When thinking of our prompt for today, the first thing that admittedly came to mind was the group Red Hot Chili Peppers, but since I don’t sketch people, we just ended up with chili peppers instead. This is probably more timely, since Philippe just received his tortilla press in the mail so we’ll be having tacos this weekend with homemade corn tortillas. It was only a few days ago when he declared that he would never buy another store-bought tortilla. This was due to taking a Mexican cooking class during a work team building outing. It was also during this outing that he discovered a taste for margaritas. Also, of course, made from scratch with no pre-made mixes. I’m rather looking forward to see what he creates in both cases. For lunch today, I had hot peppers in my dish of Thai noodles, but I’m a bit of wimp and only ordered it at “medium” and not the ultimate “Thai hot” which sounds like it could start an actual fire. Though, I definitely DO like spicy food in general, and I think it’s always good to add a bit of spice to life in general as well. A little something to mix things up a bit at times and push ourselves out of our comfort zone.
One of my “comfort zone” things like this is that I tend to avoid using a more pure red like I’ve featured here. I generally like something with a bit more of an orangey shade or a rusty red. I almost doodlewashed a red squirrel instead, but thought I’d give real red a go in honor of the challenge, provided this month by our very own community member, Sandra Strait! I’ve sketched peppers before, but I felt the ones today turned out a bit redder and shinier than in the past and was pleased with the result. Better yet, they were created in just under 35 minutes, which is all the time I had today. I was worried when I began to paint them as to how I would keep all of that shine without using masking fluid. Then I had to giggle. When Philippe and I made a cookbook last year, I would always joke with him when he was wondering about a recipe saying, “there’s a cool book that can help you with that!” As it turns out, this joke is now on me as my own Sketching Stuff Activity Book told me exactly how I could pull this off in just a short amount of time. Perhaps, after all of these years, it was a rather good thing that I managed to write some of these tips down!
I do know my own style of painting dark to light and generally just coloring like a kid is a bit different than the norm when it comes to watercolor. I’m not proposing it replace anything at all, but I really think that it can help anyone who is facing a blank sketchbook page and just wants to make something quickly and be happy with it. There will be plenty of time for that masterpiece when you have plenty of time again. But, don’t wait for that time. Just make something and enjoy the thrill of creating! Trust me, I have a masterpiece burning deep in my soul that will one day appear, but with only a precious few minutes a day, I’m still just practicing for that big moment. And I think the best practice is to simply show up and make anything at all. It doesn’t have to be grand in any way, as each little thing we create connects with the next and the next after that. We learn a little something each time and it adds to that wonderful tapestry of knowledge we’re building in tandem with each little thing we produce. It’s a beautiful dance of creativity. Some days, things might not work out as planned, but that’s all just part of the journey to that day when we finally get to make something red hot.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Leaf Green, and Cobalt Turquoise. 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!
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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!