Realistic Eye Painting watercolor by Tevfik Özan

GUEST ARTIST: “Learning by Doing” by Tevfik Özan

Hello Everyone! This is Tevfik Özan from Ankara, Turkey. I am a watercolour artist, amateur photographer, cat lover, nature enthusiast and a GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) Survivor. I got my degree in French Language and French Literature. I worked for cruise lines, hospitals, and big technology giants however nothing has fulfilled me as painting in watercolour. I have been drawing since I was a child especially after I was diagnosed with GBS at the age of 6 and since after my recovery, drawing and painting have always been a passion for me. My motto is “Learning by Doing.”

I took my drawing skills to a next level when I got my iPad and Apple pencil. I painted digital art until my flat in Athens, Greece was robbed. My passport, my computer, two cameras and my iPad; they were all gone. Just a week later I found myself locked down in Athens because of Covid 19 pandemic. I was like a game animal trapped by its hunter. I was bewildered at what was happening to me, to everyone. I was totally lost. This was exactly when I ordered my watercolour set, paper and brushes. I am one of those artists who finally found a way to express himself through art and I believe the healing power of art. Everything happens for a reason.

Koi Fish watercolor by Tevfik Özan

I combined my traditional painting understanding, which I always preferred, with the magic of paper, brush and colour through watercolour. I am mesmerized by the beauty and the transparency of this enchanted medium.

My paintings are diversified with botanic and animal figures particularly portraits with realistic analyses. When I am painting, I enjoy working with layers and I work wet on wet quite often. I love mixing colours and I prefer using a limited pallet. I believe when I have fewer colours available it is easier to choose the best colour. It helps me to understand better how my colours work together. I can achieve a colour harmony and easily recognize and control values and colour temperatures.

I am an amateur photographer as well and I enjoy painting the photos I take in watercolour. If I use a reference photo from another photographer I always get in touch with them personally and ask for their kind permission to study their photographs in watercolour medium.

Droplets on The Leaves watercolor by Tevfik Özan

One of my watercolour paintings ‘Droplets on the Leaves’ was accepted to a competition organized by Japan International Watercolour Institute (JIWI) located in Niigata in Japan and was awarded with online exhibition and partial membership to the same Institute. My paintings were also exhibited in Ankara for the 10th Anniversary Exhibition of International Watercolor Society (“IWS”).

My Art Supplies

I started painting with Derwent Academy Student Grade set with 12 colours. My first brushes were synthetic cheap brushes. Very soon, I upgraded my set to Van Gogh 24 colour set and bought Da Vinci brushes. I was also using Hahnemühle paper as my local art store in Athens suggested.

Within a few months, I upgraded my paper to Fabriano Artistico and Arches Cold Press 100% Cotton Paper and replaced my Van Gogh set with Schmincke Horadam 24 colour set. I believe this upgrade was a milestone in my painting life. I prefer cold press paper but I also paint on hot press and rough paper. What matters for me is that it has to be 100% cotton. I use mainly 300gr paper as I paint wet on wet a lot.

leaves on the grass watercolor by Tevfik Özan

For a very long time I painted only with Schmincke Horadam and it was a taboo for me to paint with a different brand. However, once I learned more about the pigments, I stepped back and wanted to explore other brands as well. I realized that it is not the brand but the pigment.

Grapes watercolor by Tevfik Özan

Today I am using mainly Schmincke Horadam, as well as Daniel Smith and Holbein watercolour paints. I am just in love with those rich and vibrant pigments they offer. Arches is the paper I feel comfortable the most to paint on. I still use Fabriano Artistico time to time. I started with cheap brushes, but later, I also upgraded to more professional brush segment from Da Vinci.

My Career as a Watercolour Artist

My artworks got the attention of my friends when I began to share them on my personal Facebook page. They encouraged me to take it to a next level. My first studies were on insects like bees and butterflies.

I quit my job in Athens, Greece and moved to Denmark. In Denmark, as well as botanicals, I began to paint animals and human portraits. The more I paint the more I had the feeling that this is how I want to spend my life. My friends in Denmark supported and encouraged me in every possible way to follow my path. I decided to design a website where I can showcase my studies. My website started with a few paintings. Then I focused on my Instagram page. I am very happy with the feedbacks. I would love to hear yours as well.

When I moved back to Turkey, I started to build up my art community. Today, I am giving one-to-one private watercolour lessons. I am teaching to kids and adult groups in several workshops in Ankara as well. I also started making promotions about the technique and material by giving online watercolour classes in various platforms including YouTube and Patreon. I recently started my online courses on Patreon and I look forward to see how my online teaching skills will evolve in the future. So please be patient and stay with me. I am a lifelong learner.

Any kind of support (following, subscribing etc.) means a lot for an artist. So come and join me and share my “Learning by Doing” journey.

You can find the social media platforms below where you can reach me.


Tevfik Özan

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13 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Learning by Doing” by Tevfik Özan

  1. Thank you very much for sharing you art and experiences with us at Doodlewash. I just hope to achieve that level in my lifetime, where is not much left, I will be 63 this October… Thanks Tevfik.

    1. Hello Walter, thank you very much. My mom is at the same age as you are and she has started oil painting, making cold porcelain flowers and making leather bags from scratch. Do and enjoy what you can produce as art. It is all in you. Thank you again for your highly appreciated comment.

  2. Hello Tevfik,

    Both, your art and your journey are astounding! I like your outlook ‘everything happens for a reason’ and the way you rose through that low phase. Your art reflects your strength. Thank you for sharing it here.


  3. Thank you so much for sharing with us Tevfik. Your work is amazing and I loved hearing your story – so inspiring. Your work is exactly where I want to go ultimately – I want to be able to catch the realism. I am mesmerized by people with your capability – incredible.

    1. Hello Zoie,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Practice is the golden key and as being a GBS survivor I know that nothing is impossible if you really want to do it. Many thanks again. Cheers x

  4. I personally know Tevfik and we used to be colleagues! I never have seen such an inspirational and creative person here in Athens! Always loved his art 🖼! Have 2 paintings from him decorating my walls. Now he is where he deserves to be and many more artwork to see in the future!

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