Joly Poa: Watercolorist
A budding watercolorist, Joly Poa paints flowers and floral wreaths in charming pink hues. Having shared her progress through Youtube tutorials, Instagram photos and time-lapse videos since she started her journey as an artist, she has gained quite a following on social media.
We continue The Life Well-Crafted series as we talk to her about her humble beginnings as an artist and the wonderful online art community that has taken her in since.
When and how did you get started with art?
Ever since I was young, I already loved art—from colored pens to glitters, beaded accessories, and many more. I got into watercolor recently because I was looking for another hobby. My previous hobby, baking, became our business, so I was looking for another creative outlet.
I took different classes until I chanced upon watercolor. I didn’t learn a lot from the first class because it was just a basic workshop. After several months, I took the watercolor class of Liz Lanuzo of Project Vanity. I learned more about art materials used for watercolor. I didn’t know that changing your materials could improve your painting. When I discovered the Black Velvet brush, my florals looked so much better. I can now do expressive strokes. Using 100% cotton paper also made a huge difference with the overall look of my florals.
Tell us about your art. Why do you like painting flowers?
I find it difficult to paint and draw something realistic, which is why I focused on painting loose flowers. I love painting flowers because you just have to follow the form of the flower and give your artistic interpretation. I also love how the colors bleed into each other. I usually use the wet-on-wet technique for this.
I gravitate towards pink and dainty colors. To be honest, I’m a lazy painter; I’m not so fond of mixing colors. It’s the reason why I have so many green paints! I paint fast, about 15 minutes for a small painting. I love painting expressive flowers with the Raphael Mop Brush or my favorite Black Velvet brush, and I like painting imperfectly shaped leaves with pointy tips too.
Take us through your creative process. How do you go from a blank page to a finished piece?
I usually scroll through the Instagram accounts of florists, because they make the prettiest floral arrangements. I take note of the color combinations and flowers that they used and incorporate it in my style.
What does your workspace look like?
I don’t really have a permanent workspace. I usually go to my sister’s balcony, since it has good lighting for filming. Sometimes I go to cafes to paint and film too. Here, I’m showing the setup of my table when I’m filming. I use my phone to take videos.
What inspired you to teach others through your Youtube and Instagram tutorials?
When I was starting out, it was so difficult to find online floral tutorials. It made me really frustrated, so I bought a book that gave a good tip on painting leaves. One day, I thought of filming it to help others who are having a hard time painting. I was quite surprised that a lot of people appreciated it. I’m really happy that I’m able to help and inspire others.
When I started posting tutorials on Instagram, that’s when my followers increased. I guess a lot of beginners want to paint flowers. Since then, I noticed that more artists are now sharing their process videos too. The art community on Instagram is just so generous and amazing!
Joly's works from two years ago.
Describe your typical day. Do you have a daily ritual to keep you productive and motivated?
I work during the day and when I have time in the afternoon, I paint and film. I used to paint at night because nobody calls me for work, and it’s just so silent and relaxing. But when I started posting tutorials and time-lapse videos, I had to paint in the afternoon to have better lighting.
When I’m online, I always check my Instagram to see posts from other artists. I get inspiration from them. I reply to messages and other comments in my feed. I really appreciate it when followers would reach out to me to show their paintings.
I make sure to stock up on videos that I can post. Most of my videos are actually my practice paintings. I usually film 1-2 paintings at a time.
At DesignHatch, we believe in the life well-crafted—living intentionally to achieve an authentic life that’s entirely your own. Can you share one important decision you made that led you closer to where you are now?
It’s probably the day when I started posting free tutorials on Instagram. Because of that, I met so many wonderful online friends in the Instagram art community. When I was just starting out, it boosted my confidence to paint whenever someone praised my work. For a beginner like me, it made such a huge impact at the time. It made me want to be better.
It makes me happy that I inspire others to paint.
I wanted to give back to this wonderful community, so I started a hashtag #artinspiredbyjoly. I ask followers to use this hashtag so I can see their work too, because I want them to know that I’m proud of them. I do feel happy where I am right now. I’ve received so many heartwarming messages from people all over the world! It makes me happy that I inspire others to paint.
Just for fun, if you were an art tool, what would you be and why?
I would probably be a brush because I love to express myself with different strokes.
What are you excited about today? Any upcoming projects/events you want to share?
I’ve always been vocal about my job being more important than my hobby, but I managed to squeeze in a few workshops. I’m really excited about it and nervous at the same time! The class is full!
My goal is for the students to learn and have a really good overall experience. I’m not charging an overly expensive fee. Bulk of the workshop expense went to the materials that I chose for the students, and of course, good food and coffee.
I’m also planning for an advanced class in September.