Hi! I am Jacqui M. Tan from Pasig City, Philippines (follow me on Instagram!). I am married and a mother of two young kids. During the day, I work in the office as a Marketing Manager. Despite my busy schedule, I paint whenever I can because it is a way for me to “escape” the busyness of life, chores, and work.
It’s my creative outlet that makes me feel free and happy. My love for watercolor painting has been going on for two years now, and this is one hobby that I know I’ll be devoted to for life! But my discovery of watercolor was not immediate, and what a journey it has been to get here.
Childhood and Art
As a daughter of an architect, art and drawing has always been a part of my life. I remember when I was around seven, my father gave me a coloring book. He told me that using one color can make an object appear 3-dimensional. So with my Crayolas, I had to apply various shades and values on the coloring book. Little did I know he was teaching me quite an advanced art lesson for a seven year old, and because I learned it so young, the theory stuck to me. Thanks Dad!
The Disconnect with Art
In high school, I wanted to become an interior designer. Unfortunately and to my surprise, I did not pass the entrance exam for the course in the university. I was quite disappointed for a while, until another university I applied to accepted me in their Management course.
I felt that God was telling me that I wasn’t destined to have an art-related profession, and back then, accepting the university with the Management course was the best and logical choice as it is one of the top 3 universities in the country. I do not regret this choice and I’m glad it turned out this way. But as a result of this, I somehow stopped doing art-related activities and drawing.
Returning to Art
A few years into the workforce, I felt something was missing in my life, creatively. I suddenly found myself yearning to do something creative and enjoyable as a hobby but I couldn’t quite figure out what that was. In 2010, I found myself attending a workshop for making fashion accessories. I enjoyed it for a while, even ventured into selling, but had to stop soon in 2012 because I developed carpal tunnel syndrome, which still affects me to this day.
In October 2014, my sister-in-law Jenny told me about a watercolor workshop by Liz Lanuzo that I might be interested to attend. That piqued my interest so I joined, and oh boy, it felt like I woke up from an artistic slumber! I tried watercolors before, but I never really enjoyed them because mainly I used the wrong paper. I suddenly saw watercolors in a different light, filled with awe and curiosity. The way the paint reacted with the water and with the other colors seemed so magical. I knew right then and there that I’ve found the creative outlet that I was yearning for, and that watercolor painting was a hobby for life.
After two years of watercolor, I’m still in the process of learning and trying to improve myself as an artist, and at the same time to just let go and have fun in the process. The more I learn about watercolor, the more I see that there is still much to learn. I’m not even sure if I have a particular style of painting, because I just go with the flow. Perhaps in time I will discover my own style, or it will just show in my work.
The subject matter I prefer to paint are landscapes, nature-related, animals, and objects.
I have to admit that I am quite an art hoarder and I possess various brands of paint, paper, and brushes. But my favorite paint brands are Schmincke Horadam and Daniel Smith. For brushes, I use Princeton Neptune, Escoda Reserva (especially when using 100% cotton paper), and Creative Mark’s Mimik Synthetic Squirrel brushes.
I also like using travel brushes, and my favorites are the Isabey mop and the Rosemary brushes. For paper, Arches is my favorite to use.
Jacqui M. Tan
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!