When I was little kid, and would see a butterfly landing gently on a flower, I used to always think it was simply stopping to smell it. I had no clue about how things in nature really worked yet, and life was full of simple solutions. I never thought much about what the bees were doing on flowers, they just sort of terrified me, and so I would run away. But butterflies fascinated me and I would stare at them endlessly, watching them smell those flowers. After careful observation, I realized they lacked a proper nose, so I felt a bit sad that they for all their efforts, they probably couldn’t smell a thing. But I always appreciated the fact that they would keep trying. It was inspiring to me. Sure, I would soon learn about pollination and other important things, but I loved most those moments of not really knowing anything at all. Seeing something for the first time, with fresh eyes and a lively imagination, is really the best experience in the world.
Due to the decreasing numbers of butterflies, thanks to human indifference, I don’t see as many today as I did back then. But each time I’m lucky enough to see one, I still smile, remembering that world I used to believe in. It strikes me that no matter how much I learn, I don’t ever want to feel like an expert. It’s far more fun to fill in the blanks and decide for yourself how something happen next. That’s the best part of being an artist. We never have to stop believing in impossible things and when things don’t work like someone says they should, we can just invent our own reality. In fact, that’s likely the very definition of an artist. If this sounds like you, then you’re definitely one, even if you just picked up a brush for the first time. I don’t believe in “becoming an artist.” I truly think that it’s not a skill as much as a mindset that all of us had when we were kids. Perhaps we’ve just forgotten bits along the way. To me, it’s as simple as “being an artist” and letting your mind and heart wander to the places the want to go.
I hope that anyone out there reading this who has yet to hop in and share their watercolors with our community here on Doodlewash, will take a moment and do so. We’d love it if you’d share your heart with us! Feel confident and powerful in the fact that there’s no such thing as a “true artist” as that would imply there are people who aren’t artists at all. That’s simply not true. We are all artists. Some of us choose to DO more than others, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all capable of making something new and wonderful. I built Doodlewash with this idea in mind. A simple, yes happily childish notion, that the world doesn’t need to be divided into silly categories. And I quickly realized that masters were simply the people who practiced more. There wasn’t a secret ingredient beyond that. So, in the end, we’re all capable of imagining any world we like and being the artists I know we are. Just like when we were young enough to ignore logic and live in a world where one might find butterflies smelling flowers.
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About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Da Vinci Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Payne’s Gray. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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!