Hi, my name is Violeta Boyadzhieva and I live in Sofia, Bulgaria. I am very happy that Charlie O’Shields invited me to be a guest on this wonderful blog that I have been checking out in the past year and have admired the people, who were featured.
With art, I started like many, when I was very little, my mother kept somewhere a little drawing of a chicken, which was tied with a string to our balcony (I am vegetarian now), my dad had taken it from some friends, but couldn’t kill it and it stayed tied on the balcony of our house. Then I remember that I had 30 or more markers and I was always looking for ways to make stuff look like they had glitter, or like it is transparent and all kinds of effects, which were impossible with my materials.
I graduated Landscape Architecture, because I wanted to be serious. Until recently, I worked as a Landscape Architect and lived in a beautiful town in Germany. This was for 18 months, when I found out a lot of things about myself. It seemed like life is just too fast and it will end in a blink and I asked myself – what if this is the only chance, why am I going to work every day, only impatiently waiting for it to finish, so I could paint?
I used to think that an artist is not a real job and I will suffer, and maybe I will, but I needed to try. So 6 months later, I am still doing it somehow and I hope things only grow from here.
I am inspired by little moments every day, I like to paint the human form, I like the colors of the skin, I find it so rich and interesting. I also like botany, I like how the petals of the flowers are semi-transparent and super delicate. Many strange plants attract me like a bee, I like to explore them.
Right now, I am working with a few brands of watercolors – Nevskaya Palitra, Winsor & Newton professional, Van Gogh and Schmincke. However my all time favorite is Nevskaya Palitra. It is much more affordable than the other ones and has much more pigment. Its consistency is also amazing. The pallet is not as big as Winsor & Newton, but it has everything that I need. I recommend it to anyone, who starts or who paints professionally like me.
I try planning out my days in a bullet journal and have time for sketching new ideas, practicing, gathering reference material and posting and engaging in social media. I also post videos on youtube at least twice a month. I have an Etsy store and a Society6 store, where I also devote time. In my work week, I also set time aside for my Patreon page. I found a great community on Patreon and I like to contribute as well. This makes me feel less like I am alone in this.
I have to admit though, that my social life suffers at the moment, because I am trying to devote almost all of my time to art and art related stuff, but I think that there will be a moment in the future where I would have built enough momentum to start going out more. I also like to read about other creative people of our time. I am reading Charlie Chaplin’s Autobiography at the moment. There is also a book about artist’s routines, that I find very interesting, Daily Rituals, by Mason Currey.
Whenever I am outside I am looking for inspiration, sometimes odd things in the right moment could make a great composition and turn out into a great painting.
I use only cotton paper, my favorite brand is Arches, but I use it sparingly, because it is no longer sold in Bulgaria, so I have some left from Germany and I keep it for more complicated stuff. Other than that, I use Fabriano Artistico Torchon and Grana Fina. The second one has very interesting texture, looking a little bit like some kind of textile. In my practice, I’ve found out that only cotton gives the results that I want, and the other papers are just disappointing. They lose vibrancy and look dull, to say the least they are unpredictable. Watercolor is also unpredictable but in a witty and funny way. I like to think of it as a ghost artist that is always painting with me, sometimes when it is in a bad mood, it destroys my stuff, but I still love it.
I think one of the most important skills when painting with watercolor is to learn how long to wait for it dry, before you add new things. Another thing I found out is that when you have an interesting story to tell, and know the details, even if your technique is not perfect (and I don’t think any technique is) you can still engage the viewer. Watercolor is not very forgiving, but I think it is very exciting to work with.
I would suggest to anyone, who likes it to start with good cotton paper and at least one very good (natural hair if possible) brush and just go with the flow, enjoying the small things. This made me stay with the medium. I just love how it moves and how it dries differently, how it lives its own life. You can contact me on any of the following platforms below. I am very responsive. I wish everyone inspiration and good luck!
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!