When I was a kid, we used to go as a family to gather pecans that had fallen from trees, much like squirrels, only without the hoarding. We’d instead place our collected treasures in a large bowl with a silver nutcracker next to it so we could immediately eat them. I loved eating pecans like this as a kid and found them to be so delicious. Yet another family tradition, was to use some of those pecans to create a pecan pie. This version, I didn’t like at all. I have no idea what happened to those pecans on that journey, but the pie version never once appealed to me. My disdain, of course, didn’t stop my entire immediate and extended families from not only enjoying this dessert, but acting as though it were a coveted treat. It made me feel as though my mother was harboring a secret and I was actually adopted. Looking back, I now realize that this was only one of many times where I just didn’t quite fit in. As a kid it kind of sucked, but as an adult creative person, I now know that being a misfit can often have its advantages.
Today, as most of you know, I think we should all celebrate those differences. Those times when we break from the norm or what everyone else seems to think is the right way. I’ll go ahead and tell you end of the story here… spoiler alert! When it comes to art, there is no right way. There are only techniques you can choose to learn and then debunk entirely if you like. It’s completely up to you and what moves you to create in the first place. But, yes, it is true that certain techniques and approaches work better than others when it comes to attracting people to your art. This is the crossroads that every working artist comes to face. There’s that passionate rebel who wants to change everything at once, but unless you can find enough passionate rebels to see your vision, you might have to create something a touch more mainstream. You dial back a bit here and there and in the end, you hear other artists say you’re selling out. I’ve never quite understood this, as it’s a bit counterintuitive. If you’re making something even more people can enjoy, isn’t that a wonderful thing to do?
I’m not sure, in the end, I’ll ever be mature enough to truly understand the official fine art world. I think that’s why I’ve made my own art world right here on Doodlewash. This site wasn’t built with high ideals, just a lot of enthusiasm and passion. It was built on a stupidly simple manifesto that it still operates under today. The wildly simple idea of bringing people together who simply use watercolor, but never telling those people how they should use it. I’m no art instructor, though I might share bits of my process and ideas here and there. Instead, on Doodlewash, you’ll find hundreds of artists and art instructors who use the medium in wildly unique and clever ways. Each one of these artists is definitively right. The hope is, that in all of these wonderful examples, you’ll find a way that feels right for you. My greatest joy comes from hearing how people are inspired by the artists featured here. I’m just a host, who pops in from time to time, with his version of art that’s a combo of words and image, like a watercolor story. I’ve no idea if it qualifies as art, but I’ve learned that for a certain group of people, it’s at the very least as delicious as a bit of pecan pie.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Terra Cotta, Yellow Ochre, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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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!