GUEST ARTIST: “Watercolor Obsession” by Nay Aung

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - Taunggyi - Doodlewash

Hello! I’m Nay Aung from Myanmar. I live in Yangon, one of the major cities of our country. I’m interested in various kinds of art, especially drawing and painting. I’m a doctor practicing at my own clinic every evening, running the small business and have one smart kid, but fortunately, I have my spare time for painting and I can still paint.

I’ve painted since I was in my primary school years. My father bought a box of 12 color watercolor pans and a small brush for me probably when I was 12 years old. I first met watercolor at that time. During summer holidays, my father sent me to his friend who was the professional artist in my home town, Taunggyi. I’ve studied the basic and advanced drawing lessons there.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - It Will Rain - Doodlewash

In our country, at that time, most parents did not appreciate their children who had drawing and painting as a hobby. They thought that their child became an artist and lost interest in education. I am always thankful to my father who believed me that I could handle my hobby and also education. Usually our summer holidays lasted for three months and I always drew the whole day at our master’s studio every summer until my high school years. I got just enough drawing skills, but didn’t have enough time to get watercolor lessons from my master in my home town.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - Washing Day - Doodlewash

At medical university, Yangon, I met some friends who were also interested in art. My horizon of knowledge on art was wider than when I was in my home town, but I had very little chance to do painting there. I’ve made a few and they were all watercolors.

After graduating from medical university, almost a decade, I didn’t do a single painting. I didn’t know what was the main reason of not wanting to paint. Actually there were many influencing factors that stopped the inspiration to paint during these years. Although I didn’t paint, I frequently wandered to local galleries at Yangon to see others’ paintings. I’ve also collected some books on art, both paperbacks and e-books. I’ve already read and read again these books but I just couldn’t do any painting.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - In Evening - Doodlewash

In 2012, I visited one of the famous galleries in Yangon accidentally and there I bought a DVD named “Watercolor On Location”. It was a demonstration DVD and the artist’s name was difficult to pronounce for me. I wasn’t serious about the DVD at the time of buying, but after seeing the demonstration, the artist called me to the extremely wonderful and magical world of watercolor. He woke my hobby up which fell asleep for almost a decade. I explored the web and I found the masters who influenced me until today. Yes, Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castanet, Herman Pekel and David Taylor. “Mastering Atmosphere and Mood in Watercolor” became also one of my favorite instruction books.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - Early Morning Dream - Doodlewash

This time I had a clearer vision for falling in love with watercolor again. To catch the light, to express the mood and to create the magical atmosphere. These are the desires that drive me again to paint with watercolor. I want to make the impressions with watercolor. For me, there is no other medium that gives the satisfying result like watercolor. Its spontaneity and freshness makes me an addict. It is fun when you lose and gain alternatively your control while painting with watercolor.

I’m painting for my pleasure because watercolor gives me the freedom to enter a wonderful world which is different from the real world. Clearly, I also understood that you can’t run from something that is part of you. Maybe you can hide for certain periods from it, but it’ll find you again someday. Currently, I have no formal education in watercolor and I’ve done what I feel best for the painting.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - Sunshine - Doodlewash

Regarding my painting materials, for the last two or three decades, we didn’t have quality art supplies in our country. Many professional artists got their art supplies from their foreign friends or they could buy when they visited other countries. During university years, I used the Winsor & Newton paints (from China). I used the brushes from local brush makers and they were not good for watercolor painting. Just one or two art supplies shops in Yangon, and we could buy some artist grade paints there, but the prices were not affordable for me at that time.

Today, more quality art supplies are available in Yangon. We have some online agents who can sell these supplies. We can buy any famous brand of watercolor in Yangon. But currently, I use the Camel artist’s watercolor which is very cheap and suitable for practicing. My palette contains Ultramarine, Cobalt, and Cerulean for BLUE, Crimson Lake, Scarlet Lake and Vermillion for RED, Yellow Ochre, Gamboge and Lemon Yellow for YELLOW. Sap green and viridian are used for GREEN. Burnt Sienna and Sepia are also used for increasing the tone.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - NgaPaLi 2007 - Doodlewash

I’ve already bought new sets of Van Gogh watercolor tubes and tried to paint. For paper, usually the Renaissance watercolor pad (200 gsm) is used because it is available at nearly every stationery store. But my favorite is Daler Rowney paper (300 gsm) although it is expensive for me. I used Monet and Mont Marte mop brushes and Van Gogh round brushes. Of course, a lot better than university years! I never use small brushes except for some details. Small paper and big brush is my approach to watercolor nowadays.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting by Nay Aung - A Nap - Doodlewash

I love a loose and free painting style, and I think it is the best part of this medium. If you’re interested in “ISMs” of Art history, let’s say it is the impressionist’s watercolors.

And last, but not the least, I’m glad that I found the place where I can share my painting experiences and listen to others who have the same passion and dreams. Thanks Charlie for your creation and inviting me as a guest artist! Hope you guys get something fun and inspirational from this post!

Nay Aung
My Blog
(Sorry for Myanmar language, I’ll try to post in English more in the future)
Art Station
Doodlewash Gallery

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    You may not have a formal education in art, but you definitely have a feel for composition and color. I love your loose and flowing style!

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks Sandra!I’m glad you love it 🙂

  2. […] via GUEST ARTIST: “Watercolor Obsession” by Nay Aung — Doodlewash […]

  3. jakkigarlans 5 years ago

    Your art is inspiring! So very beautiful! Sometimes I think we forget that it is possible to make extraordinary art without all the supplies that are so readily available in America. You have certainly shown us that. I send high regards to your father for his love for you and his understanding. Cultural pressures are so strong, you were very lucky indeed that he gave you the freedom to follow your heart. You were strong enough to live up to your promise to him pursuing both your education and your hobby. We are the richer for it. Thank you so much for sharing your talents!

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks @ jakkigarlans for your comment!Also thanks for your regards to my father.Actually he passed away when I was in the second year of medical university.But I always remembered him when I was thinking about Art.For painting materials,yes,all the masters recommend the best materials you can afford,but in my case,I have no choice.So I’ve tried my best whatever I got. 🙂

  4. June Hadaway 5 years ago

    I am so happy you are making time for your art. Your paintings are fabulous. I admire your passion for the
    Medical field as well as the arts. You are truly gifted. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks June. It is a little bit hard to handle these two but I just can’t resist to paint 🙂

  5. cherolson 5 years ago

    Beautiful!! What size is your “small paper”

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Usually I used the size 7.5 inches x 11 inches.The smallest I used is 8.3 x 5.9 inches.I got two big advantages from small size.One is I can finish the painting in a very short time and the other is I can’t be careful for details 😀

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    Nay, your art is beautiful. I like the way you capture foreground details against a vast sky. Lovely to look at.

  7. Kaye Boggs 5 years ago

    Beautiful work. Welcome back to the watercolor world.

  8. Kimberly 5 years ago

    Totally enjoyed this article. It was very encouraging and inspiring. Gives me hope as I started drawing and painting only last year!

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks @Kimberly! I’m happy that my words encourage you to paint.Painting is a really fantastic hobby 🙂

  9. Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

    Thank you Nay! I’ve so enjoyed reading your life and watercolour journey. Your father was a remarkable man to encourage you in both your artistry and profession.

    I actually did a intake of breath to read that you felt the paper you use is adequate for practice. Nay! Your work is so far beyond a “practice” level! It could easily be displayed in any professional gallery – it’s truly lovely! I just marvel at how much detail you achieve in such a loose manner – its brilliant!

    I’m just starting out and hope to be even a quarter as good as you by the time I can no longer paint.

    Thank you.

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your kind comment @Von Reeder!Wish you can paint what you desire because you have enough passion to paint,I knew it 🙂

      • Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

        Thank you Nay. It’s lovely to meet you with our shared passion for Watercolour. ❣️

  10. Ann Umphress 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing, I think your work is lovely. 💖

  11. Marji Karlgaard 5 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful! both your journey and your art. I had the privilege to visit beautiful Myanmar a few years ago so I know you must have been quite limited as to supplies for watercolor in the past. You certainly know how to make the most of what you can get, and I also would consider your work much more than student level. Many painters never are able to get the loose style that is naturally yours. I hope to see more of your work on the Doodle pages. Thank you for sharing.

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your kind comment @Marji Karlgaard! It’s wonderful that you’ve been in Myanmar.I’m happy to participate in DoodleWash and surely I’ll post my paintings in future.

  12. Antonio David Gil 5 years ago

    A dramatic work of colours. Love it! Thank you, Nay

  13. Elizabeth Metz 5 years ago

    During those periods we’re not painting, I think our minds are assembling things we’ll eventually need TO paint. Maybe we start noticing shadows or we’re developing an image bank or learning subconsciously what colors we like best.

    It’s clear you’re a painter; I’ll bet you still saw with those eyes while you weren’t painting. 🙂

    • Nay Aung 5 years ago

      Thanks @elizabeth-metz for sharing your thoughts on our journey of watercolor!Yes,we always paint either on paper or on our mind 🙂

  14. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    I’m so glad you found watercolor again, because your paintings are great! I especially like the way you leave bits of white paper – it gives a sparkle to your work.

  15. Jennifer McLean 5 years ago

    You have a wonderful style, thanks for sharing your art.

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