Doodling fits those short empty time slots in the day.  No goals.  No accomplishments.  Just being in the moment with pen in hand.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
— John Lubbock, The Uses of Life

Daily doodle: Hokusai’s Great Wave on the Plains

Moon snail shell

Moon snail shell

Today I am finding my inspiration from Katsushika Hokusai, a Japanese woodblock print artist known for his work, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.  He was a prolific artist, and clearly he had not exhausted his interest in Mount Fuji after completing this series because in his seventies he began another called 100 Views of Mount Fuji.

What I find inspiring about Hokusai is his persistence and curiosity.  His passion for art sustained him throughout his life.

“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”
     —  Katsushika Hokusai, from the postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji

I would do well to emulate Hokusai, to approach each new drawing and painting of my moon snail shell until I, too, reach the stage where “every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive.”  I have a long way to go.

Moon snail shell # 7, ink contour line drawing

Moon snail shell # 7, ink contour line drawing

Moon snail shell # 8, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 8, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 9, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 9, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 10, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 10, watercolor sketch

Moon snail shell # 11, watercolor sketch in Payne's Gray

Moon snail shell # 11, watercolor sketch in Payne’s Gray

Starting with Moon snail shell # 9, I realized that if I drew the white parts with a white Crayola crayon, the wax would act like a resist and repel the paint, thereby keeping my white highlights white.

I find that when I do ink drawings, I focus on line and form.  When I use watercolors, my focus shifts to mixing colors and tones.  I am slowly getting better, I think, at using tones to give my shells more three-dimensionality.

I wanted to narrow my focus to just tone for Moon snail shell # 11.  I remembered that I still had a tube of Winsor & Newton’s Payne’s Gray from an undergraduate art class.  I pulled it out of storage for this painting.  According to the price tag still attached, I paid $1.20 for this small tube of paint at the University of Minnesota Bookstore in 1975 or 1976.  It still works!

This tube of Winsor & Newton Payne's Gray is over 35 years old!

This tube of Winsor & Newton Payne’s Gray is over 35 years old!