Hi , I am Ritvik Sharma (follow me on Facebook!). I have lived in many places in the US and a few other countries, but call Albany, New York home for now. I spent about 5 years in Pacific Northwest and was mesmerized by the abundant natural beauty. I think Pacific Northwest naturally brings out the landscape painter in you. There was a time in my watercolor journey when I could not paint enough evergreens!
I have no formal art education or degree, mostly all self-taught, with help from the mighty internet. As a kid I did dabble in watercolors, but it was shelved for math and sciences. But the artist me never quit and a few years ago, I picked up watercolors again. Since then, I have been painting frequently.
As a kid I was fascinated with the paintings of Claude Monet and Pierre-August Renoir and found them incredibly inspirational. When painting, I like to compose a scene that tells a story. I have always been drawn to paint such subjects and my goal is to convey the mood. It is a slow learning process and each painting is a step towards that goal.
I started mostly as a landscape painter, inspired by the beautiful and lush green valley of my home town Chamba, India, surrounded by mountains, trees and rivers. I wanted to capture the beauty of nature in my paintings. My stay in Pacific Northwest Seattle and surroundings ignited that desire of painting again.
I do more paintings and less studies. Because I always want to capture the mood I mostly end up doing a painting. So much against conventional wisdom. But I love it! I do, however, do a single painting many times and keep all the old versions.
Over time, I have been inspired to paint amazing beautiful architecture around me. I learnt that buildings teach perspective in a hurry! Over time, my goal is to learn painting loose streetscapes.
When I restarted painting again a few years ago, I ignored all conventional wisdom and dabbled with lots and lots of colors. At one point I had around 50 different colors! During my journey, I realized that as you start to grow as an artist your palette might start to shrink. I have used Winsor & Newton Cotman, Van Gogh and Daniel Smith watercolors.
About 5 to 6 months ago, I decided to restrict my palette to 12 colors and see what happens. My palette currently consists entirely of Daniel Smith colors. I found that I like a metal paint box style palette more than the plastic ones for palettes. I am currently using a Holbein style palette at home and a small metal box with half pans when I do plein air.
I use Arches 140lb cold press paper for all my paintings, and in addition to that, I keep two sketch books 90 lbs and 140 lbs. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to practice a little before a big project.
I am member of Urban Sketchers group of Albany and we meet every other Friday to sketch and paint at locations. Being a member of this group has helped me not worry about people watching you paint and sketch. I have to admit an easel draws some attention!
For inspiration, I like to also look at kids’ paintings and if there is an exhibition in the town I would go. It is amazing what you can learn from kids’ painting. Can you imagine what would you paint when you are free as a kid!
I am enjoying every step of this artistic journey and feel very lucky. Thanks to Charlie for giving me the opportunity to share my journey with all you wonderful artists.
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!