This week we are spotlighting Isabel Crause, a gifted self-taught artist and freelance writer based in Cape Town. Specialising in watercolour and ink, Isabel’s artistic magic lies in her intuitive painting techniques, crafting vivid abstract botanical art that breathes life into any space. Today, we explore Isabel’s journey as an artist, delving into the depths of her boundless creativity and passion for inspiring others to embrace their inner artists.

Q: Congratulations on the success of your recent Intuitive Watercolour Botanical Workshop at the Deckle Edge! How did it feel to have a sold-out event, and what was the highlight of the workshop for you?

A: Thank you for having me in your inspiring space! I’m grateful that so many creative souls want to join my workshops – nothing makes me happier than connecting with likeminded individuals and helping them discover their own creativity and talents.

There were too many highlights to pick just one, but in the end, the fact that everyone left feeling inspired was just the best.

Q: As an artist specialising in watercolour and ink, where do you usually get your art supplies, and why do you choose these particular materials?

A: The Deckle Edge has always been my first stop for everything art related – from inks and watercolours, to brushes, paper and shipping supplies. The range and variety of art materials is unmatched. Also, the team knows me well and is always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

Q: Among all your art supplies, which ones are your absolute favourites, and what makes them so special to work with?

A: There are a few:

I’m not loyal to any brand, but I love my Daniel Smith watercolours, especially the Indigo, Rose of Ultramarine and Undersea Green. The colours are rich and intense, with beautiful pigment that shifts and splits into multiple tones. Prime Art watercolour paper, 300 gsm, cold press – this is my preferred paper as it tolerates the large amount of water I use (which is a lot).

Q: Your artistic style is described as using intuitive painting techniques to create vibrant abstract botanical art. Could you tell us more about how you developed this unique style and what inspires your botanical themes?

A: I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning. I just wanted to create authentic work that happened organically, with ease and flow. I’m an impatient person and don’t like labouring too much over things. So it felt natural to lean into watercolours.

I didn’t want to copy other artists and somehow I knew the only way to do that was to follow my intuition. Even the botanical theme happened by itself. I randomly added water and pigment to the page, and what emerged was abstract botanical beauty.

The water and pigment take to the page already in a state of equilibrium. My hand holds the brush but the painting decides what it becomes. Except for the colour palette, I don’t paint with a plan.

Q: Tapping into your intuition is an essential part of your creative process. Can you share how you learned to trust your instincts while painting and how it has influenced your art?

A: Your intuition is a powerful force that requires you to trust yourself and the process. Realising that it’s ok to fail and knowing you can always start again are the first steps towards finding your creative freedom.

It’s true what they say, you don’t wait for inspiration to strike – it finds you working. So whether you feel inspired or not, keep on creating. I’ve done some of my best work when I’ve been exhausted, at a random time of day, with dirty water and leftover paint. All you need to do is invite creativity in.

My creative process is simple: I show up to the blank page day after day and paint with abandon. To this day, I don’t plan my work – except for which colours I feel like at a given moment. I absolutely love that I don’t know what the end result is going to be – a mess or a thing of beauty. The elusive nature of watercolour and ink is what captivates me.

By taking an intuitive approach, I’ve developed a signature style that cannot be copied – the work is 100% original and unique because it comes from within, as opposed to external influences.

Q: Your journey as a self-taught artist is fascinating. Can you tell us more about your background and how you decided to pursue art as a profession?

A: I ignored my creative calling for most of my adult life, believing being an artist was reserved for the select few, and that there was no place for me. So I pursued all the wrong things, hoping to fill the massive hole in my soul.

After many years as a copywriter, working at global advertising agencies, the desire to create was suddenly reignited and I couldn’t stop painting. I wanted to save the work somewhere as a visual diary and so I started an Instagram page. The next thing I knew, I had a thriving art practice with repeat private collectors. I believe it’s what happens when you answer your true calling and step into your destiny.

Today I ebb and flow between freelance writing and painting – the perfect combination. I love the challenge and fulfilment of both.

Q: Being an artist must bring a lot of fulfilment to your life. Can you elaborate on how art has impacted you personally and emotionally?

A: My art is my oxygen. I need to paint like I need to breathe.

Coming back to my art has given me immense joy, and a purpose – to inspire people to pursue their own creativity. It’s not too late and you’re not too old. Your unique talent is a gift and life’s too short to waste it.

Q: You have three upcoming workshops planned: one for Inktober, a repeat of the popular one in November, and an Abstract Landscape workshop in March. What can participants expect from these workshops, and why did you choose these specific themes?

A: Each workshop has a unique focus but all follow an intuitive approach. No planning or overthinking.

For Inktober, I’ll be sharing my own technique for combining black ink, a limited watercolour palette and gouache. It makes for a luxe result with a sophisticated feel.

The November workshop is all about learning to create flowy, loose watercolour botanicals. Celebrating the beauty of imperfection and exploring the endless possibilities of using just four colours to create a versatile palette.

March ’24 is going to be my first abstract landscape workshop – I’m super excited about this one. I have a great technique that anyone can use to create abstract watercolour landscapes. You don’t want to miss it!

Q: For aspiring artists who want to turn their passion into a profession, what advice would you give them to overcome challenges and pursue their creative dreams?

  1. Find your niche – it gives your work direction and helps you connect with your audience.
  2. When the going gets tough, learn to rest, but keep going.
  3. Find your tribe – make friends with other artists (they are your greatest support and sounding boards).
  4. Research and investigate – most artists have spent countless hours figuring things out, and you can too.
  5. Share your work – good or bad (being vulnerable is part of being an artist).
  6. Do it afraid. You can’t be brave in the absence of fear – make friends with it but don’t give it permission to drive.
  7. Invest in these two books: The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron | Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
  8. Carve out time to create – life is busy, but if you’re serious, you’ll make the time.
  9. Attend as many workshops as you can – the more the better. Expand your mind and creative muscle.
  10. Don’t copy. Take inspiration but make it your own. Look inwards more and outwards less.

Q: Watercolours can be challenging for some beginners. Could you share some artistic tips to help people improve their watercolour techniques and create stunning artworks?

A: I don’t follow the rules when it comes to watercolours, so my best advice would be to invest in quality art materials. It makes your art better.

Q: Lastly, can you describe the most rewarding moment or experience you’ve had as an artist, where you felt that your art had a significant impact on someone else’s life?

A: My artist journey so far has been filled with many significant and rewarding moments, but I’ve recently had a collector who commissioned a big, vibrant painting – she’s battling a life-threatening illness – and says that my work brings her joy on the not-so-great days. And if I my art or workshops can make people feel better or inspired, my job as an artist is done.

If you would like to know more about Isabel Crause and her works you can follow her on Instagram on @isabelcrause_watercolourist or visit her website on

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