For our prompt of “Skies” today, I decided to do a quick sketch of a little bee-eater admiring one. While I do adore the amazingly colorful sunsets where I live, I have to admit that a bright blue sky is still my favorite. Not totally clear, but with big puffy clouds that I loved examining when I was a child. The kind that when you tilt your head just right become big rabbits, squirrels or dragons! Or, at least, that’s what my imagination would make of them. Not just way back then, but even today. I can never look at a big puffy cloud and simply see only a cloud. It’s usually an animal of some kind, but sometimes it can be a mountain range or a spaceship. That’s why the term blue sky is often applied to a way to think more creatively and without any limits or constraints. Indeed, these thoughts are often not grounded in any sort of reality at all. This is how we can sail past the clouds and come up with something new and inventive. Or, maybe just something crazy and impossible, but either way, there’s never a drawback to taking some time to dream big. Good things always happen.

Once, when I staring into the sky around this time last year, one cluster of clouds looked like a child scribbling in a notebook. That’s what I saw at first, and then the clouds began to blow in a different direction and the child disappeared. It was such a brief moment, and could have easily looked like a moose running through a department store to someone else. But, I saw that kid scribbling up there and it made me smile. More than that, it made me think very differently about something I’d been struggling with at the time. I was trying to come up with a way to share a bit of what I’d learned when it came to sketching and painting, but all of the usual approaches didn’t feel like a good fit for me. Seeing that kid up there reminded me of how my mother managed to keep me amused on road trips when I was little. She’d get me one of those little books at a gas station that came with a pen and had all sorts of fun things DO inside. Some even came with a magic pen that revealed answers. I adored these books so much! I was a total geek and I loved the way they challenged my brain while letting me just jump right in and start having fun. So, instead of the usual instructional book for adults, I made a Sketching Stuff Activity Book for people of all ages.

Yep, the idea itself happened, while staring into the clouds. And sure, it was risky as I was met with some initial reviews from folks who just didn’t get it, and wanted a more traditional approach. But, nearly everyone enjoyed it when they actually jumped in like a kid again and starting doing the activities. And this epiphany from my bit of daydreaming also gave me a way understand myself a bit better. I simply want to be an art cheerleader who helps create a safe, fun and happy place where people can come to play and create. I just want to inspire people to make something! Anything! To play for awhile without worrying about those pesky rules. Why? Because I know in my heart when they DO that and go back to those art classes, they’ll feel more energized, excited and confident. They won’t give up. It’s that bold and ridiculous confidence we all had when we were very young. And, the best part is that this quality never really goes away, no matter how hidden in can feel some days in our busy adult lives. It’s still there inside each of us. Just waiting to reveal itself in that quiet and beautifully improbable moment that only happens under a blue sky.

Want To Sketch Stuff With Me? Check Out My Activity Book!

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, 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!
Bee-Eater Sky Clouds Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail

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22 thoughts on “Under A Blue Sky

  1. One of the things I’ve alway liked about Zentangle is that I often started with nothing in mind, and after a while, I’d start to see things just like you do with clouds (gosh! I hope it was patterns working like clouds and not just me seeing things!). To this day, if I’m having trouble deciding what I want to draw, I’ll do tangle abstracts and that usually gets the brain moving again.

  2. Charlie, this is the sky that I feel in love with when I was a kid. Hours were spent on the lawn or in a field or in a tree looking at cloud shapes. Now I still look up at the sky and watch clouds. Now I observe the colors and formations with a painter’s eye. I still love clouds.

  3. I’ve never heard of a bee-eater. Looks sort of like a hummingbird. I’ll have to look him up. Cloudy skies are my favorite. Plain old blue skies are boring. Maybe it is our creative minds. 😉 Funny you mention your sketching book, I just brought mine out again. Hoping to revisit it for some inspiration.

  4. These past few weeks have been so dreary around here! I miss blue skies! They cheer me up and give me energy. The house I grew up in from age 11 until I left for college is set in the middle of a swamp/woods/fields. We couldn’t see any other buildings from our farmette. It’s probably just my imperfect memory, but I remember mostly blue skies growing up there! 😄

  5. Charlie says, “I can never look at a big puffy cloud and simply see only a cloud.”

    The words of a true artist!

    Your joie de vivre makes its own blue sky, no matter the weather.

  6. Hi Charlie, I like watching clouds too and seeing animals “take shape” in my imagination especially on a summer day at the lake! 😃 I love that you want to create a childlike experience in art so that people stay encouraged and keep at it. 😊 Thanks your encouragement in my art! 😍

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