Today’s prompt of sunshine made me think of sunflowers. Most likely because I live in Missouri and share a border with Kansas, which has been deemed the Sunflower State. Also, I rarely paint flowers of any kind, so I figured this was as good an opportunity as any to give one another go. I’ve no idea why, but I just don’t fancy painting flowers, so I find them quite challenging. Instead of avoiding them entirely, I like to challenge myself by attempting to paint one every now and then. So that’s where we landed today. I remember walking with my grandmother as she would point out various wildflowers on the side of the road. The names she would give them were never the official botanical names and in some cases were rather questionable. But I loved learning her names for each of them. She’s gone now, and so all I have are these memories, but they are among my favorite memories of all. Even something as simple as a sunflower makes me think of her. And that means that the making of this simple doodlewash was a lovely experience after all.
Much of what I choose to paint are pieces of memories. Fragments, really, that display things devoid of all of their context. Simple objects that aren’t particularly special on the surface, but when you dig down to the memories and moments they evoke, they become much more important. And the best part is, the memories aren’t shared in the exact same way. For me, this evokes moments with my grandmother, but for you it might be something else entirely. Perhaps, if you’ve not seen this particularly flower, it may evoke no memory at all. This may be why I don’t often paint them. It’s equally why I don’t often paint specific scenes. These memories are only accessible to people who’ve actually traveled to those locations or dreamed about them. I guess, in the end, my little paintings are simply meant to be the beginning of some story. Not a complete story, but something I hope you’ll transform into your story. A small notion that always starts with a simple “once upon a time.”
And as we near the end of World Watercolor Month, I hope you’ve been painting a ton of memories each day. I’ve been so inspired by each piece that appears in our Official Gallery and more amazed that so many more of you than last year have made it to these last few days of the month! Painting every single day is quite an accomplishment, so kudos to you for making it happen! And once again today, I have a little present to give to some of you. Today, I have American Journey Artists’ Watercolor Nomad Sets (if you haven’t yet received one) for the first 10 people who comment on doodlewash.com with the phrase “Let’s Make Memories Together!” When thousands of people come together to paint with watercolor, there are always memories being made and that’s an incredible experience indeed! In the end, it’s just the act of putting watercolor to paper that matters. You might just make an incredible scene that leaves people wondering how the heck you did that, or instead, you might just take a little moment out of your day to make a simple memory of a lone sunflower.
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About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Azo Yellow, Azo Orange, Azo Green, Pyrrol Red, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!