida! 😃💕 I’m thrilled you enjoy Doodlewash! I don’t tend to do these though, as I love as I feature bloggers on my site and I don’t want to leave anyone out. 😊 They’re all amazing!!

      • Frida 4 months ago

        I get it, I just nominated my favourites. 🙂

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

        Aww… thanks so much, Frida! 💕😃 You made my heart smile!

  7. ybromfield 4 months ago

    What a wonderful idea! Your paintings really capture each state! And I’m also from Scottsdale!! 😊

    • TanaBelle 4 months ago

      Yay! Another Scottsdale friend!! Thank you for your kind words! 😊

  8. Jessica Wesolek 4 months ago

    Wonderfully creative idea. Someday, when you can travel, it would be cool to paint each state with water from that state. I have done that in some locales and it is so fun to think there is an essence of the place in the painting. Are you using gouache in some of these to get that painterly look?

    • TanaBelle Watercolors 3 months ago

      This is a great idea! I will have to implement it some day when I do travel! No, I don’t use gouache in my paintings. Is that something you would recommend?

  9. Darruda 3 months ago

    It’s something about to enjoy the process. I love listening to music while i’m creating. Nice post 🙂

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