I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the size of a little bug. Around the time I was finished high school there was a movie out called Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, which pretty much sums up the entire film. I can’t even remember what happens in it, but I do remember a scene where the shrunken kids were sliding down leaves. That seemed like a ton of fun and I always wished I could do it. Had I paid closer attention I probably would have noticed that the film was mostly a terrifying journey involving dodging lawn mowers while trying to be eaten, but like most things in life, I just focused on the fun bits. The idea that one could be shrunk down to an impossibly small size for a brief period of time is enthralling. I can imagine many boring meetings from my past where that skill would have been extremely helpful. Someone says the same thing a slightly different way for the tenth time, and instead of biting my tongue until it bleeds, I could just shrink to the size of an ant and scurry away. Brilliant!
Complete invisibility seems a little too severe, so shrinking to bug size always seemed like the perfect compromise. Though they aren’t a favorite painting subject for me, flowers were something I loved to photograph, back when I had a photography blog for a number of years. I tried taking flower photos with a regular lens, but I never found them very intriguing. When I finally saved enough money to buy a proper macro lens, everything changed. Exploring the intricate details of flowers and plants was endlessly fascinating. Many times my macro photos no longer looked like flowers at all, but instead, strange alien worlds. Those were my favorite. Even if I never managed to find a way to shrink myself to insect proportions, this type of closeup photography was a good compromise. I never learned the proper way to use a camera, of course, and would get bored half-way through tutorials with too much technical stuff. That’s pretty much how I’ve approached watercolor as well.
I like to have fun in whatever I do, and for me, that usually means just jumping in and trying things without reading the manual first. Of course, after I break something or get totally frustrated, I’ll jump in and get advice from the experts. But in that first run at something, I just like to play. Though it feels like everyone around me is better than I am and towering above me, it doesn’t stop me from going on the journey. In fact, during my art journey, I’ve done everything I can to surround myself with some of the most amazing artists on the planet! Yet, each new discovery feels a bit more personal when I manage to make one on my own. Each little flub or big mistake can easily be fixed on the next time around. And as I look up in awe at the masters who paint around me, I’m never discourage and always continually inspired. Through it all, I’ve learned that there will always be someone more talented, more dedicated and just better at something than I am. I’m thrilled to sit in awe of them, finally getting my chance to experience a bug’s view.