GUEST ARTIST: “Memories, Time Periods, Time Traveler” by Thomas Mühlbauer

Santorin Greece Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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!”

Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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.

Wild Horse Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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.

Flowers Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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.

Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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.

Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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!

Watercolor by Thomas Mühlbauer - Doodlewash

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.

Thomas Mühlbauer

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. brushparkwatercolors 4 years ago

    Klasse, lieber Thomas! Wie schön, dass Du auch den Weg zu Doodlewash geschafft hast. Sehr schöne Bilder und schön geschrieben. Viel Erfolg mit Deinem derzeitigen Projekt.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      Danke Lieber Carsten,…das hat mich sehr gefreut

  2. Rod Fletcher 4 years ago

    I love your work. Especially the integration of ink and colour.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      Thank You

  3. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    Thomas, your work is wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing your new palette when it is available! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      Danke für IhrInteresse

  4. June Hadaway 4 years ago

    Lovely illustrations. The zoo and the circus were my husband’s favorite places to go, even as an adult. Great article. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      Danke für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit

  5. June Hadaway 4 years ago

    Happy to hear you are doing better now after such a terrible health scare. Congratulations on your work with the family bible.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      Herzlichen Dank

  6. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    All your work is lovely, but I especially like the paintings of animals.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago


  7. Lin Powell 4 years ago

    You have had a terrible life struggle. I’m so glad you never let it make you give up on your art. You do amazing work. Sometimes the advantage of not having formal training, is the development of your own style. I’d say you have done that beautifully.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      vielen Dank

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 years ago

    Thomas, your personal story of fulfilling your dream of becoming an artist is inspirational. Thank you for sharing so much. I see that you overcome much diversity and many challenges to realizing your goal. Your art is varied in subject and style, exciting, influenced, I suspect by your varied experiences.

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

      thank you

  9. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    I find your work beautiful and very calming. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago


  10. Jean Marmo 4 years ago

    Such a wonderful story and read. Your works are just lovely!

  11. Patsy Burroughs 4 years ago

    Thomas, thank you for sharing your artistic journey and so glad you never lost your love of watercolor. Your art is wonderful and so glad you now have a supportive family. Love your work and I especially like the cabin in the snow covered forest. Feel sure that your journey to good health included your art. It can be such a healing source. I smiled when I read your list of ALL the wonderful tools you now have in your stash. Look forward to seeing your patent on the market…will keep my eye out for it. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

  12. Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

    da mein englisch no perfekt ist,..war das schon eine Herausforderung…bin aqber sehr froh,daß ich es hinbekommen habe,..Danke für Ihr Interesse

  13. Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

    Danke für Ihr Interesse

  14. Thomas Mühlbauer 4 years ago

    Thank You

  15. Janneke Booister 4 years ago

    Since I am not so good at writing in German (it has been much too long since school), I will tell you in English that I love your work and your story!

  16. Alice Hendon 4 years ago

    your work is timeless and beautiful, I can feel your soul and spirit in each painting. thank you for sharing your story, I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed your art

  17. Ted Searles 3 years ago


    I have five of your works hanging in my master bedroom. They belonged to my mother, Maria Hahn Searles. I think three or four might be prints, but you signed the matte. One is not titled but depicts a sleigh in the snow next to a wood house. The other three are Schnee legt in der Luft, Algave in Morgengrauen, and Winternacht. The painting is titled Industrienerven(SP?). I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy them and all of your work.

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