GUEST DOODLEWASH: Teaching Sketching Is My Passion

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of artichokes and vegetables carrots onions mushrooms

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of Ladies Dining under chandelierHi, I’m Judy Salleh and I’m originally from Solihull in the UK but spent half my life in Oxford before moving permanently to Sydney, Australia in 2002 (visit my website here and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!)

I call myself a “sketchaholic” and sketch on a daily basis, often late into the night happily painting until I suddenly realise “Holy Moly! It’s 1.30am, better get some sleep”. For the past 2½ years I have been fortunate enough to work teaching sketching in Sydney and it’s a joy, I simply love it. My husband tells me that our house looks more like an art shop than a home as I scatter my paints, pens and paper around with wild abandon.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of Hawaiian TeacupThroughout my life my love for art has been a true passion and began as a child when I drove my mother insane doodling on everything. “Stop drawing on everything” she wailed, but her words fell on deaf ears. By the time I was in my teens she described me as “bohemian” when I covered my walls with hideous murals!
I have had a fun and creative life so far – I’ve travelled the world, and had some amazing adventures. I studied a languages degree and have lived in Malaysia, Spain and the UK, always sketching.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of 29 Rickard Road

I’ve worked in a wide array of jobs including Taxi Driver, Real Estate Agent, and Ski Instructor to name a few. I worked in Thredbo Ski Resort (yes we have ski resorts in Australia!) for numerous ski seasons where I won the annual “Body Painting Competition” for 4 consecutive years. That was fun, painting on human bodies!

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of sailboats

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of teapot and cup and saucerOn one trip I met my husband who was my batik teacher in Malaysia. I fell in love designing a sarong! I dragged him back to England and we set up a T-Shirt design and screen-printing company in Oxford and I was able to immerse myself in being creative – I began painting and exhibiting in earnest, mainly using watercolour and chalk pastels and designed Greeting Cards and Children’s Illustrations before getting itchy feet again and moving the whole family to Sydney, Australia.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of older man in poolI’ve been in Australia for 14 years now and during the past three years, I have been able once more to spend my life immersed in art. Teaching sketching has filled my heart with joy. I am comfortable sketching just about anything, be it buildings, landscapes, objects or people and find all of them fun. I will normally sketch straight with ink and then add colour afterwards, normally watercolour.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of sketchbook pageI had to give up my handbags because of my sketching addiction and bought a gorgeous leather rucksack so I can always have my watercolours and sketchbooks with me. My usual sketching kit contains a white Uniball gel pen, a Pentel brushpen, a Pilot Parallel Pen for calligraphy & various fountain pens. I have a selection of Lamy and Pilot pens & a Noodlers Ahab Pen which has a flexible nib. This creates beautiful different width lines. For years I used Winsor & Newton and Schmincke watercolours but last year purchased a set of 100 (Daniel Smith Watercolours from the USA gulp!) and am in love with them. Oh well, “You can never have too many art supplies!”, that’s my motto.

I paint mainly with Rosemary and Co dagger brushes from the UK and Escoda travel brushes, and prefer white paper for sketching as I like my watercolours to stay vibrant and particularly like Stillman and Birn Sketchbooks with white paper such as the Alpha, Beta and Zeta.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of beach

I particularly love watercolour and the colour turquoise and enjoy sketching on location. I feel that the fastest sketches often turn out the best such as when I do a demonstration for my students. There is a looseness and freedom to them.

Doodlewash and watercolor painting by Judy Salleh of seaside house and red bikeIf I were to offer any advice to anyone interested in sketching it would be to just have a go. Who cares if your sketch is wobbly or wonky – it all adds to the character. In fact the faster loose wobbly sketches turn out to be the most dynamic. Find other groups of sketchers and don’t be afraid to join – I frequently sketch with a few different groups in Sydney, and it’s fun to make new friends and travel to different places.

Last year, I went to the Urban Sketching Symposium in Singapore – pure heaven surrounded by hundreds of fellow sketchers and I am off to the Urban sketching Symposium in Manchester and Sketchiton in Paris this July to do more Urban Sketching courses. I love taking classes with other teachers – you can never stop learning. I’m so happy right now doing what I love!

Judy Salleh

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

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  1. Arts & Rhymes 6 years ago

    Very lovely work! 🙂

  2. wendymuldon 6 years ago

    Awesome work! I love the calligraphy letters on the dog page. So nice!

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Thank you Wendy, I did the calligraphy with a Pilot Parralel Pen and some new Turquoise Pilot ink which I recently acquired – it’s a fun colour

      • wendymuldon 6 years ago

        Wow! The Turquoise ink sounds just lovely. I tought it was gouache!

  3. Jodi 6 years ago

    Awesome stuff!!!

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Thanks Jodi, I’m mad about sketching so it’s a joy to me 🙂

  4. ngfayeng 6 years ago

    I absolutely love your style and the colours you choose!

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      I appreciate your compliment I try to sometimes use more muted colours but have found that vibrant colours keep me happy. Also the light in Australia is very beautiful so it’s nice to use some pure colour sometimes

  5. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Wonderful story, and art! (K)

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      I’m glad you liked my story – I actually wrote more initially and then tried to edit it down so it didn’t bore people. I could talk about art materials and sketching all day long!

  6. GeorgieMoon 6 years ago

    I loved reading this guest blog, she sounds a wonderful person who does brilliant work.

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Georgie that was a lovely thing to say! I think I am very lucky to be able to spend my life sketching doing something I love

  7. Snehal Kank 6 years ago

    wonderful stuff! 🙂

  8. Mimi 6 years ago

    Omg, she married a Malaysian. Wish I can meet her when she’s in Malaysia and learn something new from her since I’m a Malaysian too

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Hi Mimi, glad to hear you’re from Malaysia, I love it there! I’m off to Singapore next week so will be very close. I love sketching in Malaysia too.

      • Mimi 6 years ago

        Aww you’re so sweet, wish I could learn something from you 😊

  9. Laura (PA Pict) 6 years ago

    Your art work is wonderful. You’ve got a nice balance between strong lines and looseness.

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      That’s a great compliment Laura, I do try to be loose with my sketching but I find that if I am doing some art for a commission or exhibition then I instantly tighten up which can be very frustrating. I think that more often than not most people’s fast spontaneous work ends up looking the best as there is a freshness and freedom in the line.

  10. M. L. Kappa 6 years ago

    Good stuff, Judy. I love your enthusiasm, too!

  11. artandmoondreams 6 years ago

    Beautiful sketches and paintings. Great feature post, such an inspirational and encouraging tale of a creative journey. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      I’m glad you like hearing about my journey so far, I am really happy with where I’ve ended up now – I love my job and adore Sydney, so that makes for one happy Judy!

  12. Teri C 6 years ago

    Beautiful work! I can feel your love of painting just by seeing your enthusiastic words!

    • Author

      Appreciate that Teri!! 😃💕I’m soooo excited! And yeah…total watercolor addict! Hehe… it’s actually super comforting to find out I’m not alone! Lol

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      It’s lovely to hear that you can feel my love for art. In fact I find myself so mad about it that I have sketchbooks and paints scattered everywhere and end up distracted even in the middle of cooking dinner. Lucky my hubby is so very easy-going.

  13. Jan B 6 years ago

    As one of Judy’s students I’m delighted to see her on Doodlewash. She’s a wonderful teacher, so encouraging and generous with her time.

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Jan, you’re so kind! I’m happy you have looked at my post and it’s been a joy having you as a student, we’ve had lots of fun times!

  14. fidelmaelizabeth 6 years ago

    Very inspiring post as someone fairly new to sketching and painting!

  15. Art We Wonderful 6 years ago

    Love the vibrancy of Judy’s work! And thanks, Judy, for the introduction to Sketch It On, too!

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Thanks so much I appreciate your comments. I love vibrant colours and can’t help myself!

  16. fukustory 6 years ago

    fine work, I love it!

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Great to hear you like my work Fukustory, thank you!

  17. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Judy, your art is so delightful and expressive. I love your sense of freedom and adventure as you sketch every where you go. Your art reflects your sense of fun.
    Thanks, Charlie, for inviting Judy.

    • Judy Salleh 6 years ago

      Thank you Sharon I really feel that sketching has changed my life – no time is ever wasted as I sketch everywhere I go!

    • Author

      You’re quite welcome, Sharon! It was such a pleasure to feature, Judy! 😃

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