Since I’ve already painted lots of things relating to the ocean, our Doodlewash prompt today, I wasn’t sure what to sketch. Then my inner child took over and I ended up with a quick little doodlewash of a clownfish and blue tang floating over some coral. Of course, it’s nearly impossible now to simply see only that as, for many, these fish have been immortalized in their cartoon versions via two wonderful Pixar movies. We visited our local zoo recently and near the penguin exhibit, there’s a tropical fish tank. It’s stunningly gorgeous, but as I was walking up to it, I was nearly trampled by a group of children who rushed past me to press their faces to the glass. Inside the tank were several clownfish and blue tangs beautifully swimming along and little kids started to point while screaming, “Dory! It’s Dory!” This made me smile as I realized that this little blue tang had suddenly become a celebrity to children everywhere. The fact that there were actually 6 identical Dory twins in the tank did nothing to quell the fandom. Each one that swam by the window of the tank, was the actual Dory and they were all suitably mesmerized.
These fish are lovely and I’ve always found them fascinating, but when you pair them with a lovely story they become something more. Not simply fish with exotic coloring, but fish with a past and a narrative that makes us feel like we might know them a bit better. If you’ve, by chance, not seen these movies, they were Finding Nemo (he’s the clownfish on the left) and Finding Dory (she’s the blue tang on the right). I loved these movies as I do most all Pixar films because it’s always a beautiful story of friendship, family, and hope. These are the most important things I’ve found in life. And though one could simply tell me that it’s good to have family, friends and always look on the bright side, it’s never quite as compelling as when it comes in the form of a story. Last night, Philippe and I watched the movie Christopher Robin, which is an imagining of what happened after Winnie the Pooh’s best friend grew up. It’s a beautiful movie, but yes, a bit sad, and had me crying at many points. I wasn’t even sure sometimes the cause of those tears, but mostly it was sad that someone ever made the horrible choice to grow up.
For my part, I’m quite content being a big kid. I don’t even try to hide the fact that I still adore playing with Legos and many of the films I watch are animated. I didn’t leave my childhood behind, I grabbed it with all of my heart and took it along with me on the journey. I can’t imagine going through life without it. There have been so many turning points in my life where I would have been completely confused had I not had my inner child there with me. He also points in the right direction. Sure, it’s sometimes a silly and even ridiculous direction, but it always leads me to where my heart really wants to go. I gave up on following my mind years ago when it just continued to perfectly disappoint me. So, unlike Christopher Robin, and far more like Peter Pan, I’ve made the decision that I will never actually grow up. Growing old can’t be helped, of course, so it’s nothing really worth fretting about. Things I can’t actually control are not worth my time spent worrying over. But when I have a choice, like choosing to honor my youthful heart, life just gets a lot brighter in the process. And it’s the perfect state to find and enjoy when I’m looking for my next once upon a time.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Benzimida Orange, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. 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!
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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!