Hi, I’m Asanka and I’m a watercolor artist living in Sri Lanka, the country which is known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. If you have a look at the world map, you can see my country, like a dew drop at the tip of grass, just below the Indian subcontinent. Like most of the other watercolor artists, the biggest inspiration for my art journey, was nature. Hence, it’s better to name nature as my first and foremost teacher I’ve ever met in my life. From my childhood, I was interested in natural phenomena such as rainfalls, rainbows, colorful clouds in the sky, gigantic craggy mountains, the glitter of water and animals too. Those were sketched by me from a tender age. That was the beginning of my art journey.
A Habit Of Sketching
Some of my color sketches…
The habit of sketching developed my observation and drawing skills immensely, so I still maintain sketching as a habit. I essentially recommend this for anyone who wants to be a good artist. You must keep sketching as a habit. Nowadays, people make it a habit to keep mobile phones or iPads as their body parts which are indispensable. If you are an artist, it is a must to keep a sketch book in the same way. I have seen some people in the buses wearing earphones and looking at mobile phone screens without seeing the fascinating sceneries out of the window. Instead, I keep on sketching as much as I can, with the direct contact of the subject matter which I deal with.
Watercolor Painting Materials & Equipment
I use a compact tool kit for my travel sketching.
Recently, I began to use my camera phone also to take reference images while traveling. In this way, I can get lots of reference images and sketches for my next paintings. For my paints, I use a medium size box pallet filled with Winsor & Newton artist watercolors. I mostly use handmade brushes, and for special purposes, I use other brushes, like synthetic. Palette knives, plastic cards, and combs are also used to get specific effects and textures. A dryer and spray bottle also play an important part in my painting. They help me to control the dampness as I need.
I’m not interested much in the details of a painting. Instead, I like to show the mood, atmosphere or expression. From the reference images, I simplify what I need while neglecting the unnecessary details. And I always try to make a focal point or center of interest when I make the composition. Thus, I do not try to be a slave of my reference images.
My Favourite – Portrait Painting
Portrait painting in watercolor mesmerizes me always and I rather do portraits live that gives me much thrill.
I would like to do it with an expression such as, happy, sad, love, ambitious or any other expression which can give more depth of meaning to my work. Human beings can express their feelings through the face in an amazing way that cannot be explained by thousands of words.
Even though we all get the same facial features the slight differences make us different from one another. Getting the real likeness and expression is a bit difficult and challenging, But always interesting.
My Early Days
I need to say how I started to do watercolor paintings. I have two brothers and they used to paint with watercolor when they were schooling. The process of the painting was very interesting to see. The dynamism of the medium was always thrilling. I was eager to see the blending, spreading, and mixing of the color in its spontaneity. Every second of the painting was a new challenge.
The wayward nature of the medium always filled me with wonder. So each day, when my brothers finished their paintings, I got the palettes as they hesitated to wash them, and then I started my paintings with the leftovers. Those were the first memorable watercolor experiences of mine.
My Academic Achievements
When the attention is paid to my academic background, I am a graduate from the University of the Visual and Performing Arts in Srilanka as a first class honored student for painting. In the university, I got chances to study life drawings and portrait paintings as well.
So, I could develop my skills, and won several awards in the university including best portrait artist in 2012 in the university aesthetic talent contes. And also, I was awarded for the best life painting and painting composition in 2007/2008. I started my professional career as an art teacher in 2012. I worked in Shyamala School of Art and Wycherley International School before I got the appointment as a government art teacher.
Currently, I engage with IWS Srilanka and try to develop watercolor in the country. I work as a writer for a local art magazine “chithrakalawa” and my maiden book about watercolor painting was awarded the first at the province literary awarding 2016.
As a watercolor painter, I try to develop my skills and style to get international achievements and recognition. Despite all of the difficulties I confronted, I try to do my best at being a great watercolor painter. Thanks all of my friends for your encouragements, and keep in touch with my art journey on my Facebook Page! I am grateful to Charlie O’Shields, the founder of World Watercolor Group for inviting me to be featured as a guest artist here amongst such talented people.