GUEST DOODLEWASH: My Art Journey by Esther Geh

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of red peppers and tomatoes

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of Costus WoodsoniiMy name is Esther Geh (follow me on Facebook!) and I was born in Penang, Malaysia but have lived a large part of my life overseas, largely in Singapore and England. I have always loved art, but my career choice as an anaesthetist, and starting a family, made it hard to find time for art until I returned to Penang, and set up the Creative Art Club in 2007 with a friend.

Since then I have participated in several art exhibitions as a member of the Creative Art Club; and had a solo exhibition in 2011 at WAF Art Gallery in Straits Quay, Penang. More recently, I was invited to contribute 2 pictures to the Penang Colouring Book in 2015, have some designs used by Nubex for their Precious Cards range, and, very exciting for a budding botanical artist, to have a painting (“Durians”) exhibited at  the Society of Botanical Artists’ annual exhibition in London this year!

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of Durians

Right now my main passion  is painting botanical subjects in watercolour, though I am still exploring and developing my personal style. 

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of flower and color testsI am drawn to painting subjects that have interesting shapes, structures or patterns, the more complex the greater the challenge! Which means that some of my paintings take months to complete, also largely due to my very erratic painting schedule!

Before I start on a painting, I will make several sketches and colour notes of the subject from life. This is essential for me to work out the form of the subject, and to match colours accurately, as the majority of the larger or more complex paintings will be done from photographic references. 

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of mens and woman's shoeI use Schmincke Horadam watercolours, initially due to necessity (they are the brand that is available in the art shop in Penang), but have come to love their pure, transparent colours, which also come in a huge range to choose from! I prefer to use a limited palette, and my favourites are Translucent Yellow, Pure Yellow, Ruby Red, Magenta, Ultramarine Finest, and Helio Cerulean. With a combination of these, I can pretty much mix all the browns and greys I need. Of course, painting flowers requires just the right orange, red, pink or purple, depending on the subject, but these are add ons to my basic palette.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of various mushrooms

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Esther Geh of Aranda flowersI use Da Vinci Maestro brushes, and find that I only need one or two brushes for the subjects I choose to paint, usually a 3 and 5. My paper of choice at present  is Lanaquarelle 140lb hot pressed or cold pressed. We have started to get in Arches, but I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to paint on it, especially since it’s much more expensive! We can’t get Fabriano here, but would love to pick up a sheet or two on my travels abroad. 

I am constantly learning, and hope that I can encourage anyone who is interested in being creative to feel that they can produce remarkable works of art in their own personal style, even though they may not have had any formal art training. 

Esther Geh

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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!
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Your work is beautiful!

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  3. hmunro 1 year ago

    What gorgeous work! It’s truly an inspiration to keep learning and exploring. Thank you for sharing your talent with us, Esther.

  4. Cathe 1 year ago

    What beautiful-beautiful work Esther! I could spend hours looking at all the details in your paintings.

  5. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    Lovely work, Esther!

  6. ybromfield 1 year ago

    Your work is delicately beautiful!

    • Marilyn Parigian 1 year ago

      Love your work! The reflections on this creation are so pretty. I am new to Doodlewash and happy to have found you.
      Fayetteville, GA

  7. Esther your details are amazing! They look like photos 💕

  8. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Wow! Your colors and details are extraordinary! 😄🎨🌟

  9. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Amazing detail, with so much life. Really beautiful. (K)

  10. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Beautiful, i love the detail of your paintings, Esther. Thank you Charlie.

  11. Mauro Salgado 1 year ago

    Great work!

  12. Teri C 1 year ago

    Such beautiful work! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Lovely paintings – I can see why they would take a long time!

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Your art is astonishing. Esther – so dimensional that it looks as if I could pick up your subjects from the page. I’m impressed that you achieve such broad range with limited colors.

  15. Harrison Monahan 1 year ago

    I like how each of your paintings seem to have their own unique style, Esther! Great job, and thanks for sharing, Charlie 🙂

  16. artandmoondreams 1 year ago

    Congratulations on the London Botanical exhibition, the Durian painting is magnificent! All the paintings are stunning and beautiful, such a wonderfully inspiring post of how the love of art, (and extreme patience), can bloom in a an amazing way. Thank you for sharing.

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