For Day Seven of World Watercolor Month, our optional prompt of “Breathe” made me think about enjoying the smell of flowers. While I’m not a fan of the heat that the summer months bring where I live, I do love the beauty of nature this time of year. Everything is green and lovely and, in my neighborhood, there are lots of gardens with all types of flowers. Those pops of color always make me smile. Nature really knows how to paint and there’s so much to learn from that palette. Philippe and I were on a walk yesterday and I saw a sea of coneflowers. Our dog Phineas seemed very interested in the smell, however, neither Philippe nor I could smell anything from our height. I wanted to get down on all fours and smell them, but realized that would look bizarre and likely elicit neighborhood watch calls. But, I love that coneflowers smell a bit like honey to attract butterflies and bees and then change to a sweet vanilla scent. Nature is a wondrous thing.

Actually, Philippe also commented that he didn’t find these flowers the most attractive option for landscaping. He sort of wished there was less ball and more petal, or something along those lines. I was a bit distracted at the moment staring at everything around me. Indeed, we had spotted these coneflowers outside a row of apartments and the design of the planting was sparse and not particularly inspired. Yet, when I was a kid, these flowers would pepper the fields of my grandparent’s farm. They were completely untamed and wild and that created a beautiful look. There’s something to be said for planning, but there’s equally something to be said for letting nature take its course. It’s not terribly different for sketching really, as many of the sketches I’ve made that I enjoy most are the ones where I didn’t overthink things. After over six years of doodling every day, I still struggle with letting my mind go and just allowing things to happen on the page.

While it’s true that some sketches simply turn out better than others, and sometimes I can’t even tell you why. But, much of the time I think the common denominator is a feeling of calm and a sense of joy. If I’m too stressed or worried about the end result, I’m never as happy with the outcome. If I can just get into that zone where I let my “oh so confident” inner child take the pen and brush, I’m always more pleased with what happens next. So, when it comes to sketching stuff, I’ve learned what all children already know. That everything I make is wonderful! And it’s not my job to judge my work so much as to adore it for whatever it caused me to learn that day. I have to care about my art as one might care for a little puppy. It’s still growing each and every day. Sometimes, when it comes to this journey of art, it helps to have a loving nature.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.:  Yellow Ochre, Gold Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Terra Cotta, Opus (Vivid Pink), Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Turquoise and Indigo. 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!
Puppy Smelling Flowers Coneflowers Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

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19 thoughts on “Loving Nature

  1. That was wonderful Charlie – I absolutely love the sentiments in your last paragraph and you have inspired me to think the same way – I make beautiful art and beautiful music. 🙂 and I will adore both 🙂

  2. Charlie, your painting made me cry because it was like I was looking at my little boy, smelling flowers. Even down to the white tipped paws and that curvy tail that looked a shark’s fin when he walked past the coffee table and it was the only thing we could see. The only difference is that my Gordo was a nudist. haha haha No collar. He didn’t smell my flowers, but he loved the dryer vent and dryer sheets. I have missed him so much these past couple of weeks. Thank you for painting my little boy, Charlie.

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