Since I’m a bit shy about painting blossoming things, I try to sneak in a prompt of flowers every now and again to force myself to practice a bit more. Here we have a tiny little vase of orange flowers, mostly because orange is one of my favorite colors. Philippe and I tried to have fresh flowers like this in our home, but although we purchased them together in glee, neither of us signed up for the care and feeding. Once they were in the vase, we assumed they could take care of themselves after that. I’ve no idea why we thought flowers were somehow self-sufficient once uprooted and plunked in glass, but as it turns out they do actually appreciate a bit of care. I’m always amazed by those domestic goddesses that always seem to have a home with a sort of plan. Our house is less of a planned concept and more of side effect. The first floor is open concept, which means you can see everything at once. This includes the kitchen which is both my temporary art studio and Philippe’s primary domain. Basically, it looks like we’ve just had a party most of the time even though we’ve neglected to invite anyone. But it’s what we call home.
Philippe and I have several projects we constantly talk about doing in our house. For example, there’s a cabinet in the dining room that is covered in crap. Not actual crap, of course, but a few bags of watercolor paint, and some various knickknacks we’ve acquired, stacked on top of each other. We have many conversations about how we are going to clear it all away one day. But the clutter doesn’t end there. Nearly any available surface is fair game to have something plunked there “temporarily” until we can decide where it should actually go. The problem is, we forget about the thing entirely most times and the temporary spot starts to take on an air of permanence. Our shelves once seemed well-manicured and the Lego architecture sets on them seemed like a bit of hip art. Then more Legos arrived and the scene turned into a something that looked more like an end cap at a toy store. It’s not exactly messy, just dense and lacking the minimalist precision seen in magazines. That carefully curated look that keeps only the elements that are required to complete the scene. Suffice it to say, we won’t be appearing in any magazines anytime soon.
Perhaps this is why I’m incapable of painting very abstract watercolors. The kind with just a semblance of the image, made up of just a few precise strokes. Though still perfectly loose and quick, my doodlewashes furiously attempt to capture all of the little details that the subject has to offer. Within the first 10 minutes of painting, I have something that I’m certain would be more like those other images I’ve seen, but I simply can’t stop there. I go back and continue to form and model things a bit more, only stopping when Philippe shoves a plate of dinner in front of me. I then stop, eat, and scan whatever happened and that’s what I post here. After I ramble through this post, I do my level best to clean up whatever happened in the kitchen that night. It’s all so perfectly mundane and silly, but it’s become a rather beautiful little ritual. I’m certain if we invested that same bit of routine into our domesticity we could have that picture perfect abode the magazines display. But that’s not what actually happens. Instead, something far more beautiful occurs as Philippe sings to himself while perfectly wrecking the kitchen for me to clean up later, and I happily sit for just a moment, scribbling flowers.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, 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? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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!