Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman's face

GUEST ARTIST: “Watercolour Is Beyond An Art Supply. It’s Emotion On A Palette.” by Jane Davenport

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman

My name is Jane Davenport and I’m from Byron Bay, Australia. I like to think of my brushes as harbouring crowds of imaginary people and creatures, all just waiting patiently to be drawn into existence, one by one. I rarely use references because I like to create from my imagination. What allows me the confidence in tapping into my imagination like that is a regular practice of life-drawing.

Drawing and painting have long been my friends.  I started my art career as the kid-who-could-draw, to my first job as a Fashion Illustrator and I went on to being a professional Artist with my own gallery and my work being internationaly licensed. Lots of practice and work in between, of course!  Drawing can be the super-highway straight to the heart of your creativity! I believe drawing is theatre, so I base my artwork style on reality, but then heighten the elements that fascinate me until I arrive at my own style which is full of whimsical faces, colors and forms. 

There are absolutely no rules in art and everything I present in my classes  are simply ideas. My greatest wish is for you to build your own style, and it’s such a privilege to help you with that.

I have a confession to make: I am an Art Supply Junkie.

Doodlewash: Watercolor supplies of Jane Davenport

I love art supplies so much I created an online workshop all about them and opened an art supply store! Watercolour is a particular passion and I have an unnecessarily large collection of paint. They are all dearly beloved because each have their own strengths. 

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman with red flower in hair

As a mermaid at heart, I absolutely love watercolor because it is liquid and goes where it wants to. Most other media just sits exactly where it’s placed, but watercolor moves like a living thing and each stroke does amazing things on its own while drying. Like the ocean, you can’t really tame watercolor, you just have to learn to put yourself into that energy and ride along with it! 

When you hear ‘watercolours’ you may think of the type that comes in a tube or pan. But watercolours come in a delightful variety of forms.  Peerless are my favourite because I can carry them with me wherever I go. 

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of face in blue purple

I like to think of my Peerless Palette as a rainbow in my journal! I’ve also created my own unique edition of these unique watercolors. Concentrated colour is painted onto a special film that you can then cut and use in small portions. Perfect for travel! No matter what type or brand of watercolor you use, they are all fun, and capable of helping you create either bright and vivid or soft and ethereal artwork.

Try a very wet brush to draw up the colour from the palette. In a good quality watercolor, a little bit of pigment can go a long way. When you first lay down the color, it is intense and as the pigment drains from the brush, it becomes lighter and lighter.  As watercolor dries it usually becomes lighter. So I tend to ‘overdo’ the color a little, as I know it will change. 

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman's face with words

One of my favourite ways to use watercolor is with a water-proof pen sketch. The paint contrasts with the pen in a delightful way and the messier and looser the brush strokes, the better. You can start with the watercolor and add the pen for details later, or add the watercolor on top of the sketch. 

A swish with a watercolour brush, and you’ve got absolute magic. You can create unique, spontaneous, loose and splashy faces with sparkle! Making art is a physical experience.  So much inspiration comes from the way it actually feels to put our tools to a surface we like. 

By using art materials that allow me to enjoy the process so much, ideas can roam free, inspiration and imagination bubble to the surface and I create art that I love with ease. I don’t have to worry about being an ‘expert’, or creating a perfect drawing first. I just dive right in with a smile on my face.

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman with flower in hair

Some of my favourite watercolors are :

Daniel Smith

These paints are an invitation to play. They granulate, they make amazing watermarks. Each brushstroke is a beautiful, fascinating adventure!

I consider these colours ‘alive’ because they do so much movement on their own, which makes them so exciting to use.

I just had the pleasure of teaching at the Daniel Smith Store in Seattle and got the rare opportunity of seeing ‘behind the scenes’ as paint was made amongst giant bags of pigment. Fascinating!

Favourite Daniel Smith colours include:

  • Moonglo
  • Amazonite Genuine
  • Amethyst Genuine
  • Shadow Violet
  • Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Genuine
  • Cascade Green
  • Serpentine genuine
  • Kyanite genuine
  • Titanium Buff
  • Opera
  • Quin Coral

 I could just go on adding all 250+ colours here!

I have a Jane Davenport Palette dot try-it card and full list here!

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman teal blue

Schmincke Horadam Pan

I lean on these colours, because I know them. I trust them. I know what is going to happen. Working with these pans is convenient and immediate. 

My most used colours include:

  • Naples Yellow Reddish 
  • Neutral Tint
  • Indigo
  • Helio Turquoise
  • All three of the Brilliant Purples

You can see my ‘Jane Davenport Schmincke Palette’ by clicking here!

Peerless Watercolors

These are wonderfully weird! They are dye-based and SUPER vibrant. They come in an unusual sheet form and are fantastic for urban sketching and travel.

I have created 5 exclusive colours for Peerless which you can find here!

Winsor & Newton

Twilight colours are fantastic. Aqua Green is a particular favourite of mine.

Jane Davenport Online Workshops

I have several Online classes that focus on watercolour techniques. I like to mash things that I love to create new opportunities for creativity. A favourite has been my Wonderland class where we introduced the Alice ‘Universe’ to my favourite medium.

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman with flower

Watercolour is just like the Cheshire Cat...

you never quite know what it is going to do… or what the effects will be…

Watercolour is just like the Mad Hatter

brilliant, whacky and not quite in step with you,

but a true friend none the less.

Watercolour is just like the White Rabbit

It rushes, then stops and ponders, only to change it’s mind and direction,

but always ends up where it was going anyway.

Watercolour can be just like the Queen of Hearts

dramatic and unforgiving!

Doodlewash and watercolor by Jane Davenport of woman limited tones

Watercolour makes me feel like Alice. I must be brave with my brush once I start my journey across the page, as there is no going back.I am drawn on to see what comes next, trusting that my curiosity and wits will get me through whatever comes along my path. I must collaborate with watercolor just as Alice had to with the characters she meets on her many adventures. 

My next workshop, which starts on August 1st focuses on Mermaids and Watercolor. It is called Vitamin Sea.

I hope you continue on your watercolour journey and if you would like me to assist, you can find me at the links below! 

Portrait of Jane Davenport Artist

Jane Davenport

Join us for World Watercolor Month in July! Click here to learn more!

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11 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Watercolour Is Beyond An Art Supply. It’s Emotion On A Palette.” by Jane Davenport

  1. Thank you Charlie for this feature I looove Jane her work and creativity is stunning! I am inspired often from her work when I paint some of my whimsical faces! I also have some of her great books! She also has a wonderful YouTube Channel…Congratulation Jane for be here on doodlewash today and be part of this amazing community! <3 😉 Carolina

  2. Love seeing this post :). I have one of Jane’s books at home, and I’m getting it out as soon as I get there. Jane, thanks so much for spreading your inspiration!

  3. Outstanding feature post and brilliant paintings! Love the link between being a mermaid at heart and watercolors, also the comparisons to Alice and her fellow characters. So many wonderful gems here, and beautiful inspirations…thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Beautiful work, a always, Jane! I CAN’T WAIT to take the new Vitamin Sea class with you next month. You inspire me and my art has evolved so beautifully through your classes! I cannot recommend Jane’s classes enough!! Hope to see you all there!

  5. Hi Jane. Man you are good! I have been to many places in my life, but never Australia. Would love to visit someday. I like what you said in your blog…”There are absolutely no rules in art and everything I present in my classes are simply ideas.” For me this is so true. I’m self taught. I started out with water color in my twenties, and have been absent from painting for over 30 years until this year. Now I’m into acrylic, and I paint on wood canvases that I create. So, your “no rules” comment strikes a cord with me. Keep up the good work Jane. You are an inspiration for others to pick up a brush. Kevin

  6. This is an OLD post that I’m just now viewing. When I saw Jane Davenport’s name, I HAD to see her work. I LOVE anything she paints! And I dream that I can paint something 1/2 as well as she does. (Make that 1/4 as well.)

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