Today we have a very open-ended prompt of “casting shadows” that could truly be just about anything you like. I had less than 30 minutes and so I chose one of the things I really like to paint, which is glass. I’m perfectly fascinated by all the weird shapes and lines that appear in glass and though the idea of painting it once frightened me, I now find it really fun! I don’t look at the glass itself when I paint it, but instead, stare at all the lines and shapes inside the glass. This is really all that I end up painting, ignoring everything else, including my perceived notion of what shape a glass ought to take. So, even a quick little doodlewash like this one can appear rather glass-like, and with some fast and admittedly clumsy lunges with a paper towel to lift up running paint, we can sneak a bit of highlights into the shadows. I know that more careful study and extending a painting like this into the wee hours of the morning would produce something more elegant, but I never have the time or patience so I just sort of attack the paper with a paper towel in hand and hope for the best. For me, it’s the most fun. And if it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t come back to it each and every day like I have now for over three years. So I say, find your fun!
When I first started painting, I was bound and determined to learn all of the proper techniques. I tried all of the various approaches presented by all of the various masters and I learned a ton in the process. But, then, I sort of derailed a bit. I began to sketch stuff, not scenes and landscapes, and I splashed my watercolors around in a way that started to feel right for me. I’m not even sure yet if I’ve developed my “style,” that coveted unique approach that artists seek, as I think I’m still happily in search of it. And there are many days, when I have no idea what I’m going to make until the very last moment, like today. I love these days because they’re a complete surprise to even me. I think earlier today, I was planning on painting a piece of fruit of some kind, and then a glass appeared instead when the time came to sit down and sketch. While I do think that planning a large painting is the most important part of the process, when it comes to a bit of little daily practice, I’ve found it’s best to let your mind wander a bit. And that little daily practice is still all I’m actually showing up to share. It’s still all I DO really.
Yet, perhaps, even my daily practice can count as art, as can yours. Making something new is a grand and wonderful thing that deserves to be shared and enjoyed by others. Some days, I might end up with something that’s extraordinary, in spite of my usual reckless approach. Other days, I’ll make something that leaves folks scratching their heads and wondering why on earth that image appeared. Either way, I’m always happy. That’s what art does when it’s at its best. It makes us ask ourselves questions. We aren’t questioning the art so much as our own individual perceptions and the mental journey that begins after that is a fascinating one to me. As humans, we will always seek to find a connection of some kind, a bit of light in the shadow that we can connect with our own experiences. And the artist, serves up life in just a bit of line and paint, forming a piece of the world through their own eyes, blending a palette of their own chosen colors while casting shadows.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, 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!