Today, while looking for something to sketch for our prompt of fish, I stumbled upon various photos of Siamese fighting fish. They are very beautiful and each one was wildly colorful and so different that I didn’t know how to choose one to paint. So, instead, I simply closed my laptop and sketched a couple from memory, having a blast making up my own little imagined fishy duo. I’ve no idea if all of their parts are there or in the right place, but I liked the way the composition turned out on my fantasy fish. I’ve only previously sketched dessert like this, since I’m much more familiar with that. It took a bit of courage to see if I could attempt to memorize the idea of something, which I’ve rarely ever painted, and then create my own version. Though these fish are known to fight with one another, I decided that in my fantasy world they would be good friends. That’s the beauty of art. We get to tell whatever story we choose. And though I’m known to tell stories of just about everything in life, I’m a devout optimistic. This way of living has the uncanny effect of always delivering a very happy ending.
This afternoon, Philippe and I went to go see The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, which was silly and ridiculous and a perfectly wonderful way to spend some time. It was also a rather sweet movie that was really about having a good heart and working together. And, of course, since it’s a Lego movie, it was equally meant to inspire infinite creativity and imagination. It was a good reminder to play a bit more and trust my own creative instincts. Many times, when I sketch and paint, I can get a little lost in my references rather than focusing more on the painting itself. In truth, I don’t quite trust myself to draw everything properly and the photo references become a bit of a crutch. But, thinking back to my days playing with Lego as a kid, I remembered that although I would follow the instructions to create the set I received, I’d quickly ignore them and set off making whatever came to mind instead. It didn’t even occur to me that this wasn’t exactly what I should be doing next. It was wonderful to be told just how to do something, but it was even more wonderful to simply play and enjoy the surprise of the unexpected outcome.
I’ve so much more to try and do on my own art journey. And playing a bit more like I did today is definitely on the menu, along with more desserts of course. I’m still learning to trust myself and my own instincts. In other words, I’m still learning how to be the kid I once was and sketch and paint without overthinking things. I truly believe that learning to make art is more about relearning all of those things that we were born doing. Those innate skills that allowed us to grab that crayon and gleefully make marks on a page. While I actively and energetically recommend that people take all of the art classes that they can and learn the proper methods of drawing and painting, I think simply playing is always good to do as well. In between all of those tutorials and online classes, I think another fabulous exercise is to unplug and simply play with your art supplies. It’s a rejuvenating experience that allows one to reconnect with that inner child. Once you’ve had this adorable reunion, you’ll be rather surprised by the results when you take your next online course or follow along with that next awesome new tutorial. Never forget to take that inner child along with you on this art journey and revel in the joy of painting fantasies.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!
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!