Today, when I saw the prompt of “getting wet”, my mind somehow leapt to a swan on the water first thing, so I just went with it. Since I’m still feeling rather experimental, I decided to make the swan using a quick contour sketch with sepia ink and only two complementary colors: Azo Orange and Cobalt Teal. I’m always amazed at the range of colors you can get from only two watercolors. I love using limited palettes as one of the things I love most about watercolor is mixing and layering paint. And as for swans, I just think they’re rather beautiful, floating effortlessly across the water, with such a stoic calmness. They seem to be lost in their own little world, with a unique grace that makes them captivating. And seeing them has always made me happy ever since I was a kid. There’s just something about them that seems sort of magical.
I’m also reminded of the classic tale of The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a transformation story of how a little duck, considered ugly and abused by other animals on a farm runs away only to discover he’s actually grown into a beautiful swan. What’s not revealed in this story is how the heck a farm hen laid a swan egg, but that’s not really the point. The point, of course, if that we shouldn’t judge others by their appearance, but there’s another lesson hidden there that I like even more. The duck is given all sorts of advice on the correct way to do things, and every human and animal around him is certain that they know what he should do next. Yet, despite all the advice, he still doesn’t fit in. In the end, it’s his passion to find his place that leads him to the very place he was meant to be all along. A group of fellow swans where he can finally be understood and accepted by others.
When I first started painting and posting my work, I felt like each doodlewash I made was an ugly duckling. I didn’t think they were very good at all, but I just kept on painting, posting, and practicing. Not only did my work transform and improve, my passion led me to the best gift of all. Finding all of you, my fellow artists, who made me feel like I finally belonged. Thank you so much, for your kind encouragement and support, not simply for me, but everyone in this big, little community we’ve created together. I’m so happy we found each other! And so today, I once again have a little something to give back to you! I have some more Winsor & Newton watercolour marker samples for the first 10 people (if you haven’t yet gotten one) who comment directly on doodlewash.com with the phrase, “I Make The World Beautiful!”. We, each of us, is a shining light in this confusing world and making art is one of the most incredible things we can do. You don’t have to make something elaborate in order to make people smile. Some days, it’s simply enough, to make a swan in two colors.
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About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Azo Orange & Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.