Today, for our prompt of “Desert,” I decided to make a sketch of a blooming cactus. I don’t live in a desert climate, so this isn’t a view I normally see, but when I’m traveling to the desert, it’s one of my favorites. Though we’ve had hot temperatures here where I do live lately, today was pleasantly mild. Philippe and I had a lovely lunch sitting outdoors. We ordered a burger and fries, but the burger was actually falafel, which was quite delicious. If you shape something into a circle and slap it on a bun, it gets to be a burger these days. The day was a bit overcast and cloudy, which I appreciate in the summer as the sun can be way too blistering. Days like this are what photographers call “cloudy bright” days where the light is bright, but diffused. It’s the kind of day that can seem a bit gray at first until you look around and notice all of the colors popping out more than usual. Instead of fighting the sun and fading, bright colors jump forward as if putting on a show. I love these splashes of color and it reminds me that there’s no such thing as a gloomy day. Each day is filled with color and light, just waiting for us to make the most of it.
I like to observe things when I’m out and then put those ideas into my mental journal. The way the light dances across flowers or the colors I hadn’t noticed before that I find in shadows. I don’t enjoy painting outdoors, however, unless it’s somewhere remote and the weather is perfect. I don’t like being in the middle of crowds or braving extreme weather, and prefer to simply paint in the peace and quiet of home. But, that doesn’t stop me from painting in my mind literally all of the time. I’m constantly getting ideas for ways to use color by the things I observe throughout the day. And, if there are no distractions, I’ll even make a sketch of something. When there are too many people bustling about, I just wait until I get back inside and dash something off from memory. For me, art is all about relaxation and focusing my mind for just a few minutes each day. So, I in turn, approach it a bit differently. The effect on the rest of my day has been amazing, so it’s really not surprising that I continue to show up daily.
Throughout my life, settling my mind has been a challenge. It bounces around from idea to idea and I’ve spent much of my life in a highly distracted state. I was often more in my own head than I was present with those around me. These days, I can be much more present and enjoy what’s actually happening around me rather than worrying over what’s happening next. And, even if the artist in me gets distracted by a beautiful flower, it’s no longer just an idea in my head. It can, instead, become a conversation starter. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve also loved writing on this blog. Along with the visual therapy, it’s good to attempt to take some of those ideas currently swirling through my mind and attempt to make some sense of them. Or, at least ramble a bit to see if any sense manages to appear. I’ve no idea as to the success rate for that actually happening. What I DO know, is that I feel very grateful to have my sketching habit. It just wouldn’t be the same optimistic day without taking a little time, and spending it with splashes of color.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Opus Vivid Pink, Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, 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!