For our prompt of “Clock,” I opted for this antique pocket watch. I’ve always been fascinated with watches like this one and any chance to sketch a bit of metal and glass and I’m in! Before I could sketch anything today, however, I first had to start some homemade ice cream as I promised Philippe that I would this afternoon. In truth, it takes a couple minutes to mix up the ingredients and then I just pour it in a spinning frozen bowl, so it still doesn’t quite count as cooking. Weirdly, the whir of the ice cream maker in the background while I then sketched on the edge of my kitchen counter, kept my scattered brain more focused. So, this little watch was pretty much complete about the same time the ice cream was, 30 minutes later. I’m rather sure Philippe would divorce me if I were to suddenly start filling the freezer with ice cream each day in order to make faster sketches, but it was an intriguing side effect. It’s interesting that time, or indeed the lack of it, isn’t always the problem. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of intense focus that can make something that could take quite a long time happen in a very short amount of time. And, yeah, it’s pretty cool to know that I’ll be getting ice cream later as well!
Last night, Philippe was watching a cooking show where the host was helping people who feel they have no time to cook. She was showing various hacks that could be done to create something in a very short amount of time. I didn’t catch most of it, but saw a glimpse of her pouring pancake batter and some sort of berry mixture into a casserole dish to avoid making individual pancakes. It was a bit odd, but I had to appreciate the approach. I certainly employ lots of little hacks in order to create a little doodlewash each day. For example, a bit of blue sky in the background or shadow that I know is going to take a bit of time to dry gets painted first. Then I paint dark to light, using much less water, coming back with a bit of clear water to smooth any rough edges I don’t like or indeed mix the colors directly on the paper. By the time I’m done 30-45 minutes later, the background is dry and I plunk it down on my scanner, which automatically removes the paper texture, and then I post it. When time is short, which is all of the time, hacks are a wonderful thing to have indeed. In many ways, my scribble, doodle, color approach is a bit like quickly tossing a bunch of ingredients into a casserole dish and baking them.
What I love is that I only have to focus on the fun of creating and not get bogged down by worrying about specific techniques. I just have a library of ways I “could” approach something in my mind and grab for whatever way feels right in the moment. This isn’t simply how I approach my art, it’s how I approach life in general. I choose the fun way to do something if the correct way gets a bit tedious. Or, indeed, I simply go for the most efficient way I can imagine to complete something. It’s the same reason casserole dishes became so popular when I was a kid and why Instant Pot dishes are now all the rage. As we find ourselves busier than ever trying to keep up with all of the various alerts flashing on our phones, it’s no wonder hacks that save a bit of time are so popular. But, simply saving time, isn’t much of a goal, unless that extra time is put to good use. That’s why I’ve always made it a point to save time specifically to doodle and color each day. As I hack my way through life, I want to be sure I’m getting to DO the things I love most as I’m saving a bit of time.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Vermilion, 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!
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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!