For our prompt of “Eyes” today, this could have been hundreds of things up to and including a potato. I really wasn’t quite sure at all what I would end up sketching and coloring at first. But, then I had a sudden urge to sketch a frog, so those are the eyes I arrived with today. The eyes of a frog actually come in a stunning array of various colors, and the position of the eyes gives frogs a 180 degree field of vision. But, what I find coolest is that they can see color in the dark, well past the point where we humans are able to discern color. This is helpful when getting around at night, and also comes in handy when searching for food in the dark. Yet, even with their superhero color vision, they don’t use it for all things in life. For example, when it comes to finding a mate, frogs are endearingly color blind. Seeing color is something I feel like I’m always practicing in life. Painting certainly helps me pay closer attention to the colors I see in the world. And though I haven’t developed any actual frog-like abilities, I have learned a lot about color along the way.

When I was a kid and just learning the names of colors, it was rather straightforward. Anything that was closest to orange was simply called orange. These days, from crayons, to fine art, to house paints, there are hundreds of various names for colors. For example, my office at work is currently painted in a color called “Edgy Gold.” I guess calling something “edgy” means it’s kind of cool and right at the front of a trend. But, in reality, it’s simply a green wall. A sort of a yellower version of the color that was called “Avocado” when I was a kid. Elsewhere in the office there are two additional colors. There’s one called “Chrysanthemum” which doesn’t reveal anything at all by name since these flowers come in a myriad of colors. But it’s actually just a muted orange. And lastly, there’s a color called “Torchlight” which is a name I’ve seen used a lot to describe anything bright from yellow to pale orange. In this case, it’s just eerily similar to another childhood color called “Harvest Gold.” I love the combo of these colors, and at first I wasn’t quite sure why. Then I realized that it felt like being a kid again, as I get to spend each day in my 70’s kitchen.

But for me, knowing the fanciful name of a color doesn’t help me at all when I go to paint with it. I still use the good old-fashioned color wheel I learned as a kid and yep, orange is still just orange, and it’s made from combining yellow and red. Though I’ve nothing at all against color names. I think it’s really fun and have always thought it would be a cool job to have. Thinking about it now, I rather doubt it’s only one person’s job, so that wouldn’t be quite as much fun. It’s definitely more of a committee sort of thing, I would assume, which is why some of the color names often seem to described something else entirely. In my house there’s a sort of a tan color that’s actually named “Camelback.” I guess that one gets pretty close, depending on one’s familiarity with camels. But, thinking back to those color proficient amphibians, I rather doubt they’ve bothered to name or categorize colors at all. So, I just stick with the colors I knew when learning to speak while following my own intuition, and painting with the eyes of a frog.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Frog Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail

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34 thoughts on “The Eyes Of A Frog

  1. Fantastic frog Charlie! Great choice for eyes. I remember catching frogs as a kid and how it took skill to sneak up on them as they would jump just as our fingers got close. I think the only way we were as successful as we were is that they got use to us being there all the time and figured out that we would release them once we named them. Small town kid games in the summer. Days on the pond.

  2. I love the way your pebbly ground echoes the texture of the frog’s skin yet has colors that make the frog pop (not literally though, I hope). One year, at the Blue Cross office I worked at they made some really ghastly color decisions, painting the walls in bright colors, different ones on each floor. They had to almost immediately repaint an entire floor that was done in shocking yellow and vibrant purples. People were actually getting dizzy as they walked around the rooms, some to the point of throwing up! Color does matter.

  3. Huge fan of frogs here! Did you know that you can tell the sex of frogs by the size of their timpanic membrane? The male’s is bigger than the female’s.

    I used to live in northern Wisconsin and there was a pond in the woods by my house. I saw some tadpoles in there so I decided to catch some for the children’s librarian at work. These were tadpoles from bullfrogs. Giant things! If you put your thumb and forefinger together in a circle, that’s about the size of the tadpole bodies! We kept a couple at work for a week, then released them back in the pond. It was very cool to see those guys. I used to lie in bed and listen to the deep voice of bullfrogs in the lake in front of my house. Being surrounded by ponds and lakes guaranteed loads of amphibians.

  4. You are a genius with eyes!

    That is a cool frog from eyes to toes and from nose to back end. The blending of colors makes it look so natural. You have me thinking about color names and I’m thinking I like
    the idea of edgy gold much better than avocado, even if they are almost the same shade.
    I’m thinking a pale gold wall with an an avocado tree painted on it might be inspiring…
    especially if it had your frog beneath the tree.

  5. Yes, if monopigmented you can rely on what we all learned when we were children. Knowing your colours and if possible the pigments they are made of (esp. when they are not monopigmented) feels important to me, in painting. I love to know those things 🙂

    1. Yes! For traditional watercolor painting, it’s definitely good to know more about pigments, etc. For very quickly coloring drawings with watercolor, like I do, color theory is all that’s usually needed! hehe 😉

  6. So cute!!!! I was laughing because I can recall the same when red purple or green or blue where just that an now u have all sorts of colors and some will love to remind that no that is not just purple, etc lol To me it is though 🙂

  7. All the color names sound so romantic but I agree that they’re a designer’s vanity at play. They say nothing about actual colors. Still, this frog is quite attractive. I find frogs scary to touch – they hop and leap so unexpectedly and always right at your face. I’m content to view them at a distance, like across this computer screen, and say that they’re “sooooo cute” without having to touch one. Otherwise known as “icky.” LOL

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