Wandering down the trail this evening on our #NatureDoodlewash hike, we’ve stumbled across this tiny newborn chameleon. I wasn’t sure what to doodlewash today as I kept changing my mind on what to paint. Then I started thinking about changing and how things change in nature. And then those ideas made me think of chameleons and so that’s why we have one here. That’s really pretty much how my mind works in a nutshell and probably why they keep trying to put me on Adderall. But it’s rather intriguing for a lizard, so I figured it was worthy of a stop to have a look.
Special color pigment cells under the skin called chromatophores allow chameleons to change their skin color. I’d always thought that chameleons simply change color for purposes of camouflage and to thwart predators. But they can also change colors simply to express emotions. For example, they can get darker when they’re angry or simply want to scare someone. When male chameleons are feeling sexy, they’ll sport a light multi-colored pattern to woo the ladies who apparently go gaga for rainbows. And the range of colors changes depending on the species. Some can create combined patterns of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, yellow and purple.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the chameleon’s abilities. Rather than simply frown to let someone know of my displeasure, I could turn a deep maroon and remove all doubt. But if human skin color changed and wasn’t consistent, I imagine we wouldn’t have so many issues of race in the world. Everyone would be considered the same, and judged only on their emotions. Then we’d know to simply avoid anyone who turned the color of hate. Though change is always rather difficult for humans. It might take years to get used to this new skin. Truly understanding the world for the first time, like a fragile baby chameleon.
Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month!
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Permanent Green Pale, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Neutral Tint. Sennelier: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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