GUEST ARTIST: “Stretch Your Artistic Wings” by Kari Alisa Watson

Barefoot Vintage Soul Watercolor Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

Hi, new friends! My name is Kari Alisa Watson and I’m looking forward to connecting over our shared love of art. I’m from the Puget Sound area of Washington State, where the air smells like salt and evergreen and the sky is always changing along with the weather.

I grew up in a home where art of any kind was always available and encouraged. Watercolor, oil pastels, colored pencils, FIMO dough, embroidery, photography, calligraphy… you name it. If it involved being creative, we dabbled in it. My momma, Leslie Gammelgaard, is an illustrator and watercolor artist and generally just a wonderfully creative soul. She always encouraged me to express myself through whatever creative medium interested me at the moment.Bird Watercolor Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

The direction that I ended up landing on most decidedly was music. I began piano lessons at five and continued that education through college years. I always loved playing, practicing and performing and so, as the years passed, music became my first artistic language.

I’ve always dabbled in calligraphy and lettering and doodled on everything, but other art forms faded into the background. Music has remained my focus, strength, and passion, not just a job or hobby. But my artistic soul has reminded me lately that creativity is not limited to music.

Flowers Vase Watercolor Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

I homeschool my four children and, as part of their education, I’ve attempted to give them the gift that my momma gave to me: accessibility to art projects and many means of artistic self-expression. Through sharing art with them, I rediscovered art!

I found that I missed the feel of a loaded brush poised above the paper waiting to be told where to flow, I missed the creative process of paint, paper, and water mixing with an idea to create something that brings joy!

Things That Matter Least Watercolor Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

As I painted alongside my kids I have remembered techniques that I learned from my artist-momma and tried to teach them to my littles… and as we all know, you learn more when you teach what you’ve learned!

Sea Clearly Watercolor Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

Watercolor is, for me, a time of peace, to breathe, to learn, practice, experiment, and create something beautiful. As a mom, so much of the “beauty” I try to maintain is fleeting. Washed dishes only last until the next snack, vacuumed floors are clean only until the next small person runs through the door with muddy puddle-jumpers. But the things I paint stay pretty and fresh.

The most common question asked of me as a busy mom of four is “How do you find time to paint as much as you do?” And I always answer that you make time for what you love. I like to buy time early in the morning before my Rowdies wake up. I make coffee, read my Bible and pray, and then I paint. I don’t have a fancy set up, just a cozy chair pulled up to a farmhouse table by the window in our schoolroom.

Boat Painting by Kari Alisa Watson - Doodlewash

Daniel Smith Watercolors are my favorite and I have them by my chair in an antique suitcase. My paper of choice is Saunders Waterford block and Winsor & Newton Hot Pressed block. I like the paper I use to be smooth because it makes it much easier to control my brush for lettering. I have a lovely collection of brushes in a mason jar that include Princeton and Da Vinci brushes, but I find myself most often reaching for my Silver Black Velvet brushes.

Inspiration is most often drawn from daily things that I love like a coffee cup with steam rising in the morning, flowers from my garden, a Scripture verse that stood out to me from my morning reading, or a quote that resonated with my soul or made me laugh. As a saltwater lover, I also find tremendous inspiration from anything from the sea. I still enjoy lettering and calligraphy so, as my style has grown, it continues to meld words and watercolor together.

One of the things I find exciting about watercolor is how much there is to learn. It’s just water and paint and a brush meeting paper, but there are endless techniques to learn and apply.  I’m thankful for access to learning tools like Skillshare and YouTube . While I’ve learned a lot from looking at other artist’s styles, techniques, and processes, I’m careful to paint with the voice God gave to me. I think there is enough creativity in each of us to be uniquely artistic, to establish our own style and voice.

I’m learning as I go, my art is growing with me on my journey, and I’m braver to try new things. It’s very freeing and even exciting to find that God has created each of us with a depth of creativity that we can endlessly tap into over and over without drying it up! We are not limited to one area of expertise or only one format. So join me in stretching your artistic wings and let’s see where we can fly next! Happy creating!

Kari Alisa Watson
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Follow Leslie Gammelgaard’s (my mom!) latest children’s book illustration project!

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
44 Comments
  1. Miriam 4 weeks ago

    Oh my Lord!!!! Alisa so inspiring. Thanks for sharing not only you love of art but also the inspirational love of The Lord and his Words. Thanks. Will look. You up in IG Thanks Charlie for a excellent interview. Thanks

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Thank you for taking the time to read my art story and offerring your encouragement!

  2. Laura Hale 4 weeks ago

    Kari, it is so nice to “meet you”. I love your beautiful art and enjoyed reading about your journey. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Thank you for your kind comment! It’s nice to meet you too!

  3. Karen 4 weeks ago

    Beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL!!
    And thank you!
    I never managed to paint while I was homeschooling my kids and although getting to it in the morning before “class” started would have been smart, I gave that time to other things.
    This is a new day though — so let’s paint together! 😄

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      That’s right! New day, new dreams! Let’s paint together!

  4. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Love your paintings and your philosophy! Thank you for sharing!!!

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Thank you, Mary, for your kind words!

  5. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Kari, your work is amazing. So lively and a delight to the eye! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Sandra, thank you for your encouragement!!

  6. Jodi 4 weeks ago

    Beautiful! Look forward to connecting and following! Thanks for sharing, Charlie!

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Thank you, Jodi! Yes, let’s connect!!!

  7. marmeladegypsy 4 weeks ago

    Kari, your work is just beautiful and I appreciated all the details you included about your life and passions for watercolor, as well as your supplies.

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      You’re comment gave me a smile! Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article and art!

  8. tigretora1 . 4 weeks ago

    I love your work! I have to say that the beaches on my side of the Sound look a lot rockier. Still, PNW scenery is pretty inspiring.

    • Kari Alisa 4 weeks ago

      Ah, a fellow Pacific Northwesterner!! You are so right. Our beaches here tend to be pretty rocky. Aren’t we blessed to live in such an inspiring place?

  9. Karen Fortier 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing! This was lovely.

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you, Karen!

  10. Yvonne Nikolaison 4 weeks ago

    Lovely and welcome

    • Kari Watson 4 weeks ago

      Yvonne, thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  11. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 4 weeks ago

    Greetings Kari, so happy to read about your artistic journey!!!! I love the words with your art as I so love quotes Tiny morsels of truth and inspiration and fun!!!! Nice to meet you. 🙂

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Nice to meet you, Lisa! Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave such a nice comment! I think we must both be lovers of words!

  12. I really enjoyed your words Kari as much as your art!

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you sho much, Francine!

  13. Linda Murray 4 weeks ago

    Hi Kari! I love your style! Thank you for the inspiration that comes from your story and your art! Quite lovely 🤗

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Linda, thank you for your kind comment 🤗

  14. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Lovely work!

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Thank you, Sharon!

  15. Robert J. Coleman 4 weeks ago

    Wonderful marriage of inspirational thoughts and equally inspired paintings. And the name on your Facebook page says it all: Salty Soul Art. Perfect!

    • Kari Alisa Watson 4 weeks ago

      Robert, thank you for your encouraging words! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. And I’m so happy you like my name!

  16. LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

    So beautiful! Simple, but not. I love that you have included lettering in your work. Thank you for sharing your story. See you on IG!

    • Kari Alisa Watson 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Lori! Let’s be instafriends!

  17. Sharon 3 weeks ago

    Kari, your paintings are beautiful and I love how you incorporate your calligraphy messages with them. You are an inspiration – homeschooling little ones and still finding the time to paint – none of us have an excuse now!

    • Kari Alisa Watson 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Sharon! I have found painting makes homeschooling and life work better for me and we all have time for that!

  18. antonia_ 3 weeks ago

    Such wonderful paintings!

    • Kari Alisa 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Antonia!

  19. Leslie Gammelgaard 3 weeks ago

    You’ve always inspired me to be better at life. I love everything about your artwork and the spirit and salty soul behind them. May I join your painting class?

    • Kari Alisa 3 weeks ago

      I’d love to paint with you anytime!!!!

  20. Bobbie J Stockton 3 weeks ago

    What a delightful combination of your amazing artistic talent Kari, beautiful painting and creative words which are inspiring and refreshing! What a special part of your homeschooling to be able to pass on your love of painting and creating something meaningful to your children. Thank you for sharing, I’ve been blessed! You are a natural at encouraging others to use their God given talents!

    • Kari Alisa 3 weeks ago

      Bobbie, thank you for such a thoughtful and kind comment!! I love you.

  21. Janneke Booister 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for your story and your beautiful art. I really enjoyed both 🙂

    • Kari Alisa 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much, Janneke!

  22. helenps 2 weeks ago

    Love your watercolor painting!

  23. naca A 2 weeks ago

    I love the ‘right shoes’ illustration so much!

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