For our Doodlewash prompt of “Fish” today, paired with the Inktober prompt of “Bait,” I ended up with this little silver spinyfin. A fish I would place in the ugly-cute category, much like E.T. The Extraterrestrial. And there’s certainly a lot of aliens waiting to be found in the ocean depths. I’d not really heard of this fish before, but saw an article recently that said that this big-eyed deep sea fish has a greater diversity of rod photopigments than all other vertebrates. What that geeky bit of trivia actually means is that despite its home in the deepest, darkest bit of the sea, it can not only see better in the dark, but just might be able to see color in the dark. In particular, to better see what researchers speculate is their favorite dinner consisting of delicious little shiny shrimp that emit bioluminescent light. What I find truly intriguing is that the deep sea is actually the largest habitat on Earth, but the one we’ve studied the least, because it’s rather difficult to access. And it’s equally comforting to know that this little fish isn’t very likely to encounter many fishing lures in the safety of the deep sea. Were that to actually happen, of course, he might just get distracted by his own reflection and miss the real danger entirely.
For my own part, I don’t share the amazing vision of the silver spinyfin, and can barely see in the dark. But, like this little fish, I do really enjoy shiny things. And though I adore color to make my shiny things just a touch shinier, here’s how this little fish started out his life as an ink sketch.
After sketching this, I honestly had no clue what the message was meant to be. It could be anything from a message on man’s constant invasion into the natural world to a metaphor for the dangers of vanity. Or, it could just be a weird fish encountering a lure. However, you personally interpret it, you would be correct! What I DO know is that I’m having a blast trying truly new things that are very much outside of my comfort zone. This sketch was created by using 10 different reference images and then creating my own composition from what I visually learned. This is the type of approach I’ve always wanted to take, but the fear of not being able to DO it always stopped me. So, I finally took the bait, and I have to say, I’m totally hooked!
Equally tonight, I felt a bit smart because I questioned the way I originally wrote my bit of trivia about the spiny fish in the beginning of this post. So, I had my PhD scientist husband Philippe help me fix it. Some articles talked about having lots of genes, but having a gene doesn’t account for everything. It’s all about how they are expressed. This is a bit similar to art and creativity. We can have lots of wonderful tools and supplies, but they can only create magic when we combine that with our own unique self-expression. The way we each see the world, the way we compose sentences, and the way we make marks on paper is a beautifully rare and wonderful thing. No matter how many styles we try, our own style always appears to remind us of who we really are. There’s no way to escape that wonderful uniqueness that is the essential you! And, there’s absolutely never a good reason to try. What I’ve learned on this journey is that our best work comes when we let it happen as it naturally demands. Sure, there’s always that rockstar with an awesome style I really love, but that’s just not me. It’s not my style. It’s their style. So, I learn what I can and then go back to making things my way. And whatever my art lacks in finesse and skill, it can always conquer with a bit of heart. That’s my journey. One filled with lots of excited trying as I take moments to occasionally stop and appreciate the allure of shiny things.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Vermilion, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!