I was sifting through some of my doodles recently, and realised that they truly are doodles in the most doodley sense, that is to say, I prepare pens and paper, sit, think and draw. None of my doodles are pre meditated, I simply draw what comes to mind, and that really, is the essence of a doodle, don't you think?
There is something inexplicably calming about allowing ones thoughts to wonder, usually in the most colourful and fantastical way. In my doodling daydreams there are toadstools and butterflies, birdies and rainbows, houses made of gingerbread and always a blue sky, oh yes.
I do enjoy doodling so, it is also the easiest creative outlet for me to fit into my day, as the children are always keen to join me when the pens and paper come out, and thus we are quite often found, one little (or large?) family, silent, or often noisily, scribbling away at the dining room table.
I decided though, that it would be fun to give myself a doodling project, a theme perhaps, as I have noticed that as of late, most all my doodles contain gingerbread houses, toadstools and birdies and what not, and well, it started to get a bit "samey", so after much thought, I settled on the theme of Monarchs.
Royal history is fascinating, don't you think? I had so much fun researching the different monarchs from years gone by, there are just so so many. My foray into history really spurred me on and it was oh so difficult to choose my first subject, but choose I did.
I am not going to limit myself to only great British monarchs, but England has such a rich history and the royal family are an endless source of fascintaing facts and imagery, it was difficult not to begin on home turf.
I knew I wanted to start with a she rather than a he, and as soon as I read about Queen Elizabeth the First, I knew it was she who would feature in the first of my Monarchs doodle series.
So Elizabeth and I spent a fair bit of time getting acquainted, at least I got to know her somewhat. I have to say she was not at all interested in me, given my civilian, bordering on peasant, status.
Very few portraits of Queen Elizabeth 1 exist, apparently the many artists enlisted to paint her Majesty failed to accurately capture her charm and elegance, so most all art works resulting from these sittings were destroyed. I broached this with the Queen and mentioned that a "little birdie" had told me that the true reason was that actually, she was a bit of a minger, wore too much led paint on account of her horrendously pock marked face, and had horrid rotten teeth and piggy eyes. Needless to say, such a comment did not go down well, though I did promise to try and succeed where others had failed and create a most charming portrait.
So, I would be of course be lying had I said it was Elizabeths apparent (or lack of) grace and charm that inspired me to choose her as my subject. It was, in truth, her strength, her absoloute dedication to her country and her oh so inspiring speeches, she was a true leader, a strong woman indeed.
See my Flickr for full size images.
I dare say, Elizabeth thought it quite gaudy and complained I made her look like a faintly surprised clown. I pointed out at least her eyes are not beady and that the colours in her dress would have been much coveted, being as such vibrant colours were not commonly available in those times.
I implore you to read a little about her, and see if you too can be inspired by her strength and the difficult times in which she reigned, fascinating stuff, oh yes.
I leave you with this, Queen Elizabeths speech to her troops as they prepared for battle with the Spanish Armada.
I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realms: to which, rather than any dishonor should grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.
Queen Elizabeth I - 1588