We are once again, excited to be sponsoring World Watercolor Month, hosted by Doodlewash. We had the opportunity to chat with Charlie from Doodlewash about World Watercolor Month and what it means to him. Charlie is hosting the ultimate challenge of 31 watercolors in 31 days. It’s a month to inspire people to paint with watercolor while raising awareness for the importance of art and creativity in the world. We love that anyone can join in on the challenge from the young to the old, master watercolorists to beginners. Head over to Doodlewash to get all the details.
What inspired you to start the World Watercolor Month?
One of my favorite monthly themes in my first year of blogging involved celebrating all of the fun and sometimes obscure special days, like World Television Day or World Cliché Day. It seemed odd to me that there wasn’t a special day set aside for watercolor. So I decided there should be! In 2016, I submitted my idea to the site I was getting all of this information from to make it official, but it was daunting since they get about 18,000 such requests each year and only 30 ever get added to the calendar. To me, a day just wasn’t enough, so I proposed World Watercolor Month and chose July since this was the first month I started painting, and also because it didn’t have quite as many things listed there yet. The registrars agreed it was a good idea, so my proposal was approved and July is now and forever officially World Watercolor Month! I created an art challenge of 31 watercolors in 31 days to bring artists around the globe together to celebrate but wanted it to be much more than simply another art challenge. So, the heart of the month is all about raising awareness for arts education and getting art supplies for The Dreaming Zebra Foundation so we can all come together to support our future artists.
Why did you decide to support The Dreaming Zebra Foundation?
Myself and many of the artists that I feature on Doodlewash returned to art as adults because we had the experience of art classes as a child. It was the norm back when we were kids, but today, arts programs suffer from lack of funding or are being removed entirely from schools. The idea that so many young people today might not have access to arts education is shocking to me. It’s the very foundation of not simply learning how to paint or play music, but learning how to think creatively, develop important problem-solving skills, and has been statistically proved to be a predictor of overall academic achievement. So, I went in search of an organization I could help support that was trying to help right this wrong. I found The Dreaming Zebra Foundation and not only do they provide art & music supplies to underprivileged children throughout the world, but also, impressed by their approach and genuine enthusiasm for the arts and helping kids. Plus, they have a unique recycling program that’s super cool when you can donate gently used art supplies as well.
Why watercolour? What inspired you to pick up the art of watercolour?
I actually have an Art Degree but switched to computer graphics in college. I took one painting class in acrylics but was so horrible at it that I made up my mind that I had no business painting anything and should stick to design. Drawing was the class I loved most, but even my doodling disappeared over the years. My partner Philippe brought home a little red tin of Reeves watercolors to play with back in July 2015 and I gave it a try as well. I was hooked immediately! The way the colors flowed on paper, the idea of building up layers of color from light to dark, that it could work along with my love of pen & ink drawing, and the fact that my entire art studio could fit in my pocket. I painted a tree that very first day, which was not great at all, but looked rather like a tree, so I was thrilled. So much so that I signed it with all of the enthusiasm of a kid, and wanted to share it. And also, I wanted to commit myself to practicing drawing and painting each day and to not give up this time, so I started a blog to post what I made each day. That was basically how Doodlewash.com began, but it’s grown to be so much more!
How do you choose the challenges that you host on Doodlewash?
After my first month of doing practice paintings from a little book I’d found, I realized, if I was going to keep this up I needed something more to motivate me to do it daily. So in my second month of blogging, I announced a new theme for the month. This way, I always had a general idea of things I might choose to sketch and paint. It was just me at first, but later in that first year, I invited others to join me. Then a couple months after that, the entire world via the first World Watercolor Month! I choose really broad and seasonal themes for my challenges and include a full set of prompts for every day of the month. Prompts are just that, something to inspire and push an idea forward, and they’re always totally optional. But I usually always stick to the prompts, even though my interpretations are often quite loose (something I always encourage others to do!). My art challenges are always join-when-you-like but I do hope people will try to make a little something each and every day. Though creating even a weekly art practice is fantastic, creating a daily one is the best way to form an art habit that won’t ever go away. As an example, July 3, 2018 will be Doodlewash’s 3rd birthday and for me, will mark three full years, or 1,095 consecutive days of daily painting and sketching. I now can’t imagine a day without even a little bit of drawing and painting to complete it.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’ve been a Creative Director for over 20 years, which means I work with talented teams of creative people to help form cool new concepts. I started my college years and very early career earning money as an actor, dance instructor, playwright, screenwriter, copywriter, singer, graphic designer, set designer, costumer, editorial cartoonist, game designer, and violinist – not necessarily in that order and often all at once. That’s likely why today, the motto of Doodlewash is simply “DO” because life is way more fun when you try lots of different things and never convince yourself that something is impossible. It rarely is. I wasn’t the best at all of those things, but it was sure fun trying! Today, you’ll find me quietly living in Kansas City, Missouri with my partner Philippe, who is from Paris, France and our little basenji dog Phineas, who is from Topeka, Kansas. Phineas is the only one in the family not to take up painting, but I still hold out hope.