Watercolor Painting by Valérie Mafrica - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup

GUEST ARTIST: “Painting In Watercolor Is Learning To Let Go!” by Valérie Mafrica

I’m Valérie Mafrica, 47, a french daily watercolor painter and… doodler ! I started painting when I was 20 years old. First oil then watercolor, but my life as an active woman and mother did not allow me to devote myself to this emerging passion.

About 8 years ago now, I felt the need to pick up my brushes. I followed a training of 8 months with a local painter and took part in a watercolor workshop with Fernand Lamy. But most of my learning has been self-taught.

My Path As A Watercolor Painter

My first and most important step in my artistic journey was to learn drawing through Betty Edward’s book Drawing On The Right Side Of Brain and Bert Dodson’s Keys To Drawing.

Contour Drawing by Valérie Mafrica - Doodlewash

I work on drawing every day, as soon as I can, even 5 minutes. I draw, scribble, sketch, trace and model with graphite mainly, in sketchbooks that are never far from me.

Watercolor was immediately the painting medium to which I turned.

Watercolor Painting by Valérie Mafrica - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup

I read all the books of Charles Reid, watched all his DVDs and it is this wonderful artist who gave me confidence and desire to continue with watercolor only. I learn from him, and my way of painting is imbued with his advice, but I try to assert and find my own style.

My Watercolor Painting Tools

I only use honey-based pigments Sennelier tubes, pure Kolinsky red sable brushes, and watercolor paper, fine grain, Montval or Fabriano.

My palette is quite small and consists of about 20 colors. I know it on the fingertips, and I do not like to change.

My Painting Process

I always start with a 2B graphite pencil outline contour drawing. It allows me to interpret a subject and reason just in terms of shapes, areas of different values, trying to merge areas of similar values.

Then I apply my color with a lot of water (too much in general but I like the letting go that the water compels me to adopt) on dry paper. At this point, I sometimes add pure pigment,wet in wet.  I try to get the right value and good color immediately. I don’t work a lot by layering washes. I also avoid retouching to keep a maximum of spontaneity. I prefer to start over again if I am not satisfied.

My Inspiration

I find my painting subjects most of the time on the internet. I use other users’ photos on sites such as PaintMyPhoto or Flickr. But I also use my own photos or composition. My cats are a great source of inspiration.

Watercolor Painting by Valérie Mafrica - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup

I have recently developed a real interest in portraiture. To find inspiration, I recommend the Sktchy app, which offers to paint the photos made available by other users.

I would like to paint in « plein air », according to a real subject but I have not yet managed to overcome my shyness!

I like to paint all that surrounds me, without restriction, according to the desire of the moment. Animals, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, everything that touches me and will catch my eye. There is no bad subject. Everything lends itself to an artistic interpretation if the painter decides it.

Sharing My Artwork

Watercolor Painting by Valérie Mafrica - Doodlewash - #WorldWatercolorGroup

I participated in some local exhibitions of amateur painters. But I share and communicate about my art mostly through the web.

I find help, advice, criticism, encouragement, congratulations, and sometimes, what is the best reward for an artist (still alive…) some customers!

My Approach To Watercolor

The key to my vision of watercolor is letting go, painting loose. I like the idea of conveying emotions and suggesting things by colored spots. It’s both poetic and magical as a concept, isn’t it?

Valérie Mafrica
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28 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Painting In Watercolor Is Learning To Let Go!” by Valérie Mafrica

  1. Such a wonderful style. I really love what you do with the colors. I’m looking forward to when you get involved in Plein Air, urban sketching, and maybe cafeteria and other interior sketching. Liz Steel is one of my favorites in the ink/color wash urban sketching genre. So is Stephanie Bower. But you have a niche right where you are.

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey of love for watercolour and the determination that you have to continue doing art. Your artwork is beautiful. Love it very much!

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