GUEST ARTIST: “Watercolor: The Vision Beyond The Impression” by Asanka Wijerathna

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…

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour Tools by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolour by Asanka Wijerathna - Doodlewash

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.

Asanka Wijerathna

Recommended11 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. MMcBuck 5 years ago

    This is simply awesome!!

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    Asanka, your paintings are masterful. Each is a wonder, depicting so much life and joy and a great hand at mastering the media. Your brothers probably had no idea the talent they nurtured with their old palettes.

  3. Hania 5 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Shar Kennett 5 years ago

    Your portraits are alive with light and expression!

  5. Mary Roff 5 years ago

    Your paintings are beautiful and inspiring.

  6. Jodi 5 years ago

    Wow! Beautiful!

  7. Meenakshi Goel 5 years ago

    Just wow!!

  8. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    Your portraits are amazing, and your backgrounds are so full of life. Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

  9. Indira Govindan 5 years ago

    Amazing watercolor portraits! Your story about using the leftover watercolors from your brothers’ palette is touching.

  10. Susan Cuss 5 years ago

    Wonderful portraits, and paintings from life! The warm tones you use draw me into the paintings. Thank you for sharing your story, and much continued success!

  11. Kati Brooke 5 years ago

    Your artwork is wonderful! I really liked reading about your efforts to develop watercolor with Sri Lanka, as well. 🙂

  12. Susan Cuss 5 years ago

    Loved your article! Beautiful art. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  13. Elizabeth Metz 5 years ago

    Amazing! <3

  14. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    The way you reserve whites makes your paintings glow.

  15. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Lights and darks are superb!

  16. Jyotsna 5 years ago

    Beautiful paintings. Your colors are so fresh and I loved how they mingle. It was fun to read your journey. You inspired me to sketch more often.

  17. Anica Art 5 years ago

    Wow, Asanka! Your paintings have so much life in them, truly inspirational!!

  18. Bekki Page 5 years ago

    I have long admired the Indian style of watercolor. Your work is an exceptional example–thank you for taking the time to share with us!

  19. Jakki Garlans 5 years ago

    Your portraits show me the essence of the subject – they are very moving. Thank you for sharing with us.

  20. Kamlesh Tribhuvane 5 years ago

    Superb Paintings

  21. Kamlesh Tribhuvane 5 years ago

    Lovely Paintings

  22. Patricia A Ziegler 5 years ago

    You have an amazing talent! I can only hope to be half as good some day.

  23. Jill Gustavis 5 years ago

    You’ve captured so much energy in your sketches and paintings; they’re so beautiful. I love your style. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Jennifer McLean 5 years ago

    you are wonderfully good at capturing atmosphere especially with portraiture.

  25. Mickey Baxter-Spade 5 years ago

    You capture the character of you subjects beautifully! Love your colors.

  26. Teri Casper 5 years ago

    I loved reading your story. So inspiring and heartwarming. Thank you

  27. Kamalawarna Herath 2 years ago

    Probably the best watercolor painter in Srilanka.

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