GUEST DOODLEWASH: A Journey Through Watercolor

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of little girls on trail by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

Hi! My name is Ellie Moniz and I am a watercolor artist in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Follow me on Facebook and visit my website!). My love for the medium began twenty years ago, when I took my first (and only) watercolor class in college.  Out of all of the fine art media I was exploring at that time as part of my degree, I chose to focus on watercolor out of necessity. It fit into my budget and I didn’t need a lot of space to paint – a small corner of my dorm room was just fine.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of 18th Street Philadelphia (Philly) by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

Over the years, ‘necessity’ turned into an absolute love affair with watercolor. To this day, I continue to learn new techniques with every painting.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of building by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

One of the characteristics that excites me the most about watercolor is never being 100% certain how and where the paint will settle on the paper. I find the interaction between the water and the paint mesmerizing. It’s a medium that has a mind of its own. 

With a lot of practice, I’ve learned to control my tools to an extent, but the end result of a painting is always a surprise.  The unplanned ‘blooms’ that appear when painting wet-in-wet are so much fun to look at when they dry.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of man reading book by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

I’ve experimented with many brands of paints, synthetic and natural brushes, and just about every watercolor paper surface.  My current favorite brand of paint is M. Graham. They are made with honey, which makes them smooth and easy to control and they have the most color concentration of any other paints I’ve used. I like painting with a lot of detail, so the brushes I most often use are: round, sizes 0 & 1.  With that small size, Winsor Newton Series 7 (kolinsky sable) brushes are still affordable, and in my opinion the best to work with.  I almost always use Arches 140lb. hot press paper.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of church by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

Drawing and painting have always been a big part of my life. It’s how I make sense of the world around me.  When I am feeling happy and grateful, I paint. When I am feeling unsure of the future, I paint. When I’m sad, I paint.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of man in chair reading Time Magazine by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

There is a story to each of my paintings, even if it’s a house portrait for a customer I don’t know – then I make up a story in my mind about their lives and who might look in and out of each of the windows I’m painting.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of springtime at Love Park by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

The story I am trying to make sense of now is my recent breast cancer diagnosis (at 39).  I am about to start 4 months of chemotherapy and I am truly scared about how this will affect my life.  I look forward to the days where this experience will be a distant memory, another moment in time – one in which I will be able to gather inspiration from being an artist, a wife and a mother.  

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting - In Daddy's Hands by Ellie Moniz - #doodlewash

For now, I am accepting that this is my story and I am so thankful that I have my art (and an amazing husband, kids, family, and friends!) to carry me through.

Ellie Moniz

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Susan Feniak 6 years ago

    Ellie you don’t know me but please know I wish you well. Your art is beautiful and I know it will help you on this next journey in life. Thank you Charlie for sharing Ellie’s art and story.

  2. gwenniesgardenworld 6 years ago

    awesome !

  3. Marnie Clark 6 years ago

    You find such inspirational artist. So glad I found your sight; I am always in need of inspiration.
    Thank you, Marnie Clark

  4. Vinodhini 6 years ago

    Elli your art is an inspiration to us.I pray god and u will over come any obstacle when ur home gives you incredible support. Thank you Charlie

  5. Snehal Kank 6 years ago

    Ellie your art is incredible! Really outstanding ! My best wishes are with you.
    Thank you Charlie!

  6. Agnès McLaughlin 6 years ago

    Ellie you are a success story : you and your very beautiful ,inspiring art will continue to be! All the best.

  7. Jodi 6 years ago

    Ellie – Your work is BEAUTIFUL – and my hope is that your painting will carry you through your difficult time dealing with cancer.

  8. The church painting made me say WOW. All the best with your upcoming treatment. One of the times when youth makes it a shocker to have this diagnosis, but will be a boon when it comes to bouncing back from the chemo.

  9. Ellen kelly 6 years ago

    Dear Ellie, I have always been amazed at your beautiful artwork. It is truly amazing. I know your family thru my son Jimmy Kelly. I was sorry to read about your diagnoses. My mother is 93 years young and and 50 year survivor. You got this. Best wishes, Ellen Kelly❤

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Ellie, I am stunned by your final paragraphs. That someone so full of life and joy must face this difficult health issue made me pause. I wish you easy chemo sessions, complete recovery, and good health on the near horizon that you may focus on your family, friends, and art. Which BTW is gorgeous, one intimate picture after the next.

  11. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Beautiful light in your paintings. All good wishes. (K)

  12. Laura 6 years ago

    Ellie, you are a very talented artist. Light and joy shine from each of your pieces. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  13. Janet 6 years ago

    Hi Ellie,
    First let me say you are an incredibly strong woman for all you have been through. Second, your paintings left me with my jaw hanging open. The details in your work are spot-on and incredible.
    How long does it take for you to finish a painting? Love all I have seen so far. 🙂

  14. Lois Westerfield 6 years ago

    Dear Ellie, Your art is inspiring, as is your outlook as you face months of chemo treatment. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family. Lois

  15. Sharon Nolfi 6 years ago

    I love the retro monotone guy reading the newspaper! The detail in your paintings is amazing – I’m glad to have discovered your work (thanks, Charlie). Best wishes for a successful treatment – I’m a 3 year survivor myself.

  16. Sue 6 years ago

    I have only just entered the world of water colour painting so have no expertise but I think our paintings are stunning, I just love the way you capture real people in your paintings. I just wanted to send a lot of love to you and your beautiful family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. x

  17. berolahragacomblog 6 years ago

    Good Post!!

  18. greenmackenzie 6 years ago

    Beautiful watercolours, so talented. Wishing you as comfortable and safe a journey through the next 4 months treatment as possible.

  19. Jennifer McLean 6 years ago

    You are an incredible artist. I hope one day to tell stories in paint like you do. I totally understand the terrible boat you’re in at the moment. Six weeks ago I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I do feel your pain. Let’s hope we both get an excellent outcome so we can continue to fill the world with wonderful paintings. I’m adding you to my list of artists to watch. It’s amazing how much life you capture in your art.

  20. Linda Murray 6 years ago

    Ellie, your paintings are absolutely beautiful! The detail leaves me speechless. I had to look closely because I thought some of them were photographs. What wonderful talent. The very best to you as you go through the next 4 months. Bless you and thank you for sharing your story. 🙏

  21. Ellie I love your work – it’s like being pulled into a story. I particularly love the first one with the kids and the girls walking hand in hand with their Father. So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I was by my dads side last year through his chemo, so I understand a little. We met some amazing nurses during the process. Keep painting as much as you can. I’ll be thinking of you 😀 Eileen

  22. tmikeporter 6 years ago

    You certainly know how to draw!

  23. Melissa Kane Baker 5 years ago

    Beautiful art by an amazing strong women!

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