So I should start today with a bit of a confession, in that I had to look up our prompt of “whimsical” to see just what would qualify. I’ve heard the word plenty of times and assumed I sort of knew what it meant, but wanted to check. Words can be a funny thing indeed. My own work has sometimes been described as whimsical, and often nostalgic. I opted for a little storybook view using a baby antelope as a reference, but it looked a bit cross, so I made it look more like a deer. The outcome is a bit of an imaginary creature. As it turns out, whimsical means playfully quaint or fanciful, but often in an amusing way. This fits most of the bill I think. But as I was learning the proper definition, I discovered that “whimsy” was another word for simply a “whim”. Like a cute version of the word. The plural is indeed whimsies and that made me chuckle and smile. I feel like I’ve lived my entire life chasing whimsies and although it seemed like erratic behavior, it now seems somehow cute and fun. I hope each of you out there found yourself gleefully following your whimsies today!
People often talk about doing things “on a whim,” as though the act were something rather naughty or unusual. I think our whims are often our best guides in life. When I overthink something and then try to accomplish it, I’m never quite as satisfied as those times when I just jump in and figure something out as I go along. When I was a kid, I would always volunteer to do things I had absolutely no experience in if they seemed like they might be fun. I would raise my hand and confidently assume the responsibility without even thinking about whether or not I was qualified to do so. The entire idea of having talent or qualifications in order to do something came far later in life. About the time I entered the job market, I realized that you couldn’t simply raise you hand and sign up for things anymore. No, you had to have some sort of proof that you could perform the tasks first. Apparently my whimsies were no longer enough. I didn’t give up though. I soon learned that you can still chase those dreams without any experience at all if you combine it with a lot of dogged determination.
Much of my life has been spent trying, failing, and often succeeding at things that I had no business doing in the first place. It strikes me that we live in a culture that often favors experience over drive. Even if you’ve done something for years, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have the drive and passion required to be truly successful. And yet, this is the very key to finding real success in life. Knowledge can only get us so far. From there, we have to have something intangible, perhaps whimsical, that can take our goals to the next level. If you really want to do something, and feel that passion bubbling up inside you, then by all means DO it! It really doesn’t matter if you have the skills and mastery, as those will all come naturally while you’re pursuing your dreams. I’m never certain that I know what I’m doing before launching into something new. If I did, I would spend all of my time trying to give myself permission to do that something in the first place. So, I simply reverse it. I start with permission and assume the rest will somehow work itself out. It’s nothing to stress about, after all. It’s just chasing a little whimsy.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue . Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!