My name is Pattie Kelley Fuller and I recently moved to the edge of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in southeast Wisconsin (follow me on Facebook and visit my website!). I have been sketching and painting for almost 20 years. As a mother of six children and home schooler who was a huge advocate of the arts in every way, I wanted to find a way to enjoy some free time and pursue an interest that I have loved since high school. While I sketch in graphite and in ink and also paint with acrylics, there is no doubt that my one true love is to paint with watercolors. I have studied under numerous artists over the years.
Bold and dynamic colors, particularly ones that make the page pop are what I want to achieve with my watercolors. I love the creative process and often will create a vision board of sorts with images, colors, etc. grouped together, so I can decide how the painting will evolve. I am never afraid to take chances and often will experiment with some unconventional means to see how it looks when added to my paintings. For the sunflower painting shown above, I wanted some line work but not black. I wanted a softer brown. So, I painted on Arches 300 lbs. cold press paper and added the lines with a wood burner.
For the honeybee painting, I loved the look of the watercolor on masa paper,but didn’t like the method in which I was taught to glue it to more watercolor paper to dry, after the initial wash, to add more color and details. So, I experimented with using watered down school glue and adhered it wet to a stretched canvas. I overlapped the edges, so I could make cuts on the corners at a 45 degree angle and wrapped the painting around the edges of the canvas. I used a matte finish protective spray on it and now, I can hang it on the wall without a frame or matting. I really like the minimalist look of this method to display it.
I have found that I prefer to do a rough sketch of a painting in pencil before I paint it on watercolor paper. When I start with a detailed sketch and add shading to define my values, I find that the actual painting goes more smoothly and I am always happy with the final result. The little value sketches are like road maps and allow me to make decisions in advance, so I don’t get locked into something that doesn’t turn out the way I had hoped without any planning. Sometimes, I do a pencil sketch and add watercolor and test the values that way. The image of Eastman School of Music Theater and Buckingham Fountain (shown below) are fully developed value sketches, with some ink and watercolor added, for what will eventually be watercolor paintings. But I think these are wonderful in their simplicity and bold color.
I prefer to use Arches 300 lbs. cold press paper and primarily Winsor & Newton watercolor paints. I also like to use mostly transparent colors. Some of my favorite colors are Permanent Sap Green, Sapphire Blue, Winsor Quin Violet, Transparent Orange, Indian Yellow and Quin Gold. I do like some of the offerings by Daniel Smith, especially Shadow Violet. I use Dick Blick’s Prussian (not Russian) green as a staple. I also use Kolinsky Sable brushes because they hold a lot of paint/water, and you don’t have to go back to your palette as often. I am very picky about the amount of water that I apply to my paper, so I use a clean cotton towel for dabbing to control the amount of water that gets placed on the paper.
For a few years, I had a little business called Pattie-Cakes and I offered professionally decorated cakes. Now, I find it is still fun to mix a little vodka with some edible paste color and paint on my fondant creations, just like a watercolor.
I am inspired by life and everything around me. I bought a really nice Nikon point and shoot camera and take it along with me everywhere. I take lots of photos to use as reference material. And I find that a little sketch or watercolor value painting is often a great way to send thanks to someone or acknowledge some special event in their life.
To be sure I am growing and stretching myself. I challenge myself to a particular technique, limited color palette or adding certain features to paintings, e.g. people in action in my paintings, focusing on mottled light, mixing colors on the paper or layering transparent colors to achieve just the right hue.
There was a fun Facebook app that asked, “Which element are you?” I assume they were referring to the four elements of earth, namely, wind, fire, earth and water. And I smiled to myself as I knew without a doubt, it was water. I love to swim, sail, canoe, anything involving water fun and for as long as I can recall, I have always gravitated towards watercolor paintings. I am loving all the sharing and great work on Doodlewash and look forward to seeing more in the future.
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!