Though I’ve often created doodlewashes with only two colors, I’ve never tried to go fully monochromatic. I adore color, so it’s everything I can do to avoid using it, but I gave it a shot today with these two glasses in only Payne’s Grey. It was a really fun exercise and helped me focus on the tonal values rather than get distracted by all the reflected color I always see. That said, I really wanted to splash in some reflected color, but decided to leave it alone and keep it as is in honor of the prompt for today. In real life, of course, everything has a hint of color in it. Things are never entirely monochromatic and even shadows hold secrets of various and sometimes unexpected hues. Curiously, when I was glancing at this particular doodlewash my mind added in bits of a pale orange to the reflected bottom of the glass on the right. There’s no other color there, but my memory of how glasses should look added it in for me. No matter how plain something seems, there are always colors to be found.
I can’t imagine a world that didn’t have color in it. Even in this doodlewash, I couldn’t resort to Lamp Black and had to go with a bit of a tinted dark, preferring to see the world in shades of grey. I think my whole philosophy on life is much like this. There’s always more to discover than just what’s on the surface and nothing is as certain as it seems at first. This ambiguity in the world bugs some people, but I find it really fascinating. Each situation has a thousand different options on where it could go next. Each person has a story that hasn’t been fully told yet. There’s always more to learn. This is what keeps life interesting and makes getting up each day worth it. It’s the texture of that fabric on that chair in the corner. The one I’ve looked at a thousand times, but for the first time today I realized there are tiny specs of orange there. This isn’t a groundbreaking realization, but simply something wonderfully new that makes my normal environment feel just a bit more alive with wonder.
Perhaps that’s why I always gravitate toward painting ridiculously common things. I love taking a piece of food or a couple of glasses and looking at them as if it’s the first time. Each time I sketch something, I see something new that I didn’t realize was there before. And I love the comfort of knowing that even my everyday world, though far from exotic, is filled with beauty and new mysteries to uncover. I don’t always sketch from life, as I care more about the idea of the thing and I’m not trying to create a documentary about it. So, yeah, my art journal is a bit weird in that it happens via these posts and is a bit more of a collaboration than just my own personal journey. My hope is that these objects spinning in space without any real context will make you think of stories of your own. Wonderful memories that take you back to thoughts of people and places that matter to you. Or just feelings that you can’t quite twist into a full recollection, but make you feel happy just the same. After all, life is never black and white.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
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!