Lately, it seems like my life is filled with unexpected turns and extra things keep popping onto my already lengthy to do list. Many of these are the terribly drab adulting things that steal precious minutes from my artistic playtime. But, I was determined to show up with some coconuts for today’s prompt. Though technically not a true nut, of course, more of a drupe, but by broad definitions coconuts could at once be consider a fruit, nut, and a seed. They have made botanists and scientists a little nutty for years and there’s still debate about when and where they originated. And absolutely none of this has any bearing on the fact that they are just darn delicious! I’ve spent this month playing a bit more and making up different little compositions and it’s been so fun. I think that sometimes not having time to think too much about things when sketching can actually be a gift. As most of you know, I advocate a rather childish approach to art. Just kidding, really, as I simply got a giggle from the way that sounded. In truth, what I really mean to say is that I think letting one’s inner child take over whenever possible is a wonderful way to create.
I adore seeing a watercolor painting or illustration that has that bit of sparkle to it. Even if the subject matter is very serious or gritty, it’s wonderful to see a sense of play to lines and a gleefully interesting use of color. And art is a wonderful stress reliever when it’s not made to be just one of those other adulting things that we feel we have to do. It’s instead something that we just want to DO and can happily enjoy. One of my adulting things I had to contend with today was being summoned to jury duty. I received the letter in a stack of mail waiting for me when I returned from Paris. I was not looking forward to it at all and frankly get a bit stressed at having to pay attention to things for longer periods at a time. I wasn’t randomly selected, which I was quite thankful for as I wasn’t sure how I would get everything done if I had been. But, what struck me was the almost playful demeanor of the judge talking us through everything. He took a serious thing and added a measured touch of lighthearted reality to it all, relating it to our actual lives. At the end of his speech, many people in the room were almost feeling eager to participate. I still wasn’t one of them, but you had to give the guy props for his innovative approach!
What struck me most is that an adult brain would have said that this judge’s approach was inappropriate and not solemn enough for such proceedings. Yet he had most everyone in the jury assembly room smiling, which is no small feat in such circumstances. Instead of giving an adult lesson about duty, he simply appealed to everyone’s heart. Something so simple, yet so effective, that I contend only an inner child could have come up with and execute with such aplomb. But, sure, I was secretly happy that I would have time to sketch coconuts, which in itself seems perfectly silly and like a child talking. I guess, the thing I’ve learned today and in life in general is that being serious for the sake of it, is not a productive thing at all. Life is often serious, but it’s at the same time incredibly ridiculous and sometimes perfectly inscrutable. It’s odd to ignore those bits and pretend that everything is black and white. Instead, there are lots of different colors that shape those shadows and if we keep that sparkle in our eyes we can finally make them all out properly. At least, those were thoughts that came to my mind today as I was feeling a little nutty.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta 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!