GUEST ARTIST: “Creating Light And Atmosphere In Art” by Martin Azzopardi

Watercolor Painting by Martin Azzopardi - Doodlewash

My name is Martin Azzopardi and I am Australian born to Maltese parents. I lived most of my life in Australia and my last 8 years I’ve been fortunate to live in Europe. Europe inspires me, mainly for its beauty, character and vibrancy and I have travelled almost throughout. It is also a smorgasbord of cityscapes and subjects for the avid artist.

I guess I would call myself more of a landscape/architectural artist who has an interest in the play of light and atmosphere on the subjects. Although lately, I am also interested in developing my study of portraits and the human form. I see my art as a gift which needs to be nurtured and one I am very grateful to have.

After a recent, fairly serious accident from which I am still recovering this has been highlighted even more to me now, because we never know when it could be gone. From a very young age, I recall myself drawing and painting in my spare time. It was something that was burning in me and that I loved to do and continue to do.

Watercolor Painting by Martin Azzopardi - Doodlewash

As I grew into my teens and began work, I pursued my painting mainly on weekends and when I had spare time, as I worked in a full time government job for 22 years. Having a busy life made it difficult to spend time on my art, but I always managed to find time to attend art classes in evenings and weekends to learn more on the techniques required in painting and drawing.

My classes included oils and watercolors painting, life drawing and portraits in pastels. Oils and watercolors are my first choice, but I prefer watercolours because of their transparency and vibrancy.

I attended the Ruth Tuck school of watercolour classes in the evenings where I learnt about different techniques. I am also a huge fan of the world renown artist Sir Hans Heysen who lived and painted close to where I grew up in Adelaide, Australia. His use of light in his watercolour paintings of landscapes, farm scenes and gum trees had me captivated from a young age. He died just after I was born, but his paintings inspired me for the rest of my life.

Since then, I have been inspired by many modern day artists and two years ago I did a workshop with the acclaimed watercolour artist Thomas Schaller who is a master of creating light in paintings. From him, I learnt a great deal and feel my watercolour painting improved substantially. I am always learning with every painting I do and it’s only by drawing and painting regularly that I improve.

Watercolor Painting by Martin Azzopardi - Doodlewash

Before I begin a painting, I prefer to do a quick, small sketch of my subject to familiarize myself with proportions, tones and perspective. After all, a good painting is only as good as the drawing it begins with. Sometimes, I will do a small practice painting to determine colors before I start, because I find it daunting to begin a painting without some guidelines. From this I determine my tones and values, saved whites, mid shades and darks. I’m still evolving this in my works.

I then put my first washes of colors to create the background, saving areas of white where I want my highlights, let that dry, then work up my colors from there. I approach every painting similarly but don’t use any particular system just as long as there is the right amount of tones and values in the painting so it works.

I am attracted to color so my paintings tend to be colorful, but I also realize the importance of toning down color to give a more realistic look. At the moment I’m using Van Gogh watercolours combined with Winsor & Newton.

In the past, I’ve used a mixture of watercolour papers but am currently using Arches. My art is still evolving, and I’m now making more time to practice my drawing and painting to strengthen my skills and hopefully improve my paintings in the future.

Over the past years, I have had some small exhibitions and lately, after requests from friends to see more and for sales, I use my Facebook page (Martin Azzopardi Art).

I believe painting is a continuous process of challenging yourself. Not being afraid to explore and try new things, but instead, evolve through life experiences and practice. We all tend to be critics to our own work, but my experience is not to be to hard on yourselves.

Watercolor Painting by Martin Azzopardi - Doodlewash
Lastly, I would like to wish all you fellow artists a very happy and creative painting in the future.

Martin Azzopardi
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Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!

13 Comments
  1. Beautiful work!

  2. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    Martin, your work has a fabulous sense of light! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

  3. Monique 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful work..I aspire to paint with light!I am wondering if the 3rd painting is of the entrance to St Paul de Mausole in St-Rémy? Where van Gogh spent one yr of his life? It’s beautiful.

  4. bingingonabudget 3 weeks ago

    Wow these are beautiful pieces of work. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  5. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful work! Thank you for sharing your story!

  6. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    Oh my! I don’t know how you could improve your work. It is all wonderfully beautiful. Thank you for teaching us another area in watercolor.

  7. MAGNY TJELTA 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing! Your work is Beautiful 🍀🍀🍀

  8. Leslie Grindey 3 weeks ago

    very beautiful

  9. Janneke Booister 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and all those wonderful paintings! 🙂 🙂

  10. Laura (PA Pict) 3 weeks ago

    Gorgeous paintings. I am very impressed by your handling of light and shade and the way you convey surface texture and reflections. Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Lovely colors and details in architectural paintings! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Sandy 3 weeks ago

    Lovely work. I also appreciate the insights on the thought and work process you usually use to get what you want. Also like the idea of taking classes from various places and people to learn new things. I tend to go to a book first but a live instructor really should be on my list of learning options.

  13. Shar Kennett 2 weeks ago

    Love all the light and atmosphere.

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