Today’s art challenge prompt of lake, made me first think of frogs, but then Philippe suggested a duck so that’s where we ended up instead. There are just a few days left in June and very soon we’ll be heading into World Watercolor Month in July once again! The countdown on my site insists on using my own time zone, but there’s actually less days than it’s showing before the fun begins for my friends in New Zealand and Australia! I sincerely hope that everyone reading this will join in at some point during the month, even if they aren’t able to do the full month-long challenge. All you have to do is add the hashtag #WorldWatercolorMonth when you post on social media, even if it’s just whatever lovely artwork featuring some watercolor that you were planning to post anyway. And you’ll be added to our global social gallery. Yep! World Watercolor Month is not only the biggest month of the year for watercolor, it’s also the easiest challenge on the planet to participate in! No rules, save the use of watercolors (or gouache!) and a heck of a lot of fun. Join us! As for ducks and lakes, well, I do have actually have a story about those, so please read on.
Once, when I was a kid, I remember visiting one of the local lakes. There are several large lakes not too far from where I live and visiting them was always a delight. I’ve always loved animals of all kinds, so spotting a duck was particularly fun. Seeing one floating way out in the middle of the water, barely a silhouette, was intriguing, but having one paddle up to say hello was a perfectly enchanting experience. I remember once, a little duck swam up and just locked eyes with me. At that age, there’s a certainty when it comes to communication. If I could see its eyes and it could see mine, we must actually be talking. Why, later in life, when it magically happens again with our spouse, we call it romance. Back then, in my childish imagination I thought the duck had purposely singled me out. We were, after all, both small compared to everything around us. We had so much in common. I wasn’t quite as adept as a swimmer though, so I stayed safely on the edge of the water.
This was nothing worth remembering at all. Just a boy and a duck on a summer day. Yet, in my memory that glance lasted for hours. There was a complete silent conversation filled with whimsy and wonder that I can still remember to this day. And when I think back, I realize, that being so small in a big giant world was often intimidating. Literally everyone around me was taller, bigger, and seemed to know more about things than I did. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to grow up and become smart and do all the things that the big kids did. After many years passed, I spent my youth doing just that. Trying to achieve things, getting awards and accolades, yet often feeling smaller than ever. There were always people who could do what I was doing and do it better. I was never the master, always the student. This frustrated me back then, but today, it’s something I embrace with joy. Perhaps, that’s what that little creature was trying to explain to me so many years ago when we had that chat. Don’t ever compare yourself to others and sometimes, under the bright rays of a glowing sun, it’s rather more amazing to be just a little duck in a big lake.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue (My Da Vinci Trio, click here to learn more!). 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!
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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!