Today we’re talking a walk in the woods as I continue to attempt to fill the entire page of my sketchbook this month. This time via a doodlewash of a creek of some kind. I purposely choose a reference full of ridiculous detail to force myself to sketch a little faster and looser so I could see what would happen. This is what happened. I loved walking through the woods at my grandmother’s house and coming across a little creek was like finding gold, so I guess that’s why I landed here. As ever, I don’t plan what I’m going to do each day so I’m just as surprised as you are as to what appears. And looking at it now, my limited palette or rushed attempt made the creek bed look a bit dry, so this could also be simply a path. Really, it’s up to you to imagine. Philippe said this one reminds him a little of Jurassic Park, which is both cool and terrifying to imagine a dinosaur lurking around the corner. But it was fun to scribble and splash paint around hoping something that roughly looked like some sort of landscape would appear.
I used to love to go on nature hikes, but it’s been ages since I’ve been somewhere that had more than lots of trees to offer. I remember one of my favorite journeys was walking through the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. It was so beautiful, and had I been sketching at the time, I likely would have plopped down on the ground with my sketchbook and told my fellow travelers to come retrieve me at the end of the day. Granted this was one of the smallest rain forests in the world, but it was also one of the most biologically diverse national forests. It didn’t feel so much like I was visiting another place, it felt more like I had landed on an alien planet. Which made the entire trip extra magical. The incredible trails and scenic views were breathtaking and, as ever, I made that typical broken promise to myself one makes on vacations that I would some day return. I’ve never been back since.
But I love the sense of discovery when walking through a new forest. Each path is an invitation to wander down it to see where it might lead. Each little stream is begging you to follow it to see what secrets it holds. It feels a bit like painting has been for me, especially this month as I attempt to venture down new paths. I’ve no clue where this journey will take me, but it’s been fun to see what appears to cover the page. I think that’s why I love starting each new day with a blank sheet of paper. It’s like finding a new path to follow and experience something new. I’ve no idea what’s around the corner or if what I’m scribbling and painting will turn out to be any good at all. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m having a blast trying. So, if anyone reading this has ever felt timid about venturing down new paths when it comes to their creative pursuits. Just take it at a run! There’s no better way. Sure, who knows what’s hiding around the next corner, but it’s always something amazing. After all, it’s just a walk in the woods.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!