For our Doodlewash prompt of “Bird,” paired with the Inktober prompt of “Frail,” I ended up with a cardinal about to feed some tiny babies. Baby birds always seem so vulnerable, and in the case of the cardinals, they’re cared for and fed by both mom and dad. I learned this because I got a little sidetracked, as I’m often prone to do, watching videos of baby birds being fed and it’s totally fascinating. And, equally bizarre to see a full grown bird jam its beak into the surprisingly large open mouth of the baby. Our little dog Phineas has been feeling under the weather recently, and Philippe often fusses over him. I asked Philippe if he’d chew food and spit it into his mouth if that would make him feel better. He just shrugged as if to say, “of course, he’s my baby.” I was deeply touched and mortified in fairly equal parts. Thankfully, we don’t have to feed our babies this way, whether human or furry, but I was impressed by the efficiency of the cardinal’s feeding ritual. With three hungry mouths to feed, he never once seemed overwhelmed.
I’m truly having a blast this month with my extra-inky approach and think it just might continue moving forward. There’s often such a wonderful difference between the ink and color versions and I’ve been liking them both for different reasons.
Best of all, I’ve been pushing myself entirely out of the nest that is my comfort zone this month. So far out, in fact, that I’m not quite sure what my comfort zone is at the present moment, and it feels amazing! For instance, while watching all of those videos, I decided to make a quick scribble of the birds that ended up becoming my final sketch. The tree and leaves are simply imagined, and I then built a nest out of various lines as I imagined a cardinal might with leaves and twigs. It’s still not a drawing that took me hours, as ever, since I will likely never develop that level of patience. But, I’m rather enjoying the effect and pleased with this more illustrative scribble, doodle, color approach.
Tonight, Philippe has a work event so it’s just me, Phineas, and my glass of wine. I think Phineas is feeling better tonight as he’s back to sniffing disapproval at everything and wandering about aimlessly. He’s not very happy, though, that Philippe isn’t home as he demands routine and hates when things happen out of sync. In many ways, I think I’ve been quite similar when it comes to my art. I adore my little nightly ritual. What’s changed is that instead of descending on a prompt for the day in the very moment I begin sketching, I think about it more. These days, I’m trying to be a bit more mindful. I don’t have a minute longer to sketch and paint, but I now start my day imagining what I might sketch and paint. I create the image in my mind. In order to actually make it now, I have to use tons of various references and bits of imagination. I realized I have the skill to DO this now, thanks to all of the things I’ve already sketched in the last four years. Yep, most from photo references, which I still happily endorse as a way to learn and see. Equally, that approach has given me a way to create content for an Activity Book series that invites people to draw and paint in their style, not mine. But we can and should always be inspired by what others create. This is why it’s so fun to be a creative person. Throughout history, we’ve always taken little bits of ideas and techniques from various places, eagerly waiting for that next morsel of tasty inspiration, like tiny baby birds.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre,Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, 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!