Today we have a bit of asparagus in answer to the prompt, and I have to say that sketching asparagus is rather difficult. Its alien form and strange little bumps are tough to render in a quick little sketch, but I hope the idea came across. We spent the afternoon at a Picasso exhibit, where everything was about sharing an idea more than the exact form. I love the way Picasso used a single line to convey so much. Since this particular subject was so complex, I just started with a contour drawing of a single line to get things going. After a few quick washes, I moved to my usual technique I simply call “jabbing bits of dark in places.” I’m not sure it counts as a technique at all, and that’s why I don’t feel qualified to instruct, but it does help make a satisfying doodlewash when you have less than 30 minutes. Which is very often the case for me, so I guess you could say, even if it’s not a true technique, it’s certainly become a sort of style.
Also, if anyone is having trouble uploading to the gallery on Doodlewash, hold tight, as there’s a little bug that I’m hoping some smart programmers will help me fix next week. It’s far beyond my skill level and perfectly bizarre, so for this one, I need to call in the experts. In some ways, this might be a good thing as it means I can focus a bit more on the glass of wine I’m drinking while we wait. It’s been a whirlwind week and I really need a tiny break to recharge. It was a blast visiting the Picasso exhibit today and good to get out in the world a bit. As much as Philippe and I enjoyed it, as soon as we finished there, we headed straight to my favorite bit of the museum which houses work by French impressionists. A broad terminology that collects post-impressionists, like one of my favorite, Georges Seraut. When I was in art school, decades ago now, I remember sitting and looking at the tiny little study of bathers that we have on permanent display here. Those many dots in his paintings were mesmerizing and taught be so much about color harmony.
When I walk through an art gallery, it’s interesting to think about what it was that made a certain piece relevant enough to appear there. Many times, it’s simply the whim of the curator or the works of someone so prolific they could define a movement. Sometimes, I see something that leaves me scratching my head as to what it might mean. I stare intently at the piece as if it will somehow give up its mystery and reveal to me what makes it so exceptional. I might see it, that glint of genius, but other times I just walk on to the next, hoping it will produce more of an effect. When you compare the famous paintings that get put on the most coasters and turned into coffee mugs, there’s definitely something similar there. A combination of line, shape, color and intrigue that makes us pause a bit to enjoy the moment. To dream of the story of the scene or ponder the abstract shapes. It’s a wonderful moment to experience. And one day, I hope to make a large impactful painting that demands to be framed, but for now, I’m quite content to steal some time retreating into my sketchbook to paint a bundle of asparagus.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Leaf Green, Ultramarine Violet, Da Vinci Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!