For our prompt of “Blueberries” today, I opted for a few on a bush with a blue jay to keep them company. I adore eating blueberries, so I almost opted for muffins or a pie, but painting too many sweet things can become a bit tortuous when I don’t have those treats heading my way anytime soon. I actually only get blueberry muffins once a year on Christmas morning. I read once that a blueberry bush can take up to three to four years before they produce any fruit. It was memorable because it feels a bit like my own sketching journey. After dutifully showing up to sketch various things every day, it wasn’t really until I passed the four year mark, last year, that I really started combining a lot of references and making things up from memory to fill in the gaps. For me, those first few years were just about building a visual database and practicing, a lot. My progress often seemed a bit slow. But, I knew that if I kept at it then one day, like a blueberry bush, I’d start to produce a bit of fruit.
And though the results can still vary a bit, it’s been fun to begin to feel a bit more confident about branching out and creating the images that I see in my mind. It’s all still so challenging to DO, but that’s equally why it’s so much fun. Last night, Philippe wasn’t feeling very excited about making dinner, so I suggested we just boil some pasta and throw cheese on it. He shrugged, nodded and went over to the stove. The kitchen is, I realize, his sketchbook. And some days, just starting to do something, anything, is all the catalyst he needs as well. What seemed like not much time at all later, he produced two bowls that looked like they’d come from a 5-star restaurant. It was, actually, cheese and pasta, but he’d transformed the idea into something that was nothing like mac and cheese. Instead it was warm and cool pasta dish with spinach pesto and a sprinkle of cheese flash-melted with a torch. It was insanely good! “How do you know how to DO things like this?” I asked, amazed. To which he shrugged again, and simply said, “I’ve been doing it for years.”
There are no secrets to improving one’s skill when it comes to anything in life. It just takes lots and lots of regular practice. Sure, some will then talk about the quality of that practice, but that’s too much to consider. In my view, if you keep showing up to DO something you’re going to DO it better and better. For my own work, it’s also been about doing more detailed and more complex things in the same short amount of time I have. I stumble far less over decision-making, because I now have more of the answers. Yet, despite this, I have lots and lots of questions. And I’m thrilled to start a new year once again answering them, little by little, bit by bit, each and every day. It’s a quest that never ends, but one that is filled with so much joy and excitement along the way! And though I may not be an overnight master, I take comfort in the fact that the fruits of this practice will always appear, like blooming blueberries.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners 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!
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in