Hello! I am Maggie Sumitro (Follow me on Instagram!). I am from Singkawang, located in West Borneo (Kalimantan Barat), Indonesia. I was speechless when I first saw Charlie’s message offering me to be a featured guest artist on Doodlewash. It was morning here. I just woke up, checked my phone, and there was the message from Charlie! I was very excited! It never came to my mind that I will be considered as an artist at my current stage of skill. Though, I have always dream that one day I will be able to create arts which are as good as those of professional artists.
Since I was little, I have always admired beautiful painting. My mom said I had already showed my interest in drawing at a very young age. As far as I can remember, I used to doodle on my mom’s books (even though I am not allowed to), whenever I got a pen on my hand. As I grew up, I was eager to attend a formal drawing or painting class. But, unfortunately, that never happened. The city where I lived was very small and nobody really focused on teaching art at that time. Plus, art supplies were very hard to find here! As I got busier with school activities, my hobby got pushed aside.
My drawing skill wasn’t improved until I returned to Singkawang, after I finished my Bachelor degree overseas. One day, I wandered into a local bookstore and found the books about basic drawing and painting. They caught my eyes. Looking through the books made my hands eager to create something on paper. I bought the books; I learned from them and practiced by myself.
Before I got into watercolor, I practiced a little bit of acrylic painting and colored pencils drawing. Those were fun for me to work on. Then, just more than a year ago, I got very curious with watercolor when I saw awesome watercolor artists’ posts on Instagram and Youtube. Especially the posts by Phatcharaphan, Elena, Jongkie, and several other talented artists.
Their beautiful painting posts motivated me to know further about watercolor. Then, I bought some watercolor supplies from online stores, and started practicing.
I found out that the more I practice, the more curious I get. I am eager to achieve a better result than before. I feel I become a productive person if I can fill my leisure time by painting watercolor. I bought some watercolor sketchbooks; I usually carry one in my bag with me. So, I can practice whenever and wherever I want to.
I am still looking for which technique fits my style the most. My final results usually turn out differently than what I want them to be. I want my painting to show the details of the objects but not eliminating the essence of watercolor either – which includes a little loose watercolor technique. I think watercolor is already pretty by itself whenever the pigment touches the water on the paper. Seeing the color flow with my brush is enjoyable.
However, most of the time, I overwork the painting and end up with a too-detailed painting. I realize it is a learning process for me. When I work with watercolor, I have to push aside my ego (many people said I am a perfectionist and detailed person) in order to achieve a piece that would please my mind and my eyes. Painting with watercolor is like dealing with the balance of life; in order to create a beautiful harmonized piece, one needs to learn when to hold tight and when to let loose.
Many objects can inspire me to capture them with my brush. Anything I see or hear can be an idea for me. But, among those objects, I find myself mostly interested in painting flowers and animals (especially cute ones). These two God’s creatures never fail to boost my mood. I love the beauty of flowers which represent grace and tenderness, as well as the animals which represent cuteness and toughness. Hence, both flowers and animals are worth to be valued in my art.
Mostly, I start my painting with pencil sketch. Then, adding a light shade color as the first layer, followed by adding a mid tone, and end it with the darkest tone. Using multiple layers of colors is necessary in order to achieve a more natural looking painting.
I have been using watercolor in the form of pans since I started my watercolor journey. My current favorites are Cotman by Winsor & Newton, and Gansai Tambi by Kuretake. I like the practical packaging of the 24 half pans Cotman. So, I can carry this set together with my sketchbook. I think the pigments are good enough for me as a beginner and the price was affordable. On the other hand, the Gansai Tambi came in large sized pans. I am not sure if they have smaller sized pans. But, so far I found only big ones. I purchased a set of 36 colors. As soon as I tried out the pigments, I fell in love with their bright and vibrant colors. I think these vivid colors fit my flowery painting very well; they freshen up my flowers.
For the brushes, I favor a round watercolor brush with a pointed tip. It is like a combination of a small pointed tip brush and a common round brush. It is very useful for creating both details and the common round brush effect. Sometimes, I also use larger or wide brushes for background. Sable or Kolinsky bristle is more preferred. But, any soft synthetic brush that is capable of mimicking the texture of genuine bristles works fine as well. Those are the tools I currently use in practicing watercolor.
There are still many thing for me to learn and explore in watercolor. But I believe as long as I have the desire to make improvement, there will be a better piece of art I can produce.
Nonetheless, thank you, Charlie for inviting me to doodlewash.com. Having a chance to share my story along with many other talented artists in here is a highlight for my watercolor painting journey; and also a greater motivation for me to achieve my dream!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!