After yesterday’s post, reminiscing about Jello and time with family when I was young, our prompt of “shades of blue” took me to a denim jacket, also called a jean jacket. Though it’s been around for decades, during the 80’s this was a required costume for teenagers. I had one, of course, and wore it around proudly, often adding buttons for a bit of flare or just to cover the holes that appeared as I completely wore it out. The difficulty with jackets made from jeans is that they don’t really pair well with actual jeans, my favorite form of lower body attire. It just looks weird. This, of course, didn’t stop people from decking out in denim head to toe. There was a term used here in the early 50’s for this called the “”Canadian tuxedo.” This was because of a story where American singer Bing Crosby was refused entry to a fancy hotel in Canada, because of his unfortunate choice to wear denim on both top and bottom. Yet, this created a fashion trend that still pops up today. I totally get it. There’s nothing more comfortable than a great pair of blue jeans, so why not where them all over your body? And blue is a lovely color, so perhaps it’s nice, after all, to just stick with it.
I was always behind the trend when it came to fashion as a teenager. Whatever I was wearing, it was almost guaranteed to be last year’s craze or even something from the previous decade. I was completely behind the times, as they say. Looking back, I realize I just wore what I actually liked. I’d try on all of the fashions that were in vogue, but I wouldn’t keep wearing them if they didn’t feel like a good fit. I’ve taken this philosophy with me through my watercolor sketching journey as I try on various artist’s approaches and techniques. It’s a total joy and I completely recommend it! DO it! We should definitely be dipping our watercolor brushes in a new way, learning from the masters, and exploring all of the various ways watercolor can be used. But when you find a way you really enjoy, stop and take note. There’s a reason for this, and when you paint the way you love most, you’ll always produce something wonderful and enjoy the journey even more. And just like denim on denim is a bit too “matchy, matchy” to only use one style. Mix and match and combine various styles until you find the fit that’s uniquely you!
And like fashion trends, we can still shift and change as we paint along this wonderful art adventure. But, if anyone tells you there’s a “right” and a “wrong” way, this should alert your suspicions. There absolutely isn’t in art. There are simply impressive and unique ways that artists have touched our hearts over time. Techniques and brush strokes that in themselves create terrific emotions and story. Steal these, and blend them into your own work in a way that fits you like a glove. Or a great pairs of jeans, or even that cherished jean jacket that holds so many memories. We are heading to the end of this first week of World Watercolor Month and if you’ve taken on the daily challenge, then keep on painting! Don’t stop! Have fun and play each day to discover those little bits of yourself that you didn’t even know mattered so much. The bits that define you as an artist, even if you’re just starting out. Our journey is all about finding the artist within and that starts with finding your perfect fit. A bit of flare and fashion, like a well-worn jean jacket, leading you to your next little artistic epiphany in simple shades of blue.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, and Benzimida Orange. 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!