Playing With Colors

Day 11 - Chameleon Watercolor - Doodlewash

Today we have a quick little sketch of a chameleon for our prompt of the same name. After making a pen drawing using a couple of references, I just painted using whatever colors I liked, as I’m trying to play bit more this month. My little guy looks a bit shocked by the experience, but I’m having lots of fun this month. Today, I spent the entire day running behind on things and could barely keep up, so I’m thrilled that I managed to sneak in a doodlewash in the midst of it all. And stopping to play with colors is always a welcome reward in a busy day. When I was in college I adored my drawing classes, but I was terrified of my painting classes. The idea of adding color to my sketches was daunting to me. I felt like it would screw them up rather than enhance them. This was likely because every attempt I made using acrylics turned out rather questionable if not atrocious. I simply preferred my sheet of paper and sketchbook to a canvas. At the time, watercolor wasn’t taught, so it would be over 22 years later before I finally found the colors that I loved. It’s been a joy, but I still have a lot to learn as I’m making up for lost time.

When I was young, I remember wanting to be an illustrator one day so I could make all of those pictures in my storybooks. But, my attempts at stylized drawings and caricatures where not good at all. The effect was something odd and unnatural that didn’t look like it was meant to be on purpose but was the side effect of a disastrous accident. Since I didn’t feel that I was any good at it, I did what most people do in such situations. I just quit trying. Obviously, I lacked the talent or skill for such things so I should just stick to what I’m good at. In some ways, this reaction seems perfectly sensible, but in reality it’s perfectly ludicrous. The only way to improve at anything in life is to DO it and then DO it some more. There are no actual shortcuts or special methods that will cause someone to leap forward in their mastery of a skill. It’s always just a matter of lots and lots of practice. How much practice is unique to each person. But there’s another skill that takes practice as well. This one is called courage. Certainly, some people seem to be innately braver, but courage is a skill we can all learn and master.

When I was working in my first job, I had to give a speech before a large auditorium full of people. Though I was a professional actor for a few years, the idea of being myself without the “fourth wall” and character that separates and protects actors from the audience was terrifying! I was given the usual lame advice from others including the chart-topping creepy suggestion of picturing the audience naked. I’ve no idea who that first worked out for so that it became part of public speaking lore, but it’s creepy and unsettling. What I quickly discovered was that, like most things in life, the real solution was stupidly easy. All I had to do was show up and DO it! Sure, those first few speaking appearances were awkward and I’m quite sure a few after that, but I got better. I shed the fear I once had because I gave myself the chance to learn that there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place. I don’t consider myself a brave artist yet, but I’m working on it each and every day. So, my act of showing you each and every thing I make as I go along isn’t an act of bravery, but simply a practice in courage. And one I highly recommend! It forms that wonderful habit of DOing that makes each day better as I show up to spend some dedicated time, just playing with colors.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Vermillion, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. 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!
Day 11 - Chameleon Watercolor - Sketchbook Detail - Doodlewash
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
12 Comments
  1. Mary Miller 10 months ago

    This blog was so timely for me. I am very new to watercolor and have no art background, just interest. I have been trying to paint every day and joined you February challenge and asked my daughter and cousin to join me. I find that I am very critical of my work which has led me to want to quit. Your blog reminded me that the key is to show up and enjoy the process. Thanks!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      That’s so wonderful to hear, Mary! 😃💕Thrilled this post resonated with you and that you’re joining in the February challenge! And even more excited you’ve invited your family. That’s so awesome!! And yes… I can’t stress enough that showing up is indeed the best art supply we have! It’s how we get that courage to keep going and making beautiful things! Happy painting my friend!

  2. Sandra Strait 10 months ago

    LOVE your lizard! I never did get a handle on public speaking. I was even President for local business association for a couple of years that required it. Eventually, though I decided that the sense of accomplishment didn’t cancel out the nerves beforehand or the sense of failure after (even if it wasn’t true, I still felt that way every time). I’d proven I could do it, I wasn’t enjoying it, and that was enough for me. I didn’t give up on making myself get out of my comfort zone, and daring myself to do things that scared me though. I just chose my battles differently.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕I totally get you! Public speaking is not my favorite thing at all! hehe… I just did it because I had to. Weirdly, I’d be fine with a darkened auditorium of thousands of people, but just a few in a room makes me weak in the knees! lol But, here’s to choosing battles and finding ways to challenge ourselves that don’t cause such stress! hehe

  3. memadtwo 10 months ago

    Stripes are always appropriate! Love his colors and patterns Charlie. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 Glad you liked them… they’re totally made up… hehe… it’s fun to play and just make what comes to mind!

  4. Sharon Nolfi 10 months ago

    Your sketch captures not only the appearance but the spirit of a chameleon! I always imagine them being more colorful than they actually are.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, some chameleons don’t really change color. I think this one might even be one, which makes his shocked expression make sense. But I love imagining them very colorful!

  5. Lisa 10 months ago

    Speaking in front of a group is terrifying. At least it was in high school and college. Then at some point in my work life, it quit being so bad. I’m always a little nervous, but not to the point of fainting, or throwing up. I think my brain switched when I came to realize that just about every person in the planet is more concerned with what is happening to them and in their head than they are to the outside world including whomever is spreading at them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      hehe! Exactly! 😃 That’s how I got over it. There are actually few if any people in one’s audience who care as much as the speaker. lol So, I just rambled away until I was done and it wasn’t so bad after all.

  6. LoriCtoo 10 months ago

    I wish I would have thought to add more color to mine. Yours has character. Public speaking…..lol. I used to also be terrified. Then I found myself standing in front of a classroom, only 15, thinking what did I get myself into? After a few minutes of worrying, it dawned on me, I knew what I was talking about and they didn’t. They were there to learn something new. After that I was fine. I tell my son all the time when he has a speach to give, “Talk about something you are passionate about and know about, add some humour.”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 I actually intended to add even more color, but darn if I don’t love my limited palettes! hehe And that is perfectly excellent advice!! Yes! That’s exactly how I approach public speaking and it’s the only way I can ever get through it! 😊

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