Today we went with friends to the zoo and had a fabulous time, so I had just a quick moment a bit later than usual this evening to pop in and answer our Doodlewash prompt of moonlight. I always include prompts like these for people who love painting landscapes, but for someone like me who just sketches, well “stuff,” these types of prompts are a real challenge. So, I quickly sketched a black raven, which I think is well-suited for Halloween month and figured adding a bit of a blue cast might get across the idea of a moonlit night. These days here, the night comes rather quickly during the fall and the moon is already present, as if impatient to just get the evening started already. I will start being bothered by these short bursts of daylight come January, but right now I’m perfectly enthralled. I adore these first few months of the season when everything just seems a bit more cozy and dreamy. It’s like the light is telling me to slow down a bit and just enjoy each and every moment for what it brings.
At the zoo today, we saw a dingo, which is a feral dog native to Australia. This made me think of an article I read where they talked about how our own breed of dog, a basenji, was first exhibited at the Zoological Garden in Paris. At this point in time, in the 1880’s the breed was referred to as a Congo Terrier. Later, in the early 1900’s, the Berlin Zoo would exhibit the same breed under the name of Congo Dog. For some reason, this makes me giggle when I think about all of those dreams of taking a zoo animal home as a child, that finally came true. And as the sun was setting and the moon was creeping into its rightful place in the sky, I was just happy to be coming back home to my little Phineas, now dubbed basenji. This moonlit time of the year is a time where he almost hibernates and we see him less than usual. But every moment spent with my little zoo dog is a beautiful moment indeed. That wild side is still definitely there and that makes every interaction at times confounding and most times, just rather amazing.
I’ve no idea what sort of spell is behind moonlight, but it always takes my mind on a journey back to all of the things I cherish. Though as a kid I might have experienced times when I was scared of the dark, these days, I just feel a sort of comfort. Once the glare of the sun has set each day, I’m left with only the dim light of the moon and my own thoughts. It’s in this place that I pause a bit more to consider my life and everything in it. Not the brightest, most shiny things that only the sun can illuminate, but those things that just have a steady moonlit glow of familiarity. The things I indeed love most. Like our best friends who we just spent the day with and my zoo dog waiting for me when I returned home. These are the bits of life that shine the brightest, especially in the contemplative hours of the night. And though I had precious little time to do so, showing up here is also important to me. After all of this time, you can still find me showing up each day to display whatever came to mind, like a raven in the moonlight.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Vermilion, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!