GUEST ARTIST: “The Journey IS the Goal” by Rubeena Ianigro

Strangeness Flowers Watercolor by Rubeena Ianigro - Doodlewash

At heart, I am a passionate learner. I am 100 percent introverted in the sense that my inner world is my playground. I could stay there for hours. My passion for learning takes me in countless directions, and that is precisely why I don’t specialize in any one thing. And that is okay with me.

I grew up in Jersey City, which is right across the river from New York City. I grew up around other immigrants, which I believe gave me the ability to connect with people on so many levels. Despite our different ethnic backgrounds, we had a lot of the same struggles and goals. So basically, I am a city girl with a passion for learning and making connections.


I don’t remember creating for fun before 2014. I tell people that I discovered the world of papercrafting accidentally, but I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason. Getting into the world stamping and making handmade cards led me to discovering the world of coloring mediums. I have only ever used color pencils or crayons in school, and school was decades ago.

The only things in my stationary stash were pencils, pens, and erasers. In 2014, I invested in ink pads for stamping, color pencils, watercolors, and alcohol markers. When I get into a new hobby, I go all in. Before crafting, I was reading a lot and I still have so many books sitting on my custom-made bookshelves. I’m a bit of a collector. I get that from my father.

Initially when I started making cards, I focused on using alcohol markers to color because I believed they gave me more control. I didn’t get serious about watercoloring until this year (2018) after a fourteen-month hiatus from crafting due to marriage and working full-time. If I am being honest, it was also because I needed a break from the pressure I was placing on myself to do better.

I learned to let go. I learned to accept myself and accept where I am. I learned that it takes time, patience, and hard work. And I learned to focus on progress, not on feedback or numbers.

I can’t believe how much I love to watercolor. What I mean is that I can’t believe I didn’t start earlier when I had the tools within reach. I invested in artist quality watercolors around the time I had my daughter in mid-March of this year because I was not going to let a little human take away my passion for learning. I set all kinds of goals and start different “series” and then I stop. That’s because I am going with the flow. I like to try things out.

In the last few months, I have invested in different watercolors — liquid, tube, pan, brush, marker, pencils, etc.  I invested in other mediums as well — gouache, acrylics, and pastels. Most of my clothes may be neutrals, but I love color. I love surrounding myself with beautiful things. I want to try everything so I can learn and grow.

My favorite watercolors right now are Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors. They were my biggest investment, and I am learning about each color slowly. I use various brushes, but my favorite has been the Escoda Reserva Travel Round 0 brush. I love detail work and having a sense of control. Most of the paper I now use is 100% cotton, cold-pressed, and 320gsm in weight without caring too much for the brand.

Since I live in the city and at home with a baby, much of my inspiration comes from reflection or online through Pinterest, Instagram, or just browsing online images. It also comes from the stamps I use. I have books, magazines, and prints that inspire me, too. I only got into sketching this year so freehand watercoloring is still new to me. I started sketching and watercoloring flowers, trying to learn depth, dimension, and details. I have a long way to go, but I am proud of my progress and proud for trying.

I also have a fascination with the fact that the world is so much bigger than we realize so I started watercoloring some landscapes, skies, and galaxies. They are not accurate representations, but realism isn’t my goal. It is through practice that I am trying to teach my eyes to relax so I can find more and more details that I have missed.

Every time I watercolor, I learn something new. It has taught me to be patient, merciful, compassionate, and to connect with my inner child and artist. It brings nature to me when I cannot go to it.

I don’t know where my watercolor practice will take me, and I admit that I do not commit to it daily. When I get tired, I learn to rest and not to quit. That is one thing I carry with me, knowing that I can pick it up anytime and always learn something new. You can set big goals, but make sure to break them down into small, attainable goals. Otherwise, you’ll feel easily overwhelmed or discouraged. Focus on your own progress because comparing to others makes no sense.

My life experiences and my cultural and religious backgrounds have made me a helper. I am a student that loves to help. Whenever I learn something new, I teach it to someone else and that helps us both. It is important to improve yourself whenever you can, but I believe that it is just as important to touch lives.

I have so much to learn and share, and that excites me beyond belief. Being able to create is a gift in and of itself. Embrace it, share it, and let it take you to places you’ve never gone before.

Rubeena Ianigro
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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!

26 Comments
  1. What a lovely story of your journey. Your butterflies are beautiful! So colourful! I love your studio ! I could get lost in that studio for hours with all those wonderful and tidy art materials!

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much, Bernadette! I really do love my craft area! It’s my happy place 🙂

  2. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    Rubeena, you’re work is beautiful! I especially love your galaxies. Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a lovely comment, Sandra!

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 weeks ago

    Rubeena, your cards are gorgeous. I bet your friends look forward to all their significant events, hoping it merits a card from you. It’s so interesting that you began to watercolor right after your daughter was born. I think there’s a connection between the two acts of creation.

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Sharon! I believe that I have been open to trying more things after she was born. 🙂 Less fears!

  4. Mireya 4 weeks ago

    Sounds like we are sisters. Yes my inner world is my playground. What an interesting and fun read. Thanks.

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Mireya! 🙂

      • Mireya 3 weeks ago

  5. Sharon Nolfi 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing your lovely work.

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Sharon! I appreciate it.

  6. Eve McHugh "Sqwiffy" 4 weeks ago

    Rubeena, you have a wonderful and passionate attitude. Watercolour painting is new to me too and I agree with your views. Love your work and studio but I could not be so tidy!

    • Rubeena I. 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, SQ! Only my desk is tidy so I am able to create… the rest of my room is a disaster! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!!

  7. Jean Marmo 3 weeks ago

    What a great read! Your work is inspiring!

  8. Zertab Quaderi 3 weeks ago

    Love your story and your easygoing attitude to art!

  9. MelissaF 3 weeks ago

    Love your story, and your art is si beautiful. so inspirational because I struggle with the go-with-the-flow. TFS.

    • Rubeena I. 6 days ago

      Thank you for reading, Melissa! So nice to see you here 🙂

  10. Janneke Booister 3 weeks ago

    Your art is really great! So nice and friendly. Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

  11. Anita Sinha 3 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing your artistic journey. Loved your galaxies and butterflies..!

  12. Wanda Patronella 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful! Where do I get the pallett that holds 30 colors?

    • Rubeena I. 6 days ago

      Thank you, Wanda! I don’t have one that holds 30. I have one that holds 33 (search 33 wells paint palette on Amazon, I think the brand is Mijello), 48 (custom-made on Etsy but she’s on maternity leave), and one that has 36 paints from Altenew. 🙂 Hope that helps!!

  13. Alice Hendon 6 days ago

    your cards are beautiful! especially love the amazeballs one and the galaxy two. beautiful! and I’m drooling over your workspace. always interested in seeing where people work and how they have it organized. thanks for sharing, sorry it’s taken me awhile to get here

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