Creative Journeys

Creative Journeys

is a guest-post I wrote when I was invited by Charlie O’Shields for my feature on doodlewash

Shrimp - Original Watercolor ©Carolina Russo

Hello everyone! I am Carolina Russo from Southern California (follow me on my Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!). I am very excited and happy to be a Guest Doodlewasher! This blog is fantastic! I admire Charlie’s creativity and his doodlewashes are beautiful and inspiring. I am so proud to be able to say that I am one of the featured on Doodlewash. Thank you Charlie for having me here.


I was born and raised in Italy, the beautiful country where I have been surrounded by Italian art, creativity, history, Mediterranean traditions and European influences. My father is an artist and I grew up observing and being amazed by his oil paintings. I knew since I was a child that I wanted to be an artist. I enjoyed drawing, coloring and creating things since a very early age.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo of pink red roseIn Italy, I studied Art & Design and Jewelry. I am passionate for watercolors, fashion design, illustration, digital art, and photography.  I write Poems , when they come to me like whispers in my mind. Just this month, two of my writings were published on two literary presses. I have been following my heart and path, believing that anything is possible if you truly believe in it and in yourself.

During the past 20 years, I evolved in my passions, experiencing my artistic visions and taught myself other skills and art forms such as digital art and photography. Watercolor painting came to me naturally into my life. I never took a watercolor class. I also enjoy acrylics and mixed media, but my favorite medium when I paint is watercolors. I love the fluidity, transparency and elegance of this beautiful medium. Experimentation with different media and exploring new techniques is something that I always loved to do. I like to explore the horizons of my creativity.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo fashion illustration of female figureMy passion for sketching using watercolors and ink comes with the love for fashion, jewelry design and illustration. During the years of my art school, fashion design wasn’t part of the school program but jewelry design was. I loved sketching very much and I started to sketch fashion by myself every day after school, creating my own style. I was very well informed, having good knowledge of what was happening in the fashion world, trends, styles, innovations, designers etc.

At the end of high school, I became an independent freelance fashion designer, selling my sketches. I have been award-winning, participating in fashion design contests issued on the Italian edition of “Glamour” Magazine. I also had work experiences not related to art but to computer graphics and design. I then began to use my creativity in digital. I got captured by amazing software like Photoshop 15 years ago, loving photo manipulation and turning them into digital art, something that I love to do very much. You can see some of my digital portraits on my website.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo of bottle of Amaretto from Italy with glassI moved from Italy to United States in 2002 and one year later I became a mom of a wonderful daughter. I have been working successfully for several years as a fashion expert for some great American brands. But all of a sudden my heart called me back to my roots. My “Art” was screaming at me. During some of the years here, I was going through some life events that prevented me from being a creative artist the way I wanted to be, because I had to focus in on other things. I missed drawing, painting and sketching, I felt like a part of me was locked in a box.

I was sad and frustrated because I wanted to use all the talents I had been gifted since I was born. I always wanted to leave a trace of my creativity in this world. Then one day, I went to an art store and I bought what I needed. I took my new watercolor palette and brushes and I started to paint again, after 10 years without touching a brush, and it all came back naturally. I never stopped since then. My art is now my life and my work is what I want to do, I love to create and I am happy to express my creativity in many different ways, sharing it with the world. My blog is my studio, my showroom and means a lot to me. It is the place where I share and sell all my art and limited edition jewelry collections.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo of Orange Crowned Warbler on a branchI live in Southern California, this is a land of great inspiration combined with my vision and memories of Italy, a fascinating mix of spectacular coastline, ancient towns, islands and inland woods. I love sketching and painting the natural world around me, but I also use my figurative memory of places. I see art everywhere and in everything that surrounds me. Thematically, my artworks range from nature, seascapes, landscapes, still life, faces, abstract and anything that inspires me.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo of National Pineapple Upside Down Cake DayIn Italy, I grew up in Naples, a city on the sea (I could see it from my home). I have always been fascinated by the sea and the changing colors of the seasons and weather change. The sea is an element that is intimately linked with my life and identity. I love to walk on the shore looking for treasures that I collect to create my unique jewelry pieces. Some of my paintings and illustrations are inspired from beautiful seascapes. I love the dramatic light of oceans in storms, beautiful beaches and sunsets, ocean waves and rocky outcrops, misty landscapes, as well as flora and fauna.

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo of small house on the water

I like to paint and sketch pretty much everything, but I love the movement and transparency of the water. I mostly base my palette on the beautiful range of the ocean colors, the beach environment or inland woods landscapes. I learned a lot from a great UK artist Ron Ranson reading his books I loved to try his loose watercolor painting technique and I enjoy using the “Hake” brush when I do bigger paintings. His books inspired me in the beginning to keep painting and if you are a creative soul, remember it’s never too late to start. Ron Ranson is an example himself as he started painting in his fifties, becoming a worldwide known artist!

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch by Carolina Russo self-portraitI love sketchbooks! I always buy one even if I don’t need it at the moment. I don’t know why, but there is just something special and inspiring about sketchbooks. I have many of them in different sizes with different types of paper. I always carry one with me so that I can sketch wherever I am. What you find in my bag is a mixed media sketchbook, a new Hobonichi Techo A6 Planner to sketch on too, Micron Pigma Pens, a Pencil, a fountain Pilot Prera Pen fine nib, a Sennelier Watercolor Travelbox and Pentel Aquash (I love these filled water brushes as they are great on the go you don’t have to carry a water container, actually lately I am using them most of the time for my doodlewashes!)

I hope that reading my story inspired and motivated someone to start or to go back to painting without fears and create some great doodlewashes!

Best wishes for your creative journeys!

Carolina Russo
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