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The Story of my journey with Watercolors

In 2018, I started my art business in Paia Maui, Hawaii. I first started out painting small acrylics and selling them at Cafe Mambo where I worked as a waitress at the time. After a while painting with acrylics, I grew tired of them and decided to try my hand with watercolors. I was terrible at first! I mean, absolutely horrifying. A 5 year old could have done better.

However, I was determined to get better at watercolors so I just kept painting with them and watching tons of YouTube tutorials on how to paint with watercolors. I spent what felt and an eternity of hours watching video after video on watercolors and the more I worked with them, the more I began to fall in love with them. The flow and freedom of the pigment on the textured paper was exhilarating compared to the rigid, gel like consistency of acrylics. I found watercolors to be relaxing. With each painting I got a little better. It was a slow process to learn this new technique of painting as you have to think backwards. With acrylics, I start with the darkest tone first and layer lighter colors and tones on top. With watercolors, I start with a very light layer and work darker colors and tones on top of that. It certainly was a learning curve for me, but I love a good challenge. I began to get more creative with my watercolors with silhouette designs. My first silhouette watercolor piece was my Sugar Beach Purple Pineapple. I used watercolors as well as my Black Art Materials Markers to create more depth and an outline around the pineapple in black. The view is from standing on Sugar Beach in Kihei, Maui looking out towards Lahaina. This painting became one of my most popular sticker designs.

Purple Pineapple Sugar Beach looking towards Lahaina Maui Hawaii Sticker

My next silhouette piece was the shape of the Island of Maui. I incorporated the island of Maui facing the West Side, a turtle , a whale, and some coral and fish. The epitome of Maui. I used mostly watercolors at first then decided to experiment with layering colored pencil for some of the details. I like the texture it gave the piece. This painting was an absolute hit. I sold it right away to a friend from Upstate NY. No surprise, this was and still is my number one selling print and sticker in Maui.

Maui Silhouette with whale and turtle and island of Maui Hawaii Watercolor Painting

After painting those two pieces, I tried my hand at more landscape style pieces. I realized small paintings sell the best on Maui as they fit in tourists suitcases best and they don't have to figure out how to ship a large painting home. I got to work on many 5x7 watercolor paintings to sell at Cafe Mambo as well as the farmer's markets and pop up's I was operating at the time. My method of painting these small watercolors consisted taping three pieces of cold press watercolor paper to a sheet of glass. I liked doing three paintings at a time as while one was drying, I could work on the next one, then the next. I strive to be efficient as well as being creative. It worked very well and usually, I would finish all three within a day or two.

Often when I paint, I get bored doing the same thing over and over. It was time to paint more sticker silhouette designs. Being in Maui, I kept things island themed with turtles, sharks, dolphins, octopus, and the Pueo. Silhouettes are my favorite painting styles I have done, painting a scene of the subject within itself.

For a few years I submitted my artwork in contests and juried shows. I never won anything with my watercolors, but I was able to create some awesome pieces that ended up selling anyway. The only one that is still available to purchase is my Snorkeling at Mama's painting. That was a fun piece to create. My boyfriend and I went snorkeling at Mama's beach in Paia and I photographed him in the water then decided to paint him, adding the turtle and coral for the fun of it.

After a few years not leaving Maui, I went to Oahu for a three day trip. Eventually I will create stickers of every major Island, but wanted to visit the islands before I painted each one. I wasn't a huge fan of Oahu. Way to touristy for me, though the North Shore was relaxing and gorgeous. I did get my inspiration to paint the Oahu sticker and after being back for a few days on Maui, I finished the watercolor. The sticker is now being sold at Raging Isle on the North Shore of Oahu.

Photograph of North Shore Oahu with Palm Tree

Oahu Hawaii Silhouette watercolor painting with man surfing a wave

At the end of 2022, my boyfriend and I decided to move to Virginia to be closer to family. So, I took the challenge of creating some stickers for the mainland as well as one more Maui Sticker. After living in Virginia for 6 months now, I have my stickers work in a few shops here for sale.

In June, I did a mural for Walmart curated by Now Art, an LA Based company with the goal of installing artwork in public areas. I created the mural with watercolors traditionally and they took the image and blew it up on Vinyl. You can find it in the grocery side of the entrance at the Stephens City Walmart in Virginia. That was such a fun painting to create.

Stephens City Virginia Walmart Watercolor Painting Mural with Drive In and Apple Blossoms

I cannot wait to see where watercolors will take me next. I have some ideas for some illustrations and maybe possibly, a children's book. Who knows, but it will be fun to watch what happens. If you are interested in a custom watercolor painting, let me know and we can work on something unique for you.

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