GUEST DOODLEWASH: Capturing Beauty With Watercolour

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of crested pigeons by Louise De Masi - #doodlewash

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of zebra by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashHi! I’m Louise De Masi from Coffs Harbour, Australia, (follow me on InstagramFacebook and visit my website and Etsy store.) Coffs Harbour is on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. It’s a beautiful place and is a popular tourist destination for many Australians. My husband and I built our home on 25 acres there.

Being creative has always been a part of my life. Art was my favourite subject at school and I was rarely without a pencil in my hand. In my late 20’s, I worked as a signwriter but it gave me no joy. I painted shop awnings and windows while standing on a plank of wood suspended between two ladders. I was out in the hot sun and as you can imagine, signwriting quickly lost its appeal for me.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of poppies by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashWhen I put away my signwriting brushes for the last time, I decided to take some folk art classes at a studio near my home. I learned to paint flowers and teddy bears on wooden pieces with acrylic paint. It wasn’t long before the owner of the studio asked me if I’d be interested in teaching classes there. I took her up on the offer and I taught for 14 years. Although I met some wonderful people during that time, painting with acrylic paint began to lose its joy for me.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of eagle owl by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashOne day, while I was ironing, I heard on the radio that the university near my home was taking enrolments for the Bachelor of Education course that was starting the following year. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a school teacher. My grade 4 teacher inspired me.

She would read a chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud every afternoon and she transported me to a wonderful place of magical Oompa Loompas and chocolate rivers. So, when I heard that information on the radio I knew I had to enroll. The next day, I visited the University and submitted my enrolment.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of bird by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashFour years later, I was a fully qualified school teacher and pleased with myself for completing my degree with first class honours. I didn’t realise, however, how difficult it would be to secure a full time teaching position so for a while I was a relief teacher. I would often sit at home and wait patiently for the phone to ring.

To keep myself occupied on the days I wasn’t working I decided to teach myself how to use watercolour paint. I’d tried it once before and found it too difficult. This time, however, I persevered and I’m so glad I did. Watercolour is such a beautiful medium to use.

I painted little birds on A5 size paper and after a couple of weeks I had a few paintings that I decided to list on Etsy. I painted some more and kept adding them to my online shop. Eventually I started to sell some and that was all the encouragement I needed.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of spoonbill by Louise De Masi - #doodlewash

My husband found work in Sydney in 2014 and he and I made a temporary move there. Instead of pursuing teaching work in Sydney, I decided to focus my attention on my painting.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of pink bird by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashI am so glad I did because last year I co-authored a watercolour instruction book for Walter Foster Publishing called The Art of Painting Seal Life in Watercolor. I also have an agent in the US – Jan Draheim from Painted Planet Licensing, who works hard on gaining licensing contracts for some of my work.

In my home in Coffs Harbour, we have a huge room that we use as a study and I paint in there. It’s big and filled with light. In Sydney however, we live in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment and my painting table is squashed into a corner. It’s not ideal but I make the most of it.

When I paint, I work from photographs. I adore animals and birds so they are my main subjects. I have also been enjoying painting flowers over the past 12 months.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of flower bouquet by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashThere is a florist opposite the supermarket where I get my groceries and once a week I poke my head in the door to see what pretty offerings she has in her cool room. I take photos of the flowers I buy and I paint from them because they never last long enough for me.

My paper of choice is Arches, hot-pressed. It has a velvety smooth surface and is good for all of the layering that I do. I also use cold pressed paper. I love handmade Da Vinci brushes. They are expensive but they are worth it. I use Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton and Schmincke paints. I keep all my paint in a fishing tackle box because I can separate the colours into little compartments.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor painting of giraffes by Louise De Masi - #doodlewashI adore painting with watercolour. After using acrylic paint for 14 years, I have to say it is a magical medium and I am well and truly under its spell. I tend to paint tightly and I am trying to loosen up. I love the work of John Lovett, an Australian artist and also Karl Martens. They use watercolour as it was meant to be used. Their work is free and loose and uninhibited. I don’t think I will ever conquer watercolour, but I will have a wonderful life trying to.

Thank you Charlie for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about myself with the Doodlewash community.

Louise De Masi
Etsy Store

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Monique 6 years ago

    I love your work!

  2. Ellie 6 years ago

    Absolutely stunning paintings! You truly do capture beauty!

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      Thank you so much Ellie! I try.
      I want people to be happy when they look at my paintings.

  3. ebrada 6 years ago

    Congrats on your great work. Enjoyed looking at it.

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Louise, your work is joyous., the colors vibrant, and the composition unique. The expressions on the birds are enchanting, they seem to be trying to give you their best pose. You are so talented – glad you’re off that rickety board painting signs and instead giving watercolor lessons to the world.

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      Thank you Sharon. Me too!!
      Your words are very kind.
      I will be creating watercolour instruction videos for Skillshare next year. I’m looking forward to doing that.

  5. Danaye 6 years ago

    Ahhh, so beautiful, Louise!!! Vibrant, enchanting – just lovely. I could stare at these pictures for hours.

    I too am a slave to control. I love, love, love watercolor, but have only recently attempted to incorporate it more into my work… it’s just so intimidating. I’ve started with backgrounds and color blocking… I do mixed media illustrations but I would definitely love to do straight watercolor pieces someday soon… and your work has truly inspired me! <3

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      Thank you Danaye!
      I’m so pleased that I have inspire you. That is wonderful news. Watercolor is very intimidating but once you begin to understand it, it is very satisfying to use.
      Paintings used to take me weeks or even months to complete when I was painting in acrylic paint. There was lots of surface preparation and layer upon layer of paint. It became very tedious for me. Watercolour on the other hand, is fresh and light and quick!! It is no longer a chore to paint for me. It gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me up late at night. Good luck with your painting.

  6. Susan Feniak 6 years ago

    Louise, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your stunningly beautiful vibrant art and reading your story. I have followed you on Instagram. Thank you Charlie for sharing Louise’s spectacular art.

  7. Louise De Masi 6 years ago

    Thank you Susan. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my art and thank you for following on Instagram!! I post progress photos there.

  8. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Congratulations Louise for your beautiful feature here and wonderful post! I love your watercolors the gorgeous animals and flowers. I follow you now on Instagram and Facebook best wishes for your work and thank you Charlie! 😉 <3

  9. Louise De Masi 6 years ago

    Thanks so much Carolina for your lovely compliments. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and your follows!

  10. amusingword 6 years ago

    Louise, you do wonderful, professional work!

  11. James Shimon 6 years ago

    A great article! I encourage everyone viewing to further investigate Louise’s art. It is all delightful!

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      Thanks so much James! You are very kind and a great support to me 🙂

  12. Wow! Beautiful work Louise

  13. Teri C 6 years ago

    Beautiful art!

  14. Agnès McLaughlin 6 years ago

    Stunning watercolours, a feast for the eyes !

  15. Eileen 6 years ago

    I love the intense colours of your work. I would love to know how you do it. I am still learning.
    Thank you. Eileen McQuisten.

  16. Louise De Masi 6 years ago

    Thanks so much Eileen! Intense colors- use more pigment in your paint- less water. I think I will always be learning with watercolor. Good luck with it.

  17. cjwaterfield 6 years ago

    These are fantastic: detailed, honest, bold yet soft. Lovely and inspiring works and a fantastic feature blog! Animals make truly delightful watercolour subjects!

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      They certainly do. A lovely description! Thank you kindly CJ!

  18. Miriam Figueras 6 years ago

    I love your art! So alive, full of positivity and the results are astounding. I also like the themes, nature and animals are so beautiful and delicate. Congratulations on your work and journey!

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      I adore animals and nature so they are always my chosen subject matter. Thank you very much for your kind words Miriam.

  19. Sand Salt Moon 6 years ago


  20. thelostmango 6 years ago

    This is my favorite post of yours! Yay! This is ridiculously impressive!! XOXO

  21. AzzuParis 6 years ago

    WOW! Awesome art! 🙂

  22. jofox2108 6 years ago

    I absolutely adore you’re watercolour style. The pigeons one just leaves me speechless – wonderful!

    • Louise De Masi 6 years ago

      Thank you so much Jo. They are such sweets birds. The males follow the females around trying to impress them with their little dance moves.

      • jofox2108 6 years ago

        You’re welcome – your art is really wonderful. Yes pigeons are such funny little fellows with their arguments and their puffed up little chests!

  23. Utha 6 years ago

    Your work are beautiful and really inspiring, absolutely a talented artist 😊😊

  24. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    Your work is so gorgeous, Louise. I wish I could paint animals with as much expression as yours.

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