A few months ago, Philippe and I visited our local zoo, which has a small aquarium near the penguin exhibit full of tropical fish. As groups of children came inside, despite the impossibly cute penguins, they would first rush to aquarium and press their hands and faces against the glass, trying to get a better look. The real fun came, of course, when they spotted characters from their beloved Pixar movie and got the ultimate thrill of actually finding Nemo. The squeals of utter delight that came from the group were joyous and the giggles that followed were totally contagious. So, that was my inspiration for today’s little doodlewash. A tiny glimpse into the dream of a child and that infinite and magical wonder they possess. It’s a truly enviable ability to pause for a moment in a state of complete and utter awe. Each time I see something like this it warms my heart and fills me with my own childlike wonder again. As much as I try to approach life this way at all times, it’s a joy to be shown exactly how its done by the little experts.
We don’t have one of those large aquariums where I live, but simply a small one that’s primarily meant for actual kids. When Philippe and I were in Chicago a little over a year ago, we took a visit to Shedd Aquarium and had an amazing time. Watching fish swim about is rather hypnotic, even if they aren’t one of the “famous” movie star versions. And I love going to places like this because it takes me back to those fun school field trips that I took as a kid. Although, my mother would say that I would turn nearly any new place we visited into a sort of field trip. Seeing new things and learning about nature has always been fun for me. I do enjoy a trip to the history museum, but that’s mostly about humans, so given a choice, I’ll always choose natural history instead. Also, human history can be a bit depressing as our species has done some rather horrible things that could never be considered natural. And I’ve always found nature to be the better teacher. Especially for artists, as it’s a wonderful way to discover new color palettes. Nature paints with all of the colors at once and never gets a single combination wrong.
In just one week from today, Philippe and I will be heading back to Paris to visit family and friends and I’m thrilled. Though I’ve been many times, I always see something new that I hadn’t discovered before and, yes, find a way to turn it into a field trip. My childish exuberance and madcap doodlewashes are not always kind to my watercolor brushes, however, so I purchased a brand new one for the trip (In case you’re curious, it’s my favorite, which is an Escoda Versatil Travel 6 Round). I’ll be getting a haircut before the trip as well, so neither myself nor my brush will now be having a bad hair day while I’m there. Though Paris itself is lovely, I’m mostly excited for the chance to paint with my 4 year old niece, Alice. I’ve only been able to watch her enjoy her new hobby on video so I’m excited for the live demonstration. Her mother said that I should teach her while I’m there, but in my mind, I know that it’s me who will likely end up becoming the student. Learning to see again through those young eyes that see only pure possibility on a sheet of white paper or animated characters magically springing to life on a trip to the aquarium.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, Indigo, Vermillion, and Aureolin. 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!