Today, we have a quickly doodlewashed flowery texture, combined with, not surprisingly from me, some food. I was running really far behind most of the day today, so it was nice to take even a short little break to make something. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything quite this orange before either. Philippe looked at it and exclaimed, “wow! A burst of Vitamin C!” which I’m not sure was so much a compliment as an observation. Strangely, flowers are my least favorite thing to paint. This should elicit gasps from watercolorists everywhere, but it’s true. I’ve no idea why this is. I certainly wasn’t beaten with a daffodil as a child or anything weird like that. Perhaps it’s my rather rendered and detailed style that makes them feel like a descent into madness. They’re horribly complex if you’re not painting them fairly abstractly. I’m sure, like painting human beings, I might find the appeal if I practiced more, but I’d rather just sketch my shoes or my lunch instead.
Finding the subject matter that moves you is part of discovering yourself as an artist. Being able to paint anything at all is not the same as actually loving to do so. There are simply things that call us to paint them and others that dare us instead. Like a kid, I’ll definitely take the dare, but when I’m done with that, I prefer to return to the things that I enjoy most. Or, as I did here, simply sneak in the things I’d rather be painting. It strikes me that I’ve now been challenging myself and many of you with these prompts for a year now and it’s fun to try to come up with something to interpret them. But for anyone playing along on these little adventures, please remember that painting what you love is always the most important thing. And equally important is stealing that time you don’t think you have in order to paint them.
I’m rushing once more and barely have time to make this post, but equally glad I took the time to do so. The way I feel after making something is impossible to describe. If I had skipped this day, I would have gone to bed with a little empty place inside of me. That place that can only be filled by illustrating something. Anything at all really, but preferably something that makes me really happy. That “stuff” in my life that reminds me of those wonderful stories from my past. Little bits of things that don’t quite give the full picture, only enough to imagine the idea. This is what makes me smile. A notion built out of ink and watercolor, suggesting the start of story or the glimpse of a memory. I’m not making a masterpiece waiting to be hung in a gallery. I’m just sketching stuff. And in the end, it’s simply a matter of choosing between the flower or the fruit.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Indian Yellow, Opera Rose, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al-Star Fountain Pen – Extra Fine, with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.