GUEST DOODLEWASH: Energetic Gestural Lines and lots of Watercolour!

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of flowers in pitcher on table

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of two women having a conversationI am Nora MacPhail, a professional artist from Toronto, Canada (follow me on my Blog, Facebook, and Flickr!). I have been drawing and painting with watercolour for over 20 years. I try to achieve a strong energetic line, by drawing very quickly with a dark instrument, then I add lots of watercolour paint.

I prefer 6B pencils or Micron artist quality pens to start, always drawing first, then I add lots of colour spots, pretty much ignoring the lines I just drew! I want my work to look fresh and poetic, but still realistic. My favourite subject is capturing people in cafes or outdoor patios, enjoying their day and friendly conversation.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of people having drinks

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of woman portaitI draw from life at figure drawing sessions every week. Drawing from the human figure, usually with charcoal, is a fantastic way to learn to see and draw well. All the shapes are there for me to learn from. Sometimes, I bring some watercolour paint with me for the longer poses, like 20 minutes, because I just can’t resist adding a wash and some splatters.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of people sitting at lunch

I also paint still life set ups from my home studio, usually including flowers (as shown above). Flowers  are quite abstract and they present a constant colourful challenge.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Nora MacPhail of Spadina HouseFinally, I draw and paint from my paint box while outdoors, often urban sketching with the Toronto Urban Sketchers. It’s wonderful to go out plein-air painting. Here is a picture of a 9×12”box that sits on my lap, with a 6×8”pad in the lid and my Winsor & Newton Cotman Travel Watercolour Palette inside. It’s lighter and much more portable than an easel set up, which makes me more apt to bring it along wherever I go!

As you can see, all subjects interest me! My paintings are original and affordable and available for purchase at my etsy shop called Watercolours by Nora.

Thanks and Enjoy your summer!!

Nora MacPhail
My Etsy shop
My Blog called Nora MacPhail – Artist

Recommended1 recommendationPublished in Featured Artists

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, contact me!

  1. Love the vibrant colors in your work! Thanks for sharing, Nora! You too, Charlie 😉

  2. zuzala 2 years ago

    lovely work

  3. Susan Feniak 2 years ago

    Love your style Nora! Thanks for sharing. I did follow you on Instagram and Facebook. Charlie, once again, thanks for sharing another artists beautiful work.

  4. Margaret Parker Brown 2 years ago

    Beautiful work!

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you Margaret. 🎨😄

  5. Jodi 2 years ago

    Love your style Nora! So inspiring.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you Jodi! Happy Painting to you! 🎨👌🎨

  6. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Your style is so refreshing and intimate. Thank you for sharing Nora. Thank you Charlie.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Intimate is such a lovely thing to say. Thank you. 😄

  7. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Nora’s art is so sunny and lovely, you can’t help but be happy looking at it!

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Wow Teresa, thanks for the lovely comment. : )

  8. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Lots of life here! (K)

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you. : )

  9. jadeart4 2 years ago

    There really is a lot of energy and life in your paintings. I’ve always used the backward method, watercolor first and charcoal or ink on top. But during July World Watercolor Month, I am going to try your way and see if I can achieve some of the energy level you do. Your paintings are fun, bright, and youthful.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank Jade. Happy Painting!

      • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

        I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit during July too! Sounds like you’ll have fun with it!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    Nora, I love how you make your art your own. So much energy, everything looks alive. (I accidentally typed “alove” instead of “alive.” Maybe I shouldn’t have corrected it.)
    Thank you, Charlie, for inviting Nora to Doodlewash.

  11. Damita M-S 2 years ago

    Beautiful work. I love watercolor as well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Love watercolour!!

  12. So bright and fresh! Love this artist. Headed off to follow her on Facebook.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you so much Tonya!

  13. KB Garst 2 years ago

    Lovely, just lovely! Thank you for sharing!

  14. M. L. Kappa 2 years ago

    Very interesting technique, Nora! I love your work, especially ‘ignoring the lines you drew’. Must try it this way. Another great discovery, Charlie.

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you. Yes, I go for a loose line then ignore it when painting. 😉

  15. It was a delight to see these watercolors, so bold and fresh colored! I am more a painter of a muted palette, but this is very attractive! thanks for sharing Charlie, and thank Nor for being a doodlewasher too!

    Regards Edo

    • I mean thanks Nora of course, but my A’s dont work properly!

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thanks from Holland. I appreciate your comment! Cheers 😀

  16. Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

    Thank you all so much for your gracious comments!! I’m very inspired by your kind response. Happy Painting to all!!🎨

  17. sariatikasundari 2 years ago

    I love so much your artwork😃 glad to read rhe post,thanks for sharing..

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you, happy to share. : )

  18. beverlydyer 2 years ago

    Just wow!

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      : ) Your comment made my day!!

  19. Tony Cook 2 years ago

    Great to see your work here getting the recognition it deserves

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thanks Tony! Hope to make it to the TWS painting. 👍

      • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

        Oops, meant paint out 😝

  20. Tony Cook 2 years ago

    Likewise. Also just received confirmation that I am accepted into Don Valley Art Club.. looking forward to that.

  21. brushparkwatercolors 2 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your art with us, Nora! I am really amazed by your vivid loose style and the vibrant colors!

    • Nora MacPhail 2 years ago

      Thank you so much. Happy to share with fellow bloggers, who are always supportive and encouraging!
      Happy Painting.

  22. Love these colours, I can see and feel the energy from the artist, great !

  23. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    I love the detail in your paintings – just enough to convey the expression and emotion without the fussy detail.

    • Nora MacPhail 12 months ago

      Thanks so much Sandra!!

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