For Day 22 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Rainforest,” I chose one of my favorite birds, a blue yellow macaw, whose natural habitat is the rainforest of South America. Here, reflecting a bit more green from my bits of trees for the background and my simple five color palette that I quickly chose. As ever, I always like to choose a character for a main subject, be it a creature or an object. And when painting creatures who have this much color and presence, I like to give them that “come hither” look as though they are perfectly aware that they’re rather sexy and exotic. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to feel either of those things. In my life, I’ve only been able to reach the heights of handsome or cute. And most mornings, these days, I wake up neither. There’s quite a process involved as I get older in making myself presentable, and most of it tires me and makes me just want to crawl back into bed. It would lovely to actually be a macaw like this and wake up stunning at all times. But, the cool part is, I always feel stunning and ready to be brilliant each morning, ready to DO something amazing even if my face doesn’t show it or my hair is terribly disheveled. In my heart and my imagination, I can be as sexy and exotic as I want.
When I look back at photos of my younger self, I realize I’ve never cared much for how I looked. I would wear anything that felt comfortable and pair odd colors together just because that’s how I felt that day. I went through a period as an adult where I tried to wear the latest fashions. Around the age of 40, after seeing a photo of myself on Times Square wearing “skinny jeans” and looking like a lollipop, I decided to stop bothering with such trivial things. What I’ve learned instead is that it’s truly what’s inside that matters most. There’s such a world of real emotion and heart that we each have and that’s really what the world is waiting to experience. Well, maybe not the world as a whole these days. It’s quite true that looking a bit like something familiar is still the chosen route for the popular kids. Having never been one of those, I’m free to play and experiment and enjoy the process as I see fit. And, I invite each of you to DO the same. I adore seeing the sketches and and paintings that people make when they are just starting out. They’re real and raw in their beauty. It’s enough to create something at all, so there’s no time spent staging it with brushes and palettes for that perfect Instagram photo. If you have the time, though, certainly try it, as it does indeed work best on Instagram, but don’t let it become an obsession.
For my own part, I’ve never really changed much from my first posting style. It’s just the page from my sketchbook. Today, of course, it’s scanned instead of photographed thanks to a gift from my awesome husband (seriously, this scanner really rocks!). But, it’s always just the thing I made that day, laid bare, with nothing to distract the eye. It’s not the popular way to post things, but it’s the way I still love most. My own daily offerings are an illustration to a story or simply the start of a conversation. The story isn’t always about what I painted as much as about what that painting inspired me to consider. Today, it made me think about being unusual and what that really means. I think being unusual is rather a high bar these days, and I wish more people would try it. It’s not difficult at all, really, it’s just being perfectly true to yourself and doing what comes naturally. It’s about showing up purely with what’s in your heart and sharing that with the rest of the world. When we show up like this, it’s guaranteed that we’ll create something wonderful and arrive to party with all of the beauty of a macaw.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink and 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!