GUEST ARTIST: “A Touch Of Whimsy” by Karalee Hammes

Hummingbird Watercolor Painting by Karalee Hammes - Doodlewash

My name is Karalee Hammes, originally from rural southern Wisconsin, and now living in Ellenton, Florida. I have been involved in art since I was a child.  Some of my earliest memories are as a toddler going with my mother to “Women’s Club” meetings.  I would have the ladies draw a squiggle on a piece of paper and then I would make something out of it. From those little squiggles grew my love of art.  I spent many hours drawing and painting growing up. Art became my solace, my friend and companion.

My mother and grandmother were both painters who encouraged me to continue my pursuit of my passion. During junior high and high school, I was very lucky that I had a wonderful art teacher, Richard Jensen, who encouraged me, guided and scolded me when appropriate.  He hated cute and when I produced something that was, he would make me do it over because I was “better than that”. Mr. Jensen went on from our small high school after my Junior year, but his faith and lessons stayed with me.

Warbler Watercolor Painting by Karalee Hammes - Doodlewash

As early as my Senior year in high school I was teaching through work study. I substituted for the art teacher as well as handled my own classes. Apart from Mr. Jensen I am primarily self-taught. I have spent many years developing my skills in a variety of mediums from drawing to the fine arts of watercolor, oils. acrylic and pastels.

I started teaching beginning drawing for a small studio in my hometown. To this day, I enjoy teaching people how to discover their artist within whether individually or in large groups.

In 1987, my husband, son and I moved from Wisconsin to the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii. I was active in the local art scene, exhibiting at a coop gallery in Hanalei, Kauai.  While in Hawaii, I worked mainly in oils, acrylics and pastels (oil and soft). I loved the brilliant colors of the island and found painting the local birds and flowers helped me develop my color sense to a much higher level. In 1997, my husband and I moved to the Sarasota, Florida area where I have resided ever since.

Boat Watercolor Painting by Karalee Hammes - Doodlewash

Home To Roost (11×14)

Art Battle 2019 - Karalee Hammes

Art Battle 2019

In January 2019 I was one of twelve artists selected to participate in Art Battle Sarasota. Art Battle is a competition where twelve artists compete in groups of 6 to complete a 20-minute acrylic painting.  Two from each group are voted on from the audience and go on to the finals.  I didn’t place but really enjoyed working with new artists from the area.

When I work with watercolors, I prefer tubes because the are much higher in pigment, with a preference for Mission as well as Winsor & Newton.  When I teach, I try to stress to my students that it’s not the number of paints that you have but the quality of the pigment.

I always start my first lesson teaching color mixing and developing a color wheel. My students are provided with true red, medium yellow and ultramarine blue. From that basic palette they learn to mix and go on to create landscape and still life paintings that they are truly proud to call their own.

My objective in teaching is to help the student discover the joy of creating as well as helping see the world in a new way.  My teaching philosophy is to have the student “see what they are creating, whether painting or drawing rather than what they see”.

I prefer to paint realistically; however, I’ve been told my pieces have a “touch of whimsy”. I enjoy painting flora and fauna as well as landscapes.  Recently I’ve started a series of paintings of boats and landmarks that are singular to our beautiful west coast of Florida.

Boat Watercolor Painting by Karalee Hammes - Doodlewash

The Caroline C (18×24)

I enjoy gallery competitions and do occasional art shows.

I also illustrate children’s books and have recently completed a series of children’s self-help books that are on Amazon.

Karalee Hammes
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9 Comments
  1. The Happy Book Blog. 1 month ago

    Very interesting and such beautiful paintings.

  2. naca A 1 month ago

    Your work does make me smile… that ‘whimsy’ is valuable in a world that needs more joy, so thank you!

  3. Linda M. Gigliotti 1 month ago

    When your teacher called your art cute did he mean it was not realistic? Try as I may to make loose, atmospheric paintings those always want to turn out realistic. Cute is good too, I love it.

  4. rubiescorner 1 month ago

    These are lovely.

  5. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    Karalee, your work is amazing, rich and varied! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 month ago

    You have such an interesting story, Karalee. Thank you for sharing it, for showing us your beautiful art. Your students are lucky to be taught by such a talented teacher.

  7. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 month ago

    Nice to meet you!!! Your art is inspiring. 🙂

  8. Frances Turano 1 month ago

    I enjoyed your story very much, especially about always being connected to your creative side, and the honest critiques you received, which as we all know, force us to be better. it’s clear to see that you love the sea! Your boat photo, with the water beneath, was my favorite and lots of work! Being an instructor and having your thumb in so many pies must be so rewarding. I look forward to more of your story in the days ahead. 🙂

  9. Janneke Booister 1 month ago

    Thank you for sharing your artwork and your inspiring story 🙂

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