GUEST ARTIST: “My Watercolour Process” by Dhruba Mazumder

Umbrellas At Kiseleff Park Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

Hi, my name is Dhruba Mazumder and I am a watercolourist. I live and work in Bucharest, Romania. I started painting with watercolours around 8 years back. My first inspiration about watercolour painting was when I visited an art event called Chitra Santhe (meaning Art Fair) in Bengaluru, India, in January, 2009.

The medium intrigued me with its bright, dynamic and spontaneous appearance. In spite of watercolour being considered an unforgiving and complicated painting medium, I took the challenge of trying my hands on it. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful medium. Ever since then I have been learning a bit more about watercolour painting every single day.

Bucharest Cityscape Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroupI also conduct watercolour painting workshops, teach drawing, sketching and take painting assignments.

Art Materials For Watercolour Painting

The two most important art materials in watercolour painting are good quality pigments and papers. The watercolor pigments I use are Kokuyo Camel, MaimeriBlu, Mission Gold and Gouache from Winsor & Newton. I paint on artist quality, acid free, 100 percent cotton watercolour papers.

Watercolour Sketch by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

The watercolour brushes I use are made both of natural and synthetic hair. These are flat and round shape brushes of various sizes depending on the measure of the artwork. Any round brush with a fine point and water holding capacity is good to work with. I prefer a watercolour palette with big mixing areas.

My Inspirations

My painting style is modern impressionistic and I love to paint landscapes as well as cityscapes. Vast and wide spaces are always interesting to be captured in paintings. Yet it is not the subject but the mood, light and atmosphere of it that inspires me most.

Bucharest Cityscape Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

Light creates amazing magic when it scatters over different surfaces creating beautiful abstract shapes. These shapes as a design are the first inspiration for me to create a visual composition.

I get inspirations to draw and paint everywhere. I keep a sketchbook, a few pens and pencils always with me and try to sketch. These sketches help me in observing and solving visual designs. Later on, some of these sketches become resourceful for bigger paintings.

Importance Of Sketching

I love to sketch and paint live which gives fresh and spontaneous results of a scene, rather than from a photograph, be it on location or inside.

Unfortunately, photographs average out everything from tonal value ranges, colors to edge quality, reducing depth and space. These are vital elements with which to create a successful visual composition.

My Painting Process

My painting process is simple. I prefer to paint on a quarter or half of an imperial size watercolor paper depending on the subject. Watercolour is a dynamic medium. The pigments diluted with water need enough surface area on the paper to move and mingle to do their own magic. Working on smaller size papers reduces this opportunity.

Before starting a painting, I try to have a clear idea of the three major aspects of the composition:

  1. The tonal value shapes of light, mid-tone and dark.
  2. The color scheme.
  3. Lost & found edges.

As we know, watercolour is either a transparent or semi-transparent medium. Laying a layer on previous layer(s) results in changed hues and tonal values. Painting without a basic plan may lead to an unexpected and often unsatisfactory result.

Florals Welcome Spring Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

I start with a HB/2B mechanical pencil to do the initial underline drawing. I put only the main and important shapes as suggestions. Our minds tend to hold on within shapes. It is easier for our minds to paint beyond and over boundaries when less drawing is used.

Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

Depending on the subject and technique, I either pre-wet the paper fully, partially or at times not at all to achieve edge variations. Mostly I paint from lighter to darker tones and bigger to smaller shapes from the start to completion.

Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroupI start with a big wash laying the basic underlying colors and tones as per the initial design. Within the wash I add various thin and thick consistencies of pigment to the water mix. During this wash, various effects can be achieved depending on the moisture level of the paper and the consistency of the paint. I let the paper dry completely before adding the next layer to define more positive and negative shapes.

I try to keep the number of layers to the least possible. This results in a painting with fresh and vibrant colors. The darker areas of watercolour become muddy and opaque if painted with many layers. The best way to paint these shapes are with fresh and vibrant dark pigments in one single go. My painting should work as a whole conveying the correct feelings.

Bucharest Cityscape Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

The elements in it should complement each other without competing. During its progress, many times I look at the painting in reverse in a mirror and from a distance. This immediately helps the mind to observe it with a fresh perspective identifying any flaws.

At the end, I add some directional lines, any highlights lost from the previous layers and spots of saturated colors to move the viewer’s eye over the painting. Finally, the time arrives to add the signature and complete it. I review my paintings after a couple of days with a fresh mind to check if any further adjustments are required.

Closing Words

Only a few basic techniques are necessary to do a successful watercolour painting. It is better to practice and know very well the effects of these few techniques than trying to paint with many. But it is also important to learn new techniques from time to time.

Bucharest Cityscape Watercolour Painting by Dhruba Mazumder - Doodlewash.com - #WorldWatercolorGroup

Watercolour deserves respect. It is unpredictable and cannot fully be controlled. Once we accept these facts, the fun of painting begins. The fresh and spontaneous results of the watercolour medium show when it is painted with courage and with less control. Only then the medium reveals its potential, energy and starts connecting to the artist.

Thank you vey much Charlie O’Shields for featuring me as a Guest Artist on Doodlewash.com!

Dhruba Mazumder
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Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!

24 Comments
  1. Bekki 5 months ago

    I have enjoyed your work as long as I’ve been painting. It was interesting to read about your materials and process–thanks so much for sharing it here!

  2. mylifeandmyneeds 5 months ago

    It’s wonderful! Really!

  3. Rod Fletcher 5 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. Something to aspire to.

  4. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    All so very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  5. jansiking 5 months ago

    Wonderful post, Dhruba, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

  6. Mary Roff 5 months ago

    Beautiful work and thank you for sharing your process.

  7. Sheila Savage 5 months ago

    Just beautiful, I am now a HUGE fan! Thank you!

  8. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 months ago

    Every word reveals something important about watercolor painting and each of your paintings shows the hand of a master. Beautiful, just beautiful, Dhruba.

  9. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    I love the soft edges in your work. Just beautiful!

  10. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    Dhruba, your art is amazing! Thank you for the tips and good advice!

  11. Serena Lewis 5 months ago

    I have always been in awe of your work, Dhruba! Thanks for sharing your process with us…so inspiring! You do amazing work!

  12. Pam 5 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your works and techniques. They are beautiful.

  13. Al 5 months ago

    I am a proud owner of one of Dhruba’s work. He is truly an amazing artist!

  14. ann christina 5 months ago

    Wow, so perfect! 😍

  15. onemomentministry 5 months ago

    Your work is very beautiful, thank you for sharing your gift! 🌟

  16. rezwanul hoque 5 months ago

    Excellent water color work!!!!!!! i love ur work!

  17. Watercolorsfromholland 5 months ago

    Dhruba, a good friend and great artist! Love his work and approach to subjects! His flowers are delicate and use of colour is masterful! Great series Dhruba Congratulations!

  18. Delores Azary 5 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your painting process with us! I really enjoyed your paintings!

  19. MR Anand 5 months ago

    thank you Dhruba for sharing your experience with us, thank you Charlie for hosting doodle wash!

  20. Gyöngyi Balogh 5 months ago

    Wonderful! I really love your paintings!

  21. Priyanka Maruthi 5 months ago

    Amazing 👌

  22. Sonia 5 months ago

    Since the day I first came across your paintings I’ve been hooked on to them. Just beautiful !

  23. Janneke Booister 5 months ago

    Wonderful paintings! And thank you for the story 🙂

  24. Mia Gardner 5 months ago

    THESE ARE INCREDIBLE. I AM SHOOK. I’d love to paint in watercolour like this one day – send help! M x

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