Day 9 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Watermelon Smoothie Watercolor Food Illustration - #doodlewash

Making Smoothies

With today’s prompt of “smooth,” I thought of a million different things, so in an effort to stop imagining and just paint something already, I opted for a watermelon smoothie. Though the credit for true smoothness would likely go to the glass in this one, I thought of this just because I like the idea of a smoothie. Plus, it’s a cute word. You literally throw a bunch of ingredients in a blender and pulverize them until they’re ready to drink through a straw. This is something that even I can manage with my not so much limited as non-existent kitchen skills. This is also how I approach my illustrations. I squint for a bit at whatever it is I’m about to recreate on paper and then throw a bunch of ingredients at it with glee, happily blending them together until something new is made. That’s what I love about sketching with watercolor. You don’t have to be exact, you just have to get the illusion of something across. I learned by pulling bits of ideas and techniques from urban sketchers, illustrators, and studio painters. I blended all of this together to make something I call a doodlewash and while it isn’t precisely any of those approaches, it hopefully makes an interesting drink in the end.

One of the things I’ve learned on this art journey is that no matter what you make or how you make it, it’s always uniquely yours. Your hand, your mind, your heart come together to create something that can only be made by you. In art school, instructors may have had us copy a famous painting, but we always ended up with a classroom full of unique interpretations. It’s not skill that makes our work so different. It’s something else entirely. The way we see is the real key to the equation and this is as unique as a fingerprint. We should absolutely learn wonderful techniques from as many of the fantastic artists who share them as we possibly can. But, ultimately, what we make will always be our own creation. This is the amazing thing about art. No matter what you do, you are always taking part in a bit of self-expression. And this is also why I don’t stress too much about technique or whether I’m doing things properly. At the very least, I always know I’m doing things the way that only I can do them.

And so it strikes me that learning to paint is not just about the final results. It’s about the ingredients that you choose to blend together. This is why I love featuring other artists. We have so much that we can learn from the various techniques and pure emotion that they include in their work. Equally, there’s much to understand about the journey that brought them to where they are today. I have to smile when I read the stories of artists who, just like me, abandoned a paint brush for more than 20 years. It’s not so much time lost in our case, as a beautiful enlightenment gained. Each day that I now get to play with paints and a brush is even more of a gift. A discovery that makes my life so much richer, knowing that I’ll be able to make something brand new appear at some point. Some days, the results are far better than others. But, that doesn’t make the experience any less delicious. After all, I’m not making masterpieces, I’m just making smoothies.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: Pyroll Red, Azo Orange, Permanent Green Pale, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al-Star Fountain Pen – Extra Fine, with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 9 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Watermelon Smoothie Watercolor Food Illustration - #doodlewash

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14 thoughts on “Making Smoothies

  1. Your painting is beautiful — and a creative take on “smooth” too boot. But what you wrote about the difference in how we *see* things, and the discovery and enlightenment you’ve gained since you started painting again? Well, that’s just downright inspiring. Seriously, Charlie. I don’t know how you come up with these gems day after day after day, but THANK YOU.

  2. I took a clay sculpting class once where about 25 students each week worked on a bust while the same model sat (patiently). There were about 25 interpretations of the model, most of them rendering some aspect of her features and in different styles. What was most fascinating was something I noticed as we all neared the end, and I pointed it out to the instructor. No matter how any one of us captured the model’s features, every single artist sculpted their own nose rather than the model’s. I was the only exception as I sculpted hers. (I hate my nose and would never give it to anyone else, even a clay sculpture.) I may have already told you this story, so feel free to delete if I did.

    Your smoothie has made me hungry – a very tempting painting, Charlie. Perfect colors and perfect textures.

    1. Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕I love that story!! hehe… actually I’m not sure if you’ve told it before, but who cares… it’s awesome, and others might not have read it yet. That’s so true! I think we do add bits of ourselves, at least when they’re bits we like!

  3. Wonderful! I like very much the idea of a doodlewash being a smoothie, I like the idea of a doodlewash smoothie, and I like the idea of a smoothie! I don’t think I’ve ever had a watermelon smoothie; now I like that idea too!

      1. Haha, I was waiting for this! It’s nowhere near as cold, so my teeth can just about withstand a smoothie. Of course, they also taste much better than ice cream, so that helps 😉 Now I wonder if there’s watermelon ice cream? Well, I’ve heard of ham and cheese and mushroom ice creams before, so surely there is… I can imagine it being sort of okay!

  4. You always use the same pen no matter your colours. Perhaps a prompt involving your favourite materials at some point?
    I love to follow along this journey, not brave enough to show yet though. Thought I’d comment rather than just stalk. 😊

    1. Thanks, Susan! 😃💕 hehe… stalkers always welcome! But you should definitely post something! Just go for it… my first posts were all pretty wretched, but I was so proud of actually doing it… so I though… who cares!! I’ve posted a few times about my fave materials, but they do alternate. In my About the Doodlewash section I list what I use. My pens… yep… always Lamy Safari Al Star… I LOVE THEM! I actually have 3 filled with black, sepia, and blue, but only usually use black and sepia. I haven’t used blue in quite a long time, though.

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