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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in
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!