The Texture Of Shadows

Day 19 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - The Texture of Shadows Glass of Grapfruit Juice Casting Shadow Watercolour - #doodlewash

When it was time to make a sketch today I was at a loss for what to paint for the prompt of “texture.” Then I remembered what my friends at urban sketchers have taught me and simply looked at what was in front of me. In this case, it was my glass of grapefruit juice, sitting all alone on the kitchen counter, just out of reach so I don’t dip my brush in it. It wasn’t a particularly interesting object, but it’s a sunny day and light was streaming in through the window causing it to cast really fabulous shadows. So I decided I would try to paint the shadows (and the glass of course as that would be a bit weird without it). I’ve always been fascinated by shadows, particularly when they’re emitting from glass. The shapes and textures are never quite what you’d expect to see, proving even the most ordinary of objects still have a few secrets to hide. I often opt for subjects that I’m only dreaming about, like dessert. But I could never let a dessert go uneaten this long, and as it turned out I ended up pouring out the rest of the juice because it had been boiled by the sun.  A small price to pay for a fun exercise in direct observation.

When I was a kid, I could be rather talkative in some situations and then, depending on the group, get suddenly very shy. This meant I was often averting my gaze to avoid interaction. Staring at the shadows on the floor, as one might stare at the clouds in the sky, I would look at the shapes they made and try to imagine what they looked like. The mean guy, who was just a punch short of being the official school bully, cast the shadow of a horrible monster, while the nice quiet kid’s shadow looked more like a bunny. I wasn’t so much seeing shapes in the shadows as imagining the real personalities of the people who cast them. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was only a way to avoid them, or simply my way of trying to understand them better. Of course, it was still my imagination forming an idea of what I thought about the person. I wasn’t learning anything new by looking at the floor. Eventually, I gained more confidence and was able to look people in the eye, soon realizing that’s really where all the secrets hide.

But since that time, shadows have always fascinated me. They’re used in scary movies to make people afraid, but I’ve never found them frightening, just intriguing. When I was living alone after college, I would often end up alone at the close of the evening, usually writing something by candlelight. The flickering shadows kept me company and added a little life to what might have otherwise been a rather lonely time. Staring at the sun pouring through a isolated glass today made me a bit reflective as well. I began wondering why my mind always jumps backward to thoughts of when I was young. All of those memories are just shadows of the past now. Then I realized, I’m simply reminding myself of that time when I was never afraid to try new things. It’s not how I look back, it’s how I push myself to move forward. Each day is still a chance to experience and discover something entirely new. Even if it’s just tiny little flecks of light that surprise you, while admiring the texture of shadows.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Opera Rose, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
Day 19 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - The Texture of Shadows Glass of Grapfruit Juice Casting Shadow Watercolour - #doodlewash

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. itsmyhusbandandme 6 years ago

    You nailed it.

  2. dapplegrey 6 years ago

    Oh Charlie! ‘Each day…. discover something new’ – if that’s not Beginner’s Mind I don’t know what is! Those shadows are just wonderful – such a lovely reminder to look at what’s right there in front of me. And shadows are so important too – draw something without its shadow and it isn’t really there. I’m going to have a closer look at shadows! 🤔

    • Author

      Thanks so much my friend! 😃💕 It was fun to just give up trying to find a “concept” and sketch whatever was in front of me! So glad you liked it!!

  3. Nancy 6 years ago

    Shadows and glass are very tricky but you rose to the challenge! The color of the juice mixed with the glass is excellent. I know what you mean about shadows. I’ve always found them fascinating as well. There is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson called “My Shadow” that was a favorite of mine as a child and who hasn’t made shadow puppets on the wall! That was one way we entertained our children whenever the power went out and we were forced to sit by candle light.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Nancy! 😃💕 That juice color was tougher than I expected… ending up with opera rose and orange to make it. Glad it worked! hehe And yay! I love that story. Shadow puppets on the wall were so much fun!!

  4. woodcanvasartist 6 years ago

    Very well done!

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    I was going to go all gung ho about how wonderful this Doodlewash is, because it’s really exceptionally beautiful and detailed. But the post got me a bit weepy and thinking back to all the times I looked at shadows instead of facing people directly. You made me realize how sensitive some kids can be. I hope I wasn’t the one who made some other little kid look at shadows instead of looking at the people around. It’s both awful to be the one who makes a kid feel lonely as to be the lonely kid.

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I’m sure you weren’t one of those kids… it’s mostly the bullies and being ignored isn’t really bad all the time when you’re shy. hehe But it was nice to move beyond that and feel more present in the world.

  6. picklejuicesoda 6 years ago

    Once again, wonderful read. Very interesting hearing your thoughts on how you dealt with those awkward social moments. I can relate to that. And as far as drawing what’s in front of you I used to do that a lot when I couldn’t think of anything to draw. Once when I was 20 in a coffee shop in Orlando I was looking at the paper for a job. Put the paper down and drew the table with my cup on it and wrote “I need a job” and left my phone number. Did it jokingly but with a slight hope they would see it and think, hey, we could use an artistic guy! It’s been a while since I thought of that and your post reminded me and gave me a smile with that memory. Oh, I never received a call from them,lol. Not much of a resume I guess! Great work as always!

    • Author

      Thanks so much! Happy you enjoyed this post! 😃💕 Glad it brought back fun memories. That’s an awesome story!! hehe Love it! They should have at least called for such creativity! But maybe you were just overqualified on that front.

  7. jmnowak 6 years ago

    I love shadows, you know that. Love yours charlie and how well you do glass and its refractionary properties that cause those wonderful shadows. 💎

  8. Phil Cooper 6 years ago

    Beautifully painted shadows Charlie, and love how you saw personalities in shadows as a kid; I’m going to look at shadows differently today!

    • Author

      Thanks, Phil!! 😃💕 And yeah, hehe… it will make you think of shadows really differently. It’s amazing what you see when you let your mind wander a bit.

  9. memadtwo 6 years ago

    Your shadows are always good, Charlie. But this one has even more dimension than usual! (K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 I realized on this one, I was painting a shadow more than I was worrying about the glass. hehe It was a fun experiment!

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