For our prompt of “Seahorse” today, I wasn’t sure which color to choose, so I just used them all. When I first started sketching, I would try to match the colors of the references I was using. This month, whenever possible, I’ve decided to turn those decisions over to my inner child instead to see what colors Little Charlie would prefer to see. And actually, my reference in this case was a black and white x-ray of a seahorse skeleton, simply because I liked the pose, so I had to make up the exterior from memory. This approach was a touch scary for my adult mind, yet I’m always impressed and amazed by the confidence of my inner child. To him, literally anything is possible. Anything imagined can be created on paper, and nothing is ever really out of reach. We all have this inner voice, the one full of courage, but it’s a tiny and quiet voice. It’s so easily drowned out by the much louder objections that often come from that adult voice. As I’ve often said before, that one is a total buzzkill, so I always try to ignore it when I’m sketching. Easier said than done sometimes, but so much more fun when I DO!
Today, Philippe and I just hung out at home and binge watched documentaries. That wasn’t the initial plan, but as we were doing other things, they just kept playing in the background. These were about how the universe works, or at least what scientists know about it today. It struck me that for each known thing, there always seemed to be something that’s still unknown and still yet to be discovered. For each answer, another question was posed. It was a bit like when I was a little kid and constantly asking my mother those “why” questions. She’d attempt to answer some, but would then refer me to my set of encyclopedias. No doubt, purchased for her as much as for me. Sometimes, I would find my answer, but other times I would find myself still wondering about things. There was a time when I was young that I thought I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. But, that’s about finding actual answers and I realized I liked inventing my own to fill in the gaps much more. Sometimes, it’s just really fun to make things up from imagination. Though, it’s nice how life worked out in that I ended up marrying a scientist instead.
I tend to ask Philippe a lot of “why” questions as well. Perhaps putting on documentaries in the background is his version of subtlety sending me off to my encyclopedias. But, the world is just a fascinating place to me. Its facts are often as intriguing as its fictions and I find both so thrilling. It’s that combo that I think sneaks its way into my art. It’s not real life, but it’s realistic enough to create a plausible facsimile. Indeed, scientists make their best discoveries not by chasing after the known, but by imagining the unknown. By stopping to ask not simply “why?”, but the even more important question of “what if?” It’s this question that can create the most wonderful new breakthroughs in both science and art. And when you throw in lots of creativity and imagination into the mix, then well, you might just find yourself with a horse of a different color.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!