Last month, when I was visiting the Paris zoo, I walked around the corner and immediately saw a pride of lions sitting in a little tableau right at the main viewing window. I snapped a photo, as there wasn’t any time to sketch that day so I could doodlewash it later. It was devilishly cold that day, so I was actually happy to keep my gloves on. But, as it turns out, it’s really tough to quickly cram three lions into one little page of a sketchbook, so I had to go with a much more simplified style than my usual fare. There are very few lines, but it bring back that memory of seeing them for the first time there as I thought it magical. I later found out the reason they were sitting like that, practically performing in a stage show, was simply because that rock was heated. There was actually a forth one behind the one in the middle, but I omitted that one being I was running out of time. I secretly adore being rushed for time as I’m forced to figure out how to make something without too much fuss. And I love big cats like these, even though they wouldn’t likely be up for a friendly cuddle and I’ve never been close enough to one to see if I’m also allergic to the larger versions.
The lions were all looking in the same direction, and I couldn’t tell whether something had captured their attention or if they just didn’t want to stare directly at us. Occasionally, one would yawn as if bored, but the effect of seeing all those sharp teeth at once looked a bit foreboding. But, once the mouth closed, they went back to looking like cute giant kitties again. A group of lions is called a pride, most likely because they are associated with being rather regal and grand. The same reason a group of wise owls is referred to as a parliament. I rather love the idea of a group of your closest counterparts referred to as a pride. I think good friends are certainly something that should make one feel proud. And these lions did seem to know they were rather lovely and possessed a quiet confidence. Of course, at that large size and with those teeth, they probably have ever reason to feel that way. Yet, I had to wonder about the times that I felt pride. It got me thinking about the moments in my life where I truly felt proud of something that I did.
As it turns out, I don’t often think about pride and I’m usually just happy or glad that I was able to do some crazy thing I tried. I guess, though, in those moments I am rather proud of myself. When it comes to my daily sketches, there are some that feel like hits and others that feel like misses. The same goes for my little rambles that show up here. But, what I’ve found is that no matter what I’ve made each day, I am rather proud that I’ve managed to make it. It’s a tiny victory, to be sure, but one that makes me feel good. It’s wonderful to delight in something you created. It’s that delight that transmits itself to the people who view what you make. Still, I struggle with confidence much of the time and can worry that what I’m making won’t be particularly interesting to anyone but me. That’s actually never once been true as there’s always someone who likes it, but that doesn’t stop me from questioning myself. That’s why I’m so thankful for the Doodlewash community for sketching along with me and inspiring me through those challenging days. And I hope each of you have felt the same on this art journey. It’s wonderful to know that if we just stick together, we can always experience the joy of a lion’s pride.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink 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!
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!