Tiger Roaring Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

GUEST ARTIST: “Where The Watercolors Happen” by Kate Plum

My name is Kate and I’m an artist based in beautiful County Kerry, Ireland. I was studying graphic design, advertising and fine arts, but that was ages ago. After finishing my studies, I worked as a graphic and web designer, where I did mostly digital work. A few years ago, I started to paint again. It was a kind of stress relief therapy for me.

Bird Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

About 2 years ago, I decided to try to make my art living and here I am now. It’s not easy as it seems to be, especially if you must mind house, 3 kids and be a public relation, production, sale and “god-only-knows-what-else” manager.

My biggest love now is watercolor, but sometimes I need a change so I go for oils or painting clothes or mugs or whatever.

Birds Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

I love to paint birds and wild animals, but recently I discovered amazing world of… fruits and really normal everyday things which go perfectly as a watercolor painting objects.

Usually I paint full size, “proper” paintings. But with the beginning of this year I’ve decided to make something different and more challenging. I’ve decided to go for everyday doodles in the sketchbook. I started very simple, 10mins a day for a sketch, but with time, believe me or not, I got addicted.

I’m already on my 4th sketchbook this year and I can’t stop thinking about it and painting next picture. And it’s not like a quick “whatever” doodle, it must be something, some story hidden in the picture.

Where the ideas for everyday paintings coming from? – you ask. That depends on a day I’ll answer. Sometimes, I have million of ideas in my head. I can get inspiration from anything that’s around me. That’s really amazing and I plan for a few days in advance. It’s a great feeling when you have something to wait for, some new idea which needs to be painted.

But some other days nothing wants to come out. Just struggle and frustration. The more I wonder what to paint the less these ideas suit me. What to do then? Do something different, something that will help you to clear your mind, what you never did but always wanted to try or just simply take a break and do nothing.

And with time, your struggle will pass and new energy will come. Honestly that’s a never ending story, smaller or bigger ups and downs, in every artist’s life. If none of my ways work for you, try to find your own way to overcome it.

Mouse Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

What supplies do I use?

Glasses Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

I started with Royal Talens Van Gogh watercolors. They’re pretty great and not so expensive. Now I’m using Winsor & Newton Artist watercolors and Golden’s QoR Watercolors, both of them are amazing, but still sometimes I’m coming back to Royal Talens.

Brushes? I went through many of brands: Kolibri, Da Vinci, Winsor & Newton, Cotman, Chinese traditional brushes and many of kinds: synthetic, natural, mixed. I love them all, but now I stick to Winsor & Newton series 7 sable brushes and my beloved Chinese traditional brushes.

Paper? Again, many brands I’ve tried and some I like and some don’t. My most favorite so far is Fabriano, any kind. And by “any” I mean really any possible kind of Fabriano paper you can find. All of them are amazing.

Birds Watercolor Painting by Kate Plum - Doodlewash

People tell me “I wish my paintings would be so good as yours, but I can’t do it.” I always say: “Everyone can paint or draw. All is in your head and your attitude. If you want to do something just do it. I wouldn’t be here where I am without years of practice and hard work. So get a piece of paper, pencil or brush and draw or paint, whatever, but do it, 10-30 minutes every day. And in no time, you’ll see how much you’ve improved.”

Kate Plum

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47 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Where The Watercolors Happen” by Kate Plum

  1. Oh my goodness Kate! Your paintings are just beautiful, I love them all. You are definitely an inspiration, thank you for sharing your lovely creations with Doodlewash. 🙂

  2. Kate, your paintings are a visual delight. I’ve enjoyed looking for the stories within them. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d like to know how you get those delicate white whiskers and other details over the watercolors? It doesn’t seem you could use a mask and get such thin lines. But maybe you can.

    1. Thanks a million for your kind words. Of course I can share my “art secrets” with you 😁 there are two options: 1. Masking fluid – when I have tome to play 2. White gel pen – when I’m lazy. Masking fluid is tricky but the point is that if you learn how it works it will work for you. And another thing: it can be applied with almost anything not only with brush, so for the very thin lines I use very thin supplies like for example dip pens or sharpened bamboo sticks. Hope it helps. 😊

  3. Your work is amazing, Kate! I think you hit the nail on the head describing the back and forth between inspirtion and struggle. I think the struggle is where you build up for the inspiration, but that doesn’t make it easier to endure. Thank you for sharing your art and story with us.

  4. Wow ! Love your work Kate, I am in awe. I am huge fan of Fabriano, making paper for 700 years, truly amazing. I’m a total paper junkie, and the sketchbooks and pads are building up here. We might need a support group !

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