GUEST DOODLEWASH: An American in Sweden

Doodlewashes by Rebecca Cary-Anderson

I am Rebecca Cary-Anderson, also known as The Painted Pear on Instagram and my website. I am an American, from Boston Massachusetts, USA living in Stockholm, Sweden. I am a wife, a mother of 3 children and a flat coat retriever named Dexter. I have a BFA in fine art, majoring in Illustration, with a minor in children’s book illustration. You might say I have a triple minor, another in procrastination and a third in insecurity.

Doodlewash by Rebecca Cary-Anderson

After graduating college, I got a job, fell in love, had children and became the “kid’s mother”. I worked in various creative jobs, eventually doing graphic design and typography work for a printer before I became a freelancer. I have always kept painting and creativity close whether for myself, or the kids crafts or PTA Winter Bazaars, but never labeled myself as an artist, like when you get that question at a holiday party…”so what do you do”?

Then we moved to Sweden. It was supposed to be for one year….the first year was like an extended vacation, surreal, and so very busy. I started keeping a journal, a diary. Mostly words, but it started to blossom into more pictures and urban sketching and memories on paper. I didn’t come over here with many art supplies, so I started rebuilding a small art supply collection.

Doodlewash by Rebecca Cary-AndersonSince moving to Sweden I have felt this sense of anonymity. Due to that, I became less fearful and self conscious of exhibiting my work to the public, and in turn, I have done more art. The combination of my age and moving abroad has sparked a “life is too short and who cares what others think” kind of attitude. Life is too short to subdue the creativity inside. I really want my kids to take that away with them as well. I want everyone to take that away with them. Do not let insecurity (3rd minor) stand in the way, which is easier said than done, I know!!

My work is clearly influenced by my children’s book illustration studies and illustrating a children’s book is still an interest. The art of my professor Dennis Nolan as well as illustrators Chris Van Allsburg, William Joyce and Bill Nies hold special interest, but artists Tommy Kane and France Belleville-Van Stone have greatly influenced my current work.

Doodlewash by Rebecca Cary-AndersonGiraffes riding bikes is directly derived from Sweden. Between the athletic builds and fashionable clothing, whether in high heels or triathlon gear it is all so beautiful. Giraffes have been my favored animal for a long time so it is only natural for me to express myself through this awkward and graceful animal. Yes, I am awkward and maybe sometimes graceful. And I love bike riding too.

So that being said, I do like to paint what I do, I suppose there is always a closeness directly of me in what my art is. Whether I depict something that I do or my subject is something close to me. My biggest inspiration comes from my everyday, me, my family, my other hobbies and my daily activities and surroundings and sarcasm is never, ever too far away.

I also like focusing on painting a subject everyday for a month, whether dogs or cars or portraits. It helps me stay structured, committed and takes the edge off the question of what to put on the BIG SCARY WHITE paper. It takes that pressure away of what to paint away and so I can focus on the painting. The repitiveness of a subject only adds to that 10,000 hours of mastering something.

Doodlewash by Rebecca Cary-AndersonMy mediums have gone from one to another over the years. But right now I am really fond of watercolor and pen and ink. More specifically, Winsor & Newton, Dr. Ph Martin’s, Micron Pens and a treasured Lamy Safari pen with Noodler’s Ink. It is clean and simple and can travel. After quite a few years being dormant I am finding my strengths and personal awarenesses. Urban sketching and landscape work has never come easily but I am trying to explore more with that while living abroad. Illustrated journals are so special, and carry a deeper meaning than photos for me. Capturing my Swedish experience through my art has been a profound turning point.

So this is me, once again trying to find my way along in art. With new confidence settings and children grown to double digits I am finding new energy to express myself. The support of my family and friends and online community to encourage and inspire my creativeness are the greatest treasures and biggest gifts!

Rebecca Cary-Anderson
The Painted Pear

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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48 Comments
  1. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Another terrific and useful post. Well said, Rebecca! I love your sketches and have started following you on Instagram. You work communicates so much to me, and especially a sense of humor and fun. These Lamy pens! Does everybody love them? Now I want to get one–but are they really worth several hundred dollars? I like the idea of drawing one thing for a month.

    • Cathe 2 years ago

      Kirkistan, they are awesome pens and cost around $29.00, here’s a link where I bought mine http://www.gouletpens.com/lamy-safari-fountain-pen-charcoal-medium/p/LMY-L17M?gclid=CKS0pqL8_skCFRApaQodYVsIPw

      • kirkistan 2 years ago

        Thank you, Cathe. That is more like what I can afford.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk! Glad you like the feature!! Rebecca is awesome! As for Lamy, They are wonderful and because they’re not too pricey. Philippe ordered mine from Goulet as Cathe suggests, but if you’re an Amazon Prime member, they sell them there and some colors are only $22 with free shipping. (Regular Lamy Safari are plastic cases…the one I doodlewashed was a Safari Al Star in aluminum and those run about $8-10 or so more. All Lamy Safari are still under $40 msrp though!😉)

    • rebecca 2 years ago

      Thank you so much Kirkistan….I am really touched by so many of the comments and that you call my post useful I consider a huge compliment! And yes, I love my lamy pen!! I started looking at alternatives to micron pens since I was blowing through one every couple of days and they are $$$ that way. They do run under $30 for the pen, but you may want to invest in a different size nib, I like the EF, extra fine. And if you want to use waterproof ink, you will need an ink converter….and the ink. When using the waterproof ink don’t let it sit too long without use either, since these pens are not really meant for the waterproof ink it can muck it all up….all that said….can’t wait to see what you do with it!

      • kirkistan 2 years ago

        Thanks, Rebecca. You must use waterproof ink, right?

      • rebecca 2 years ago

        I do use waterproof ink, because I use watercolor over it, but if I didn’t use watercolor I wouldn’t bother…..it really is if you need it.

  2. Cathe 2 years ago

    Oh boy my favorite artist, you heard me right Rebecca-ARTIST extraordinary, mother of Dexter and friend to dear Giraffe! This is a wonderful post filled with yumminess! So glad you are part of our community Rebecca! Charlie thank you for the wonderful feature!

    • Author

      All thanks to Rebecca! I was thrilled to feature her and she provided such a wonderful post!! So glad you’re also a fan, Cathe!! Yay! 💕😃

    • rebecca 2 years ago

      Cathe, you are such a great supporter and I am truly touched by all the nice comments here!

  3. I’ve been following Rebecca for quite some time and her work is always so cool! Great feature, Charlie!

  4. Misti 2 years ago

    Rebecca, I loved your art..and what also touched me was what you have written about the effort it takes for us ‘kids mothers’ to push ourselves to do something which we are good at and which has got hidden in all that moment!! i can relate to that totally.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Misti! Glad you liked Rebecca’s feature! 😃

    • rebecca 2 years ago

      Misti, a huge thank you!! It took me a long time to get the courage to even write that….and admit to it, or to figure it out even….Being a mother, a most wonderful journey itself is so time consuming and overwhelming, it is easy to let the art, or whatever your passion is get pushed aside…..

  5. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    Having a fondness for giraffes myself, I so enjoy Rebecca’s art! ❤️ I love her whimsical touches on her subjects. 😄 Thanks Charlie – I enjoyed hearing more about Rebecca’s background as an artist. She is so talented and yet human like the rest of us. 🎨😊

    • Author

      So happy you liked this Jill!! ❤️😃Yeah…the giraffes are definitely my favorite!! And Rebecca is super talented. It’s so great to include her in the Doodlewash community!!

    • rebecca 2 years ago

      Jill….you have been a very treasured supporter!! and I can always count on your posts to make me smile and think…and create! Your comment really touches me…actually all the nice comments are a bit overwhelming! thank you so much!

      • Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

        You so deserve it, Rebecca! xo

  6. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    Rebecca, you have been one of my favorite artists on WordPress from the time I started and love hearing more about your life and art via this feature on Charlie’s blog. Thanks, Charlie, for featuring Rebecca – The Painted Pear artist. Feel confident that your work is well appreciated and loved, R!

    • Author

      So happy you liked her feature, Cynthia!! And thanks for the wonderful comment! I agree!!

    • rebecca 2 years ago

      Wow Cynthia….a bit humbled here…I feel the same about you and your work as well! This online family is a gift! Thank you so much!

  7. A lovely post and very inspiring for us all. Many thanks, Rebecca.

  8. Damita M-S 2 years ago

    Wow! I love your work. The giraffes and the bicycles is great. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Rebecca, it is wonderful to learn more about your art life. Thanks for sharing your story and beautiful art. See you on IG, too! Thank you Charlie.

  10. Kari 2 years ago

    I loved reading this! Love your pieces! Lots of great wisdom shared here too.. And I agree with others about your sense of humor and wonder. Will definitely be following you on Instagram!

  11. waynejacques 2 years ago

    Charlie, thanks for featuring Rebecca. Well deserved. I am a huge fan and she is so talented. I always look forward to getting the notice that a new post has arrived.

  12. rebecca 2 years ago

    Thanks so much Wayne!! Means a lot! and back at you too!!

  13. beverlydyer 2 years ago

    Glad you found a way to get back to your art. Your muse was there waiting for you! Wonderful!

  14. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Even the cars have personality! (K)

  15. Rebecca, awesome learning more about you!! Your work is awesome. The pack of giraffes on bikes is amazing. I can totally relate to it taking awhile to “not care what others think!” Even 2 years ago when I started pursuing my art and blogging I kept it anonymous. I was afraid what people would say. I finally realized how much that was holding me back! Glad to know you in this online community.

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