When I thought about “ocean creatures,” our prompt for today, my mind first went to fish and then to dolphins and then just jumped inexplicably to sea otters. By the time I finished deliberating about what I should actually paint, I realized I only had a few precious minutes left in order to actually do it. So, I opted for a quick ink outline and a loose and mostly painted 3-color doodlewash in hopes something otter-like might appear. I think these creatures are rather cute and always seem to know just how to relax a bit in life. Something that I often struggle with as I’m rushing to get all of my mostly self-inflicted to-do lists completed and try to keep up with all of the projects I have going at all times. But, my painting time is a time to simply play and do whatever comes to mind, even when it comes in the form of only a few minutes. They’re my minutes. A moment to escape the day, unwind, and float into my imagination a bit. A time to move all worry and doubt to the back corners of my mind and just happily splash some paint around on paper. It’s become a rather exciting ritual as I’m completely surprised by what appears every single time.
I’m always a big cheerleader when it comes to getting people to post whatever they make. I’ve never once stopped to consider whether anything I’ve ever doodlewashed is “worthy” of posting. I just post it and see what people might think. Sometimes, what appears here is well-loved and there are lots of comments, and other times, there are far fewer. But here’s the thing that’s always true. Somebody, somewhere, thinks it’s rather awesome. Think about that for a moment. Someone out there in the world smiled and I was the cause of that happening. To me, that’s the coolest and most rewarding thing of all! I’ve had some posts on Instagram that only garnered a single comment. In my mind, I’m first thinking, wow, nobody liked this one at all, so it must be rubbish. Yet, it wasn’t rubbish to that one person who said they adored it. So in that very moment, it became art. A piece of work by the very definition that is “appreciated primarily for its beauty or emotional power.” That’s all art is in the end. And it only takes one person to make this true and therefore make something art, even if that person is simply you.
Sure, there are masters, and that’s why we have a name for that. But you don’t have to actually be a master to make art. Okay, yeah, masters might sell a lot more paintings, get featured in galleries across the world and several other perks that come with being one of the proclaimed best. And the rest of us get to admire and learn from them the entire time, all the while making our own little bits of art to share with the world. For every master getting featured in a gallery, there’s also somebody on Etsy making insanely creative things that are viewed and enjoyed by even more people than might ever visit a physical gallery. We live in a pretty cool time where we have the opportunity to share our art with people across the entire world in the click of a button. I hope you’ll join me in taking that opportunity. Together, we can show the world all different types of art and find that person out there who just might be in need of smile. I’m perfectly random in my own approach to what I create each day, but there’s also something wonderful about simply enjoying the process of sketching and painting as though I’m just floating like a sea otter.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Yellow Ochre, Turquoise, and Maroon Perylene. 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!