When I saw that our prompt is “Sunglasses” for today, I winced at first as sunglasses are deceptively difficult to render. Yes, I actually wrote this set of prompts, but I never look at them again until I come to see what I’m meant to sketch each day, so I’m often quite surprised. Proportions are tough when it comes to glasses, but any chance to paint glass, reflections, and metal and it’s a good day indeed. When I look at the world around me, I immediately see shapes and color. This is a good habit to have when painting reflections like these as the shapes that make something look metallic or reflective aren’t the shapes one would ever expect. They’re an odd bending of the world that turns things upside down a bit and stretches them sideways. So, I don’t worry about what I’m actually sketching in these moments, and just make the shapes that I see there. After I was finished, I could see the reflection of a blue sky and a landscape of treetops. But, for me anyway, if I thought about those shapes actually being those things when I was sketching them, I would be certain to botch them. My brain would want to make little corrections when my eyes are perfectly capable of jotting down all of the details all on their own. When it comes to color, however, that’s something best chosen with the heart.
This week, Philippe has been sitting next to me watching a show on BBC called Celebrity Painting Challenge on his computer while I’ve been making sketches. And, we just watched the finale moments ago. Yes, our kitchen counter is both for serving food, hosting a pop-up art studio, and serving as an entertainment center. I found myself stopping often to watch a bit and then going back to my own little piece of sketchbook art. It wasn’t a watercolor painting challenge, but I loved seeing all of the art and hearing the reactions from the artist judges. At one point one of the judges told an artist, “you have to just keep looking and seeing, and continue redrawing things to see what’s there.” Or, something rather close to those words as I was doing several things at once. This was in response to a bit of missing architectural perspective and a lack of converging lines, but it’s really true for everything in art. The more we draw something, the more we begin to understand it better. There are little epiphanies that come along the way that we can’t quite describe, but make the next iteration just a touch better in some way.
That’s the magic of art for me. It’s what keeps me coming back to it each and every day. And, equally, it’s why I don’t show up with the same sort of “how to” approach that’s quite likely expected of me on an art blog such as this. But, for me, I’m all about the “why to” approach. I simply want to share why you should always chase after your artistic dreams and try on approaches and styles rather than simply wearing them outright. We have such unique styles and approaches that the world needs to see! Technique is important in relaying information, but in the end, it’s only our hearts that can truly express ideas. So, yeah, I’ve become that crazy cheerleader who shouts, “follow your heart!” I don’t have decorative pompons to cheer you on, though that would be super awesome! Instead, I have this humble blog, where I just share what I made today, in order to prove that you can definitely make something each day as well. Because, in the end, art isn’t about a particular movement or technique, it’s simply a beautifully unique and awesome expression of how we see the world.
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 black 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!