For today’s prompt of jellyfish, I selected it because I thought others might enjoy it, but I’ve never attempted to paint one in my life. I realized, as I suspected, they are something devilishly difficult to paint in my style. These amorphous little wonders are usually best done in broad splashes of paint with only a hint of detail, something others in our community do so brilliantly. For me, I can’t help but try to find and paint some details and upon discovering there aren’t really that many when it comes to jellyfish, I just sort of splashed a bit more until something appeared. When I showed Philippe he just shrugged and said, yep, those are jellyfish. This is the same dull reaction I get whenever I paint horses because he’s just not a fan of the subject matter in general. I’m certainly better when it comes to horses as I find them far more fun to paint, but it was a lovely challenge to push out of my comfort zone a bit with this one. And when it comes to visiting the real thing in aquariums or seeing them pop unto the surface of the sea, I can stand there mesmerized for hours.
There’s no doubt, that jellyfish are remarkable creatures. Looking through various references I discovered a certain type which has been deemed “immortal” by scientists. Given the typically unpronounceable name of Turritopsis nutricula, this type of jellyfish can basically regenerate cells when stressed or in danger. Practically put, they can flatten themselves on the ocean floor and change their cellular structure in a way that sort of just starts things over from the beginning. Yep, they’re the Peter Pan of the ocean and can simply become a kid all over again when they’re freaked out. Or perhaps more like Benjamin Button, only with a happier ending and a real chance to begin again. This would be a very unsettling skill to have as humans to be sure. A random fight with your spouse could create peculiar results and have you suddenly out shopping for a crib for them the next day. Suffice it to say, this is probably a talent best left to jellyfish, but they are being studied to help us better understand our own aging process and various illnesses.
It strikes me as interesting that we tend to apply our own reality of life to every bit of life around us. There are so many secrets in nature and a host of fascinating ways that life actually evolves. As advanced as our species has become, we’ve still not found a way to physically become young again. Outside of expensive surgeries, of course, that often do more to enhance and shine a spotlight on the issue rather than actually correct it. But, I’m rather happy to know that I have this one shot in life. It would be less exciting to think I could simply push a button and start it all again. There’s much I’ve learned that I wish I knew in my youth, but had I known it, I would have simply missed out on some rather amazing adventures. Had I known then what I know now, I would have simply had less fun. And truly, even being given one life feels like an incredible gift, as does spending a few minutes of my day, improbably splashing with jellyfish.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. 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!