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The Journal Diaires- Wei's Watercolor Paintings

The Journal Diaries is a blog segment where we get a sneak peek into the journals, notebooks, organizers and diaries from creatives all over the world. My special guest today is Wei from France.

- Hi Wei, and welcome! Tell us a little more about yourself!
Hi Michelle, thanks for inviting me! My name is Wei, Im 29 years-old. Im Chinese living in a small town in the south-east of France. I have a great passion for watercolors. Like most artists and painters, I often spend hours locked up in my room painting, its a peaceful moment for me and I enjoy every second of it. I also love crafting and making all kinds of journals, art journal, junk journal, bullet journal etc... And I love sharing my creative process on Youtube. I have a cat who likes to keep me company when I paint, and a dog who likes belly scratches and long walks with me.

- How long have you been painting for, and where did your love for watercolors begin?
I started painting about 4 years ago. Ive always loved drawing ever since I was a kid, and one day I came across a Youtube video of a painting called magical garden by the artist Trevor Waugh, I was immediately mesmerized by the captivating beauty of this medium, every brush stroke of the artist felt like magic to me, it was at that moment I decided to learn painting watercolors, and Ive later discovered many other artists works that have been inspiring me all through my journey.

- Why do you enjoy watercolor as your medium over others?
I love watercolor for its spontaneity and free spirit. Theres something very calming and soothing the way the colors flow with water, and I think thats the beauty and uniqueness of watercolor.

- In your opinion, what is the most challenging part when working with watercolors?
Painting in watercolor is like a game of freeing and controlling your mind at the same time, like dancing. The most difficult thing for me is battling between reality and imagination, trying to find that balance that brings out both the impressionism and the realism in a painting.

- What inspires your paintings and artwork?
I get my inspiration from other artists as well as photographers, and when Im on the road, I usually get inspired by the surrounding scenery and people, its hard to tell, sometimes inspiration strikes from a glance of the eye.

- What are your favorite painting subjects?
Flowers, especially roses.

- How has your creative style changed throughout the years?
Ive always preferred a looser style other than a photo-realistic one, in the beginning, my paintings were more like abstract when I tried to be loose, lol... because it looked so easy in the hands of an experienced artist, so I tried to act that way as well, but as I practiced and learned over the years, I realized that all that effortlessness was really based on solid knowledge and artistic tact.

- What type of notebook or paper do you prefer to use for your watercolor paintings?
I usually paint on the Arches cotton paper as its my favorite, but I also paint from time to time in my travelers notebook inserts, made with drawing paper, mostly to illustrate for my everyday journals.

- What is your creative process like?
I like to listen to light music or play a funny sit-com during my creative process, whether Im painting or doing any DIY project, having a background sound relaxes me.

- Is there any particular time of the day that you prefer to paint?
Yes, although I try to paint whenever I can, my favorite time is late at night, I sometimes paint until 3 in the morning (bad example though, lol) I feel so much inner peace in the tranquility of the night.

- Do you paint while you're traveling, on the go, and just out and about? Or are your paintings done mainly at home?
I prefer to paint at home when the weather is cold outside. Were often visited by the infamous mistral wind where I live, the cold weather and strong wind make it a less than desirable condition for painting outside . But in summer I like to grab my bike and go around town to do plein-air painting, especially in the parcs where all the roses and flowers are in blossom.

- Tell us more about the materials you use and any that you would strongly recommend.
I got most of my materials from my local art supply store. Im not really demanding on materials as long as they are of decent quality, after all, people make beautiful paintings, not fancy materials, but when you reach a certain level, good materials can help you take things up a notch. So dont worry too much about different brands, go down to your nearest art supply shop and see whats available there. I made a Youtube video called watercolors for beginners, where you can find out more information and advice on materials. My most frequently used materials are paint from Sennelier, brushes from Raphael, and 300gsm cotton paper from Arches.

- Are there any art supply stores that you favor or frequent?
There are two big art supply stores here in Valence: Arteis and cultura, Im a frequent visitor in both stores. I also order things from the website le rougier et ple, which has a bigger selection of materials.

- Your favorite color?
Blue in life, and Carmine in my palette.

- Favorite food?
Honey-roasted chestnut, YUM!

- What do you wish you knew then that you know better now about watercoloring?
I wish I knew that when painting something, what matters is not what you see but how you see it.

- What are some valuable lessons you've learned on your journey as an artist?
1. Never give up on a painting too soon, even if it looks odd and ugly in the beginning, it might come out great if you just push through. 2. Progress is a gradual process, people learn at different pace, we all have moments of frustration, but don't let it affect you. One thing that guarantees progress is perseverance.

- What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Hmm... Perhaps the time when I tried to learn hip hop jazz dancing, it was funny because I had no hand-leg coordination whatsoever.

- What tips or techniques could you share for anyone looking to start with watercolors?
Its always a good idea to start by watching other artists paint, its the best and fastest way to learn, the beginning phase is all about gathering information and experiencing with colors, try to begin with easy subjects like flowers and plants. Set your goal on a style that you like the most and wish to achieve, and work towards that goal. A teacher is not always necessary for everyone, but a good teacher guides you and helps you learn more efficiently.

- Do you offer tutorials, hold workshops, or teach classes on your watercolor techniques and paintings?
Yes, I have recently started making watercolor painting tutorials on Patreon: Id like to teach people who want to learn watercolor painting from me, and I hope this will be the beginning of my dream as a working artist, and eventually helps me realize my ultimate dream of opening my own watercolor classroom/workshop.

- Other than painting, what are some of your other hobbies and interests?
In my spare time, I love to do sewing, book-binding, woodwork, home DIY projects, reading books about the universe, and watching horror movies:)


Wei, thank you so much for taking the time to share your watercolor paintings and artwork with us!

And for all you wonderful readers looking to connect and to find more inspiration through Wei's paintings, you can find more of her here:
INSTAGRAM: @weitaillandier
YOUTUBE: Wei Taillandier

**Click here for more journal inspirations and past guests on The Journal Diaries.**

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