Hello, and good day. My Name is Thomas Mühlbauer and I am from Wettenberg in Hessen, Germany. I’m a passionate painter, graphic artist, and book illustrator. As a child, I loved visits to the zoo and circus visits. I also loved time spent with my parents on summer holidays to the North sea, Baltic sea, and Bavarian Forest. Very often we drove to Frankfurt, and visited the zoo, which has always interested me from an early age, and still fascinates me today!
Already as a child, I always liked to paint. At six years old, with pencil, wax crayons, and school watercolors (cover colors according to DIN – Standard ). The best work was then exhibited by the teachers in the hallways of the school, as was customary in the 60s.
Painting and drawing were also my best performance subjects. I still remember well, from the 1st grade until the end of the 9th grade, I would always get very good feedback from instructors.
My teachers recommended to my parents that I attend a higher school in order to be able to practice my talent later as a profession. Unfortunately, I was never allowed to, because the money at the time was very tight in our family of five people. “Painters, artists do no have a future, they cut their ears off, and they go insane! No!”
My parents felt that one can not live on that, and the recommendations of my teachers did not help. I should kindly be learning a “decent job” that has a future, and also brings me wages. But I never lost my passion, through bad weather, or weeks of rain. It was like music in my ears, and when I was alone, I could paint for hours and so on. Or drawing, so my parents did not wake up.
Also when we went on those summer holidays, my painting things were always there. As a painting material, there was just the usual cheap school supplies with simple woodcut verschhen Blocks 90gr/qm. The brushes were a disaster, constantly losing hair or the pressed nickel ferrules breaking up when painting and rendered totally unusable.
Everything that belonged to school was created for the masses and not for quality, but then it was enough to be happy! In this relatively poor time, I discovered much better the possibility of painting and drawing, which I greatly appreciated as a child. Using strong, white cardboard, plain on both sides, that came as packaging material with white Sunday shirts. It was wonderful to paint with watercolors without getting greatly deformed or waved, and the results were impressive.
At the time, I did not suspect yet, what true passion it could be! I preferred favorite motifs from my schooldays, which were birds, fish, and flowers. Unfortunately, there is nothing left from that time, since it has all been lost in a move. As a teenager, art briefly fell into the background. With the beginning of an apprenticeship as an interior decorator.
Then, a visit to a dentist in the 70s completely changed my Life. Bored and with a great toothache, I patiently paused in the waiting room, and found myself leafing through the magazines, including Reader’s Digest Roman novels. The cover design was so beautifully painted that I had forgotten about my toothache, because I had to find out who had made these great pictures – John Pike from the USA!
At first, I could not do anything with watercolor until my former schoolteacher taught me Aquarell (Watercolors!) But the best colors… no school colors! I was given the magazines with the pictures of John Pike as a gift. And they are still my favorite pieces today. Since this encounter at the dentist, the fire, the passion of watercolor painting never let go of me.
What began as cheap school supplies, has today, become a true collector’s passion in the form of watercolor brushes, paper, paint, boxes, palettes as well as professional artist colors including favorite paints from Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, Lukas, Mijello, Schmincke, and Holbein. Also, I’ve developed and built a new kind of watercolor palette, which has been recognized with a patent and confirmed in writing!
My favorite watercolor brushes are from da Vinci, Raphäel, Winsor & Newton, and Escoda (the Alvaro-Castagnet Series). For drawing I use Staedtler, Faber-Castell waterproof fineliners and colored pencils. For watercolor paper, I use Hahnemühle, Fabriano, Arches, Canson, and sketchbooks from Fabriano and Canson.
One of my first watercolors, at the beginning of the 80s was discovered during a winter walk in the forest and reminds of my role model, John Pike! Then there was a flood of images, along with the first successes that came in the form of sales and getting orders! I found connection to various groups of artists and exhibitions.
The beginning of the 90s was a time of professional change. I studied at the Art Academy in Zurich, Switzerland, 6 Semesters long, earning a degree. Professionally, I could fall back on this and led painting classes for 12 Years at the Community College in Wetzlar, Germany. This included many plein air painting trips to places like Venice, Czech Republic, Rome, Provence, Portugal, and Greece. I had so many goals for my students!
It ended abruptly in the spring of 2011, when a little insect changed my life. A tick bite. This was then diagnosed by doctors as necrotizing fasciitis and required emergency surgery. The odds of survival were low, but a lot of patience and stamina with it will go a long way as it takes a long time to cure. My family was totally supportive during this time and I’m so thankful for them. And I thank God that I have survived!
I’ve worked on numerous publications by Christian publishers in the form of books, calendars, and gift cards. I’m currently working on a new commissioned project, creating a family Bible, which I’m very happy about!
I can be found and followed at the links below! I hope you liked my way of talking about painting, as a time traveler. And one day, I’ll come back with another topic, but until then, I wish you all the best on your painting journey.Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!