About Ohn Mar Win
Ohn Mar is an illustrator, artist, teacher, and author based in Hertfordshire, England. As a child, she had a strong sense of curiosity and loved to explore. Often even making up imaginary adventures and climbing trees. Over time, she turned this need to explore into her artwork and became a self-taught watercolorist.
A great advocate of sketchbooks, Ohn Mar has filled over 35 watercolor sketchbooks as a record of her creative journey. By sharing her progress and challenges as an artist, she inspires many other people to pick up a paintbrush. These sketch explorations often form the basis for her classes and workshops. She has over 25 on Skillshare with over 150,000 students. Students often remark on her calm and engaging teaching style, and her reassuring considered approach.
Ohn Mar has a gift of bringing joy to exploring your own creative journey. Her approach is not to show you how to “paint like Ohn Mar” but instead how to try new approaches and embrace your mistakes and figuring out what works for you in your painting process. I have come away from two retreats with Ohn Mar full of new ideas and directions and love of trying new things.
Ohn Mar is also known for her fruit and vegetable illustrations. They have been featured on countless branding and packaging projects for clients all over the world. She is particularly proud of her work on a UNICEF project aimed at combating childhood malnutrition in Myanmar, her country of birth.
Faithfully, Ohn Mar lives by a mission statement she wrote for herself: To use her creativity and intuition to support and inspire herself, and then help others do the same. She believes that giving oneself time and permission to play and explore creatively can lead to a happier life. You can find more information about Ohn Mar on her personal website.
Artist Interview: Ohn Mar Win
What inspires you?
I have a passion for transforming ordinary objects or scenes into something fascinating through documentation. Every mundane thing has a unique story to tell, and is personal to us. By capturing and showcasing the beauty in the simplest of things, I aim to inspire others to appreciate the world around them. To me, the magic lies in finding the extraordinary within the ordinary. I’m always on the lookout for new perspectives to share with the world.
How do you work? What is your teaching style?
My teaching style has been described as both calming and inspiring. I encourage my students to draw what truly moves them and to approach their artwork with a sense of playfulness and curiosity. I believe that when we focus too heavily on achieving perfection, we miss out on the joy and freedom that comes with spontaneous creation. Instead, I urge my students to embrace the process of editing and refining their work by simplifying and focusing on the most important elements. By letting go of the need to be perfect and embracing imperfection, we can unlock our true creative potential and be free with our self-expression.
What attracts you about travel journaling?
Travel journaling appeals to me on many levels. Firstly, it allows me to document and preserve my memories of new places and experiences. It also provides a space for an emotive response to what I see as I process my thoughts. Additionally, travel journaling encourages me to be more observant and mindful of my surroundings, as I search for inspiration and details to capture on paper.
Sketchbook keeping is a meditative practice. It allows me to fully immerse myself in the creative process, while also providing a sense of calm and relaxation. By focusing on the present moment and the physical act of drawing or painting, I am able to quiet my mind. Overall, travel journaling is a creative outlet that allows me to fully immerse myself in the journey.
Why do you do what you do?
I am a naturally curious individual who is continuously seeking to broaden my creative horizons. Driven by a sense of adventure and passion for my craft, I am dedicated to continually expanding my creative repertoire, both in terms of technique and medium. Whether I am working on a new piece or experimenting with different tools and materials, I am always open to the endless possibilities that lay ahead. I’m eager to embrace the unknown and challenge myself in new and exciting ways.
I have developed a unique approach to my creative pursuits, one that combines a deep understanding of technique with a willingness to experiment and explore. For me, there is no greater joy than unlocking new creative potentials and uncovering new paths to self-expression, and I am committed to sharing that passion with others, inspiring them to embrace their own artistic journeys and push themselves beyond their limits.
What is your background?
I moved to the UK when I was five, and not knowing the language very well at first, I used drawings to communicate with my teachers, helping me to become incredibly visually creative.
I started a degree in Advertising and Design but switched to illustration after a year as my tutors said my personality may not suit that particular industry. After lying about knowing how ro use watercolors I found work as an in-house artist at Tigerprint/Hallmark who supplied cards and stationery to Marks and Spencer. I also worked as an editorial illustrator for health and beauty and lifestyle magazines until I took 8 years out to bring up my kids. Then I started my sketchbook journey and sharing what I knew. This lead to online teaching opportunities.
Why do students attend your courses? What will they get out of it?
As an artist and teacher, I believe that creating art should be a fun and liberating experience. That’s why I’ve developed an approach that prioritizes experimentation and curiosity. I try to create a low-pressure environment for my students to explore their creativity. I give them the tools and confidence to take risks and push the boundaries of their own artistic abilities. Whether we’re mixing materials, trying out new techniques, or just sketching, I encourage my students to see what happens when they let go of their expectations and embrace the joy of the creative process rather than outcomes.
What have you learned from creating while you travel?
As someone who loves both creating and traveling, I’ve discovered that inspiration can truly come from anywhere. From the patterns of the tiles in a Moroccan market to the vibrant colors of a tropical forest, every new experience presents an opportunity to find beauty in unexpected places. Traveling has also taught me the importance of being open to new perspectives and ways of seeing the world. By immersing myself in different cultures and environments, I’ve also been able to extend my historical and cultural knowledge. In many ways, traveling has been just as valuable to my artistic growth as any formal education or training.
Take (another) Art Walk Vacation
Our Art Walk programs pair unique travel in beautiful destinations with talented teaching artists. We bring you to the most inspiring places to cultivate your creative side. Explore our other programs...
Oct 21-27, 2024 Anne Leuck teaches her art workshop in Venice, Padua and Parma, Italy. See Venice like a local! Taste the best of Parma!
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Sep 24-Oct 6, 2024 join Koosje Koene’s island-hopping sketchbook journal vacation in Greece.